Potty Talk

Sometimes, I wonder what happened to my life.

As a younger person, I had a lot of big ideas and dreams.  My interests were varied and many.  As time has passed and my responsibilities have changed, I find that my focus in life is a bit more, well, focused. 

Somehow, my whole life seems to revolve around the toilet.  Specifically, it swirls  (ha ha, swirls, get it?) around the people in my life using the toilet.  For example, my daughter is disabled, and she is not potty trained.  This is a major goal in my life.  I mean, my daughter using the toilet has taken the place of stuff like global warming and world peace up there on the list of priorities.  She likes to sit on her potty chair, but she doesn’t actually do anything.

*****An aside:  my son came into the kitchen after watching some show where the mother was a secret agent, and he asked me, “Mom, are you a secret agent?” I quipped “Yes–my code name is Buttwiper One.”  Sadly, he is an almost-teenager, and my razor-sharp wit was wasted on him.  All I got were rolled eyes and a head shake.  Kids.*****

Also, I take care of my sister, who is also disabled and in a wheelchair.  She does use the toilet, but she has to be put on there (by me), and just lately she’s been having a little trouble, so fifty times a day I ask her, “Do you need to use the bathroom?”  Before we leave to go anywhere, we have to wait for her to use the bathroom.  Plus I have to make sure my daughter has a fresh diaper on.  Oh, and I need to make sure the aging dog has been out to relieve himself before we leave, and when we get up, and before we go to bed at night.

Oh, and I check my daughter through the night to make sure she isn’t laying in a wet diaper.

To add to the mix, The Grandfather had some serious trouble with a UTI last year.  Not to be overly dramatic, but he was probably as near to death as he’s ever been.  Anyway, I find myself slightly preoccupied with whether or not he is able to pee.  I don’t actually have the nerve to ask, but I keep a sharp eye on his habits.

That’s another thing.  I’m a lurker.  I lurk outside the bathroom door a lot.  Both my sister and my daughter are quite distracted by anyone hanging around the bathroom while they are, you know, in there, so I lurk.  I’m quite sneaky.  I slip my house shoes off at the end of the hall so the swisssht swisssht doesn’t betray my clandestine mission.  I carefully avoid the creaky board about halfway down, then stand there, outside the door, breathing carefully through my mouth so my slight sinus troubles don’t betray me.

It’s about this time that the realization hits me.  What happened to me?  How did my life come to this?  I can see that high-school-senior-version of myself on that stupid video we made, and I can vaguely remember all of the stupid things I said I would be doing when I was old.  Never once do I remember saying I would be obsessed with other people’s bathroom habits.

Oh well.  What can I say?  To toss out a cliché, it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to pee.

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25 Comments on "Potty Talk"

  1. Colleen Towner
    01/02/2012 at 10:31 pm Permalink

    You have a very noble profession, and you do it with love, pride, and attention-to-detail. There is no greater calling in life.

  2. Janice
    02/02/2012 at 7:24 am Permalink

    A noble profession. I’ll have to remember that. I had a sociology prof in college who made the comment once, “We’d all like to be bank presidents or the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company, but the truth is, there has to be someone to sweep the floors and wash the dishes. That’s social order.”

    He forgot to mention the butt wiping, I guess, but the point remains the same!

  3. Karin @Mommy's Paradise
    02/02/2012 at 12:13 am Permalink

    Janice, I admire you. You are dealing with your life and your loved ones issues in a way I wouldn’t be able to, I guess. And, you are cracking me up with your writing. I’ll be coming back for more. 🙂

  4. Jo
    02/02/2012 at 2:41 pm Permalink

    You are a saint.

    The end.

  5. Jo
    02/02/2012 at 4:18 pm Permalink

    PS, saint:

    I was thinking you and I should be FB friends. Wanna? Do you even have FB? 🙂

  6. Janice
    02/02/2012 at 5:47 pm Permalink

    Saint Janice. I like it.

    Yes, I have a page, and yes, I wanna.

  7. Melissa
    06/02/2012 at 12:41 pm Permalink

    I totally relate to the concept of wondering, “How did my life come to this?” This is NOT what I envisioned when I was getting my diploma and being set free into the world with my dreams. Yes, I love my family and my wonderful husband and I are blessed to be expecting our baby girl in April. But… I had many detours getting here and I’m not where I thought I would be at this age. The reality is I may NEVER get there. It’s funny the twists and turns life takes you on and how many things just HAPPEN to you that you could never have planned or foreseen.

    What I really wanted to communicate in this comment was this: I have all the respect and admiration in the world for you. You are brave and strong and God knew what he was doing when He put you in charge of things. 🙂

  8. Janice
    06/02/2012 at 8:59 pm Permalink

    Kind of like the lunatic taking over the asylum, right? That’s me in charge. I don’t resent my position at all–I just wonder how I ended up here. Still, there were bad educational choices along the way that I should have thought through more carefully. Then I think, who would be taking care of Mindy? I guess things just are the way they are, and that’s all. I think we’re both pretty lucky.

  9. Kate F. (@katefineske)
    07/02/2012 at 7:12 am Permalink

    It is laughable looking at what we thought we would be when we were so much younger and “wiser” (said with a definite tone of sarcasm!)

  10. Erica M
    07/02/2012 at 10:09 am Permalink

    How old is your daughter? My special needs kid pottied late, read late, did a whole bunch of stuff late, but she eventually got around to them. What a blessing you are to your sister and your family.

  11. Janice
    07/02/2012 at 9:53 pm Permalink

    She’ll be eleven in March (!). It’s hard to imagine what she might or might not do. There’s stuff she does that I honestly wondered if she would ever be able to do. In reality, as poor as her balance and strength is, there’s no physiological reason why she should walk, but she does, and has since she was four. So yeah, we’re usually a little behind the times. Time will tell, I guess.

  12. Runnermom-jen
    07/02/2012 at 10:51 am Permalink

    Your post hits close to home, as my younger sister is disabled. I can only imagine what my mom goes through on a daily basis. It really is nice to see you handle this with humor and grace.

  13. Julie
    07/02/2012 at 11:24 am Permalink

    Your sense of humor about this is just great. My day revolves around excrement, but we haven’t made it to the toilet yet.

    You have to laugh, or you’ll cry. For sure.

  14. MaryLauren@My3LittleBirds
    07/02/2012 at 11:40 am Permalink

    As a stay/work at home mom of 3 young kiddos, a lot of my life is spent in the bathroom : ) I get it. I really do.

  15. January
    07/02/2012 at 1:32 pm Permalink

    I love that you have a great sense of humour in all this because it can’t be easy taking care of so many people! I have 2 young boys so…yeah, the whole lurking outside of the bathroom situation I can understand. It can get pretty dang grody if you don’t get a handle on the situation…and quickly!

  16. Jennifer
    07/02/2012 at 6:18 pm Permalink

    It’s never fun if you have to be constantly concerned with getting someone to the potty, or trying to get someone to go to the potty! I give you huge props for keeping such a great sense of humor about it.

    I, too, am way preoccupied with my family’s poop habits. I hear ya!

  17. Kim Pugliano
    07/02/2012 at 6:40 pm Permalink

    Now I have to pee too. I get it. My nephew is special needs. He got there, just took longer.

  18. Laura@Catharsis
    07/02/2012 at 7:43 pm Permalink

    I cannot imagine how busy you are. Being a caregiver is a tough job, and it seems like you’ve got your hands full for sure. I applaud your efforts and your resolve. And while it must certainly feel like you live in the bathroom, what you’re doing is making the lives of your daughter, your sister, and even your grandfather better. Bless you.

  19. So what you should be pondering is, “How did I get to be such an inspiration of kindness and grace?” No high schooler can see that coming. 🙂 -Ellen

  20. Sarcasm Goddess
    07/02/2012 at 8:58 pm Permalink

    You are a beautiful selfless person. The people in your life are blessed to have you. Make sure you take time for yourself.

  21. Meg O'Keefe
    07/02/2012 at 9:03 pm Permalink

    WOW. We should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives care as much about us and our potty habits as you do for your family – you have a gigantic heart, thanks for sharing with all of us!

  22. Mayor Gia
    08/02/2012 at 7:55 am Permalink

    Ooof, stressful for you! I’m sorry, all that time spent in the bathroom must not be fun for you

  23. Ado
    08/02/2012 at 9:26 am Permalink

    I agree with the first commenter, no greater calling! (-: But be sure and wash your hands!! (-:

  24. jamie
    09/02/2012 at 6:13 am Permalink

    Oh this is so me. Always trying to think about the last time one of the kids went, do they need to go, who stinks, who needs changed. Funny though I’m almost ALWAYS running to the bathroom because I forget I have to pee myself!

  25. Jackie
    09/02/2012 at 4:44 pm Permalink

    Wow, lots of bathroom business in your house! I guess I should stop complaining about my one pottytrained kid and her issues w/toilet paper!

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