A Little Poop. (And Other Stuff)

Last night, both my sons were taking part in a favorite activity: dancing naked after a bath. They aren’t nudists. Some kids drop trou (trow?) the second they walk in the door. Ours merely love shaking their hips and slapping their hynies to “When Will My Life Begin?”
My older son sort of twerks and slaps each butt cheek chanting, “Look at my body! Look at my body!”
I can’t help but laugh. (Also, he does it perfectly in time to the music. So: nudist, lewdest musical genius.)
And then my youngest son sat on one of his riding trains, grinned at me and ripped an epic fart that (due to his spread-cheek placement on the plastic vehicle), echoed throughout our apartment.
I laughed. Hard.
But then there’s the constant verbalizing of bodily functions. Stopping my kids from saying “poop”, “penis” and “pee” are not an issue. It’s more than that. They chant and scream and change song lyrics to the aforementioned taboos.
My youngest recently screamed, “Daddy! Need napkin!”
Me: “Buddy? How do you get what you want?”
Him: “Daddy, please get me…poop.”
He’s two.
The other night I was trying to get jammies on after a bath. My older son comes charging at me with his junk in his hands, saying, “I’m gonna pee in your eye!”
I pursed my lips to say, “Buddy, we do NOT say that…”But instead, I guffawed.
Body parts and potty talk and carnal noises are hilarious.
But is this a guy thing? A dear friend recently said to me, “’Farts are hilarious,’ said no mother. Ever.”
But seriously: a well-placed pht cracks everyone up, right? – not just toddlers and frat guys and me? When- and why – did they become so offensive?
It’s probably the church’s fault. “Enjoying your body is bad.”
One of my favorite theatrical experiences was performing in Spamalot, the Monty Python Musical. In it, I was a supporting “French Taunter” who made lewd gestures at King Arthur.
(As a crude aside, none other than film director Mike Nichols specified that he wanted me to gesture “finger in asshole” rather than “fisting”.
Apparently it was theatrically clearer.)
In that scene, we ended our song with “We turn our asses as you part, in your direction we all fart!” at which point, we grabbed 4-foot trumpets, turned upstage, placed the trumpets against our costumed asses, and a fart sound effect rang over the theatre.  (Find the moment, here, at 47:46.)
It slayed the audience every single time: Upper East Side grande dames, children, conservatives, Commies, and Nancy Reagan. (Seriously. She came with Merve Griffin. RIP.)
Spamalot gave everyone permission to laugh at something genuinely funny: farts.
Our babies smile when they rip a good one. In public with your flatulent baby, people congratulate you (and laugh).
When you let your 18-month toddler run naked on a beach, everyone smiles. I mean…is there ANYTHING cuter than a little baby butt scampering across the sand?
Am I doing something wrong (while at home) by letting my boys get the “poop” out of their system (pun intended) ? What’s wrong with breaking our hyper-Puritanical carnal embarrassment?
Societal convention.
Such a shitty burden.


  1. I am a lawyer/mediator/mom (not in that order all the time) and fart talk with my sons (now 15 and 17) still make me laugh. A few weeks ago while driving home with the 15 year old who is a notoriously loud and smelly farter, he let one loose when we were half a mile from home. I asked him, while trying to breathe through my mouth and open the windows, “You couldn’t have waited until we were home?” He replied reassuringly, “We are almost home Mom. It will be ok.” I could not respond to this without laughing at the same time but I told him, “It smells like something crawled up your ass and before completely dying tried to crawl back out.” We both still tell that story, from our respective perspectives and laugh. Fart jokes/stories are always funny at my house.


  2. Scatalogical humor is so normal! One of my sons used to drive me crazy in the car, repeating over and over with his little friend Jimmy, “Diarrhea, diarrhea. Some people think it’s funny, but it’s really dark and runny. Diarrhea, diarrhea!” Over . . . and over.


  3. Your story has made me smile. My child is 15 and we still find “rude” noises hilarious. I think you’re doing the right thing in not making a big deal about this. A 2 year old needs to explore language. He also needs know about his body and what it does. If he hasn’t already done so, it won’t be long before he goes through the “no” phase – he will not be being deliberately awkward, rather he is trying things out and testing boundaries.

    Eventually, social constraints may mean that you will want to discourage public outbursts (of the vocal and bottom variety!), but he may naturally move on to other things anyway.

    I think some parents judge what children do and say through adult eyes too often – when mine was around 6-7 years old their class came out of school signing the lyrics to S&M by Rhianna – “sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains delight me” – most parents were horrified, but I realised that the kids didn’t have a clue what they were singing about.

    Keep up the good work as a great parent.


  4. I have 4 boys age 5, 3 and two 2s. Farts are the magic that binds them together. The other night my 2 yr. olds kept each other awake by farting and then cracking themselves up… for hours… Bonus points if they stink. The only thing that shocks me now is how young it started and how universally hilarious they think they are.


  5. I had similar thoughts when my children were younger. It seemed complicated to me that we are to teach them the things and sounds their bodies make are natural yet inappropriate. I know very few people who can use a public bathroom to poop, even when they really need to because it’s inappropriate to let the human body relieve itself in public areas. I know many people who can’t poo outside the comfort of their own bathroom. (I also have a few friends who think the best time to call is when they are on the pot because they found five minutes to sit still without kids screaming at their feet. hahaha.) My oldest are 11 and 13 my youngest turned 3 recently and the difference is unbelievable noticeable in raising them. There is so much more taboo and everyone gets a participation ribbon. It drives me nuts my 13 year old still gets participation ribbons, because “they” don’t want anyone too feel bad. Ugh I tell my kids all the time you don’t get a participation in real life. Their future boss won’t care if they were present in the office they actually have to work. I usually have a blog where I vent and pinterest because I’m pin addicted but social media is gone from our house and since my youngest was born I’ve made a dedicated effort to raise them more like I was raised. The technology is a battle from hell with kids. We live on a few acres of land. We have had ducks, chickens, rabbits, flower gardens and I’m doing several food gardens this summer. Seeds are sprouting on the counter as I type this, yet none of it grabs their attention. They constantly want participation ribbons and video games and are upset I won’t allow them on Facebook and that they are so restricted with their technology use. I can’t even imagine what life will be like for them when they are my age raising their own kids. Maybe by then they will invent a pill that makes bodily taboos nonexistent and bosses will give daily participation ribbons.

    Funny post I enjoyed it much.


    • I’m so envious of the “return to nature” your family’s been able to make. And the “participation ribbons”? – can we possibly start that revolution?


  6. Figuring out how to hold back laughter and even a smile as my kids rip one or make a hilariously crude poop joke has been one of the hardest things to learn as a parent…after teaching them morals/manners and how not to kill themselves.

    “What’s wrong with breaking our hyper-Puritanical carnal embarrassment?”
    Answer: absolutely nothing.


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