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Thursday, January 11, 2007


didn't i mention i was going to have something to say about poop? ok, fine. i owe you. the gist: my kid, she is obsessed with poop. here, generally, is how every single day starts:

mr and mrs nice guy are asleep, dead to the world in their connubial chamber. it is, unfailingly, somewhere between 6 and 6:30. out of nowhere a child starts yelling.

"MOMMY? moooooooooooommy! poopy! DADDY POOPY mommypoopymommypoopy! poopydaddy!"

then whoever's turn it is to take the morning shift drags his/her sorry ass out of bed and goes into the baby's room. let's say it's me. i walk into her room and the child lights up with glee: "DADDY! IT'S A POOPY!" wiping the sludge from my eyes i lift her out of the crib. "should we change your diaper, sweetie?"

baby: "yeah. poopy."
dad: "no, sweetie, you don't have poopy. i can tell."
baby (defiantly): "yeah. POOPY!"

and of course she does not have a poopy. she just knows -- she has learned -- that if she yells "poopy" regardless of the facts in her pants, someone is going to eventually start paying attention to her.

the other night, mrs nice guy put the kid to bed. the kid did not want to go to bed. five minutes after the door was closed, we heard "MOOMMY! POOPY!" so mom walked back into her room and found the kid grabbing her butt and moaning "poooopy," which was pretty awesome. so mrs nice guy pulled her out of the crib and peeked at her diaper. no poopy. THE BABY, MERELY 20 MONTHS OLD, OFFICIALLY KNOWS HOW TO LIE AND MANIPULATE. I AM SO PROUD. mrs nice guy was suddenly in the absurd position of explaining to another human being that "there is no poopy in your pants! now go to sleep and stop saying poopy!" she gave the kid her toy train, her "choo-choo." she kissed her and left the room. two minutes later, we heard a metallic clatter-clunk -- the sound of the train being thrown from the crib. and then: "MOMMY! DADDY! CHOO-CHOO DOWN! UH-OH!"

she is a conniving little twerp, i'll say that much.

but her obsession with the poopy i believe is in earnest; it's not merely a tool with which to control her parents. she really loves the poop. when we look through picture books i'll point at, say, a drawing of a girl. i'll say "look, sweetie, that's a girl. you're a girl too!" and she'll say "gurrgl." "that's right sweetie! a girl!" and then she'll say "gurrgl has a poopy?"

when she is not saying poopy, the other word that is sure to come from her mouth a mind-bending number of times a day is "elmo" and also "ernie" and, my favorite, "oscar" which she pronounces "ocka." this is significant for one major reason: we do not watch TV in the nice guy house. we have a television, but no cable and no reception. we do, however, have a DVD player and, like, 4 dvds -- all sesame street related (except for the laurie berkner disc which is now burned indelibly into the synapses of my lower cortex. i know her every dance move, wretched wink and infuriating little body wiggle by heart.)

we have made a conscious decision to be evil parents and not have a functioning tv in our house at all ever. the occasional handpicked dvd? fine. but no nightly news/entertainment tonight/geraldo/the view/commercials/COPS/etc. it's hard to tell people about this decision because they mostly assume we are sanctimonious twats or fruity granolacakes. but we haven't really had a tv for about 10 years, so why start now? as it pertains to kids, i am familiar with all the arguments on both sides of this issue, and we lean more towards the AAP on this one. i mean, the american academy of pediatrics probably knows more about kids than i do. besides, i get to watch waaay more internet porn this way. also, netflix (and, let's be honest, the tv in my office) pretty much fill my tv needs. a little history: i am a reformed television junkie. if i had direct tv or tivo i would pretty much never talk to another sentient being or shower ever again. i would become the first-ever couch-human hybrid. it is for my own good that we do not have a tv that actually gets, like, channels.

the problem: my insanely willful daughter has apparently inherited my tube addiction. every morning, after she wakes us up with her filthy lies about having a poopy diaper, she then demands "elmo." and "ernie." and "elmoernie." and "ocka." and she DOESN'T STOP. it is very hard to say "no, sweetie, no tv this morning" when she is fully prepared to retaliate with "ELMO! ELMO! ELMO! ELMOELMOELMOELMOELMOELMO! ELMODADDY!" and her coup de grace: "elmopoopy!" it's not like she hasn't seen every single one of her 4 dvds about 984,368 times. this week. we do generally let her watch, on average, about 45 minutes a day. which is about 45 minutes more a day than i'm comfortable with -- she's not even two years old, ferchrissakes. don't get me wrong, i have been known to enjoy me some Sesame Street Old School even after my child has gone to bed. but why she needs urgently to see elmo choose which picture he wants to display at the monster art show AGAIN NOW AGAIN NOW AGAIN NOW is driving me to drink. by which i mean drink more than usual. by which i mean i am hoping to harvest my child for her liver in a year or two.

sometimes i cave and relent. i fail. i say (usually to myself) in top parenting form: FINE FUCKING WATCH TV UNTIL YOUR FUCKING EYES LEAK OUT YOUR FUCKING HEAD; SEE IF I FUCKING CARE! other times i manage to distract her with books and talk of poop for long enough that forgets ... for about an eighth of a second. and then she starts asking for tv again. mrs nice guy and i are both at a bit of a loss as to what to do. it's gotten a little dire. if the kid is at home, she wants to watch tv. it's all she asks for. it's all she talks about (aside from the poop that is likely not in her pants). we have resorted to keeping the tv unplugged because she has figured out how to load the DVD player and turn the thing on herself!

i was talking to an older colleague with a college-aged daughter the other day who asked how she was doing. i said "oh she's fine. a big fan of testing limits." he smirked and said "i was a big fan of setting limits." he went on to say that kids want limits, you just have to be firm. he said that his kid now says that he was "stricter than most of her friends' parents," and she does so "not without a little pride." i looked right up at him, nodded, and simply replied "poopy."


Blogger Margo said...

It's so funny you posted this first. From start to finish, this post sounds exactly like life with my 19 month old daughter. EXACTLY. Her fixation and enthusiasm about poop (and lies about having poop for attention), the Elmo/TV obsession, and the testing of the limits is enough to drive me to the brink of madness!

1/11/2007 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I have a 17 month old daughter, who is also all about Elmo, who she calls "La la." I think it might be from his signature song. Her first words in the morning are "watch lala?" and it repeats all day long. Luckily, we're not talking about poop, yet, though I have my own problems - she's just learned the words "mine" and "no." Yikes!

1/11/2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger Baby K said...

My daughter calls him Eh-mo. And everyone else Ernie. And we have the DVD player and tv too high up for her to reach. And the TIVO, oh my I think when she is sleeping that I morph into the couch being. It's great!

No poopy talk here yet, but good luck cause when she sees the poop she might play with the poop

1/11/2007 10:33 PM  
Blogger bernalgirl said...

I don't think I've ever had something useful to add, but my daughter is a few months older than yours, and a few months ago she was all about the tv. Like the mr. niceguy household, we don't even watch tv, so I was surprised and mostly just ignored her. Because she can also say the same thing overandoverandover again, my method was to get out of the house asap. It passes. She never asks for tv anymore. So maybe go cold turkey for a while?

Too bad they're too old for exersaucers...

1/12/2007 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I suggest the Elmo Potty Time DVD? Two birds with one stone. Plus, it is INSANE.

1/12/2007 11:36 AM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

elmo potty time?!?! i think you might be on to something there, anon.

1/12/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Theoretical Grammatarian said...

All I can say is, "good luck!" We're another TV free zone here, and yet our friends with kids are constantly telling us that we should get some Elmo, Dora, or worst of all, The Wiggles. We're standing firm, though (for now). If I want our boy watching a bunch of guys in silly outfits danceing around and playing music, by God, he's going to get KISS videos, and he's going to like it!
Have you gotten the Everyone Poops book? It's a must-have for anyone, of any age, who enjoys the poopy!

1/12/2007 3:10 PM  
Anonymous sheameister said...

I WISH I could get my 19-month old boy to even acknowledge that there is such a thing as poop... let alone maybe notice when it's in his pants and stinking up the entire room. I'm afraid he may be in diapers for the rest of his natural life. I'm not sure which problem is worse--yours or mine.

And, my God, I cannot imagine life without TiVo. You go, MGN, you crazy bastard.

1/12/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger momily-san said...

Best of luck with the TV/Elmo/poop. I think you go straight to mini skirts and sleazy boyfriends once this is resolved.

1/12/2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my 21-mth old son calls Elmo "Melmo" and loves him. we are a semi-TV-free zone here, too, so the kid's only seen Melmo on Sesame Street if we happen to be home when it's on. likewise with Mr. Rogers--my personal hero. but we only get the basic channels and I'm glad. my hub falls into a trance even in front of very bad TV, and the kid does too--so be strong! do not give in! the docs know best.

1/12/2007 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our 2 year old watched very little TV before we had our second child this Fall. Since then she talks about all her new friends on PBS. Today she told me that she tooted just like Clemintine. (I think Clemintine must be a character on one of the shows) I don't know how people manage multiple children without a televsion. The MNG family may want to start saving their pennies for a new high def television and cable/dvr service.

1/12/2007 10:27 PM  
Blogger Julia Woods said...

Yes, well, my darling child doesn't watch much TV either...

Aw, who'm I kidding? We TiFaux Clifford and Curious George daily so that I can get a few minutes by myself. Otherwise, as soon as I settle into the bathroom with the newspaper, there's a 3-year-old tapping on the door. Sometimes, she'll say, I give you privacy, but half the time she closes the door with both of us (and sometimes the dog, too) inside.

So if I want to poop alone, I have to get the child in front of the TV watching Clifford.

1/14/2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Man, what is it with Elmo? They ALL get obsessed over him. I can at least offer some encouragement in that my two kids (now 5 and almost 4) have moved on from Elmo, finally. They have new obsessions now. SIGH.

1/14/2007 2:20 PM  

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