Mediating The Discourse Of The Poopy

by anna on April 28, 2010

Ever since Mini turned three, everything is “poopy” this and “poopy” that.

It was probably a little before he turned three, actually, that this fascination with talking about poop took hold, but I didn’t actually mention it in front of Mini’s teacher until the other day.

“If you don’t stop climbing on me, little man, I’m going to have to take you down.
I’m going to take you down, poopy Mommy.”
“What is it with you and the poopy? Why is everything about the poopy?”
“Because he is three.” The teacher interjected, because apparently there is something about being three that makes for the poopy fascination.

You know, over and above the having of the Y-chromosome.

Poopy is so much a part of conversation in our life, in fact, that, when Mr. Right-Click and I were watching the Tjoodors the other night, during the scene where Henry Tudor was meeting with the young Prince Edward, Mr. Right-Click felt compelled to correct the dialogue to make it more realistic in its portrayal of attempting to have a dialogue with a toddler — royal or otherwise.

“Your Majesty, The Price of Wales . . .”

“The Prince of Wales . . . Poopy, more like.”

And so, language acquisition continues to be one of the more interesting aspects of parenting. Admittedly, there are many interesting aspects, and so it’s hard to choose a favorite, but the way that kids get fixated on certain words at certain times, or how they choose to express things, or why certain things mean so much and other things so little at different times makes me reexamine how I use language in ways I haven’t in a long time.

Example: the word stupid. Totally my fault that Mini uses this word. I say it constantly when I’m driving, among many expletives.

Mini picked up on it being something bad to say to somebody, but he does not understand that it is hurtful. He would not have his feelings hurt, for example, if you were to say it to him. And on the scale of bad words, it’s not too bad, but in a few years (or months, maybe) it will be a word that kids use against each other, so I want to discourage him from using it now, if I possibly can.

The first approach I used was honesty.

“Mini, that’s not a nice word. Please don’t say it.”
“OK.”
“Thanks, buddy.”
“You’re welcome. Stupid Mama.”

Then I tried faking emotional distress.

“You silly stupit!!!”
“Awwww!” [waaahwaaah pathos-pathos boo-boo lip, boo-boo lip &c.]
“Saaaah-weee!”
“You’re not sorry.”
“Saaah-wee.”
“You’re not sorry.”

So then I asked Mini’s teacher, who has worked with two-to-three-year-olds for thirty years, what to do. She said that sometimes you can try to explain to them that it’s a word for adults to use only. I thought it was kind of a hippy dippy approach, but I was out of ideas, so whatever, I tried it on the way home the other day.

“You silly stupit!”
“Mini, that’s a word that is only for adults to use.”
“No.”
“‘Fraid so, my friend.”
“No. You stupit!”
“Yessir.”
“Stupid.”
“Seriously, dude. It’s not for little boys. It’s against the rules.”
“Silly stupid Mommy.”
“I’m not kidding. You cannot say it until you’re an adult, OK?”
“YOU STUPIT!”
“It’s AGAINST THE LAW, Mini.”
“STUPIT!”
“Do you know what is going to happen?”
“STOO-”
“The police are going to come –”
“PIT–”
” — and they are going to arrest you.”
“Mommy. Mommy?”
“Mini?”
“Awwww!” [waaahwaaah pathos-pathos boo-boo lip, boo-boo lip &c.]

OK, so I took it a little too far. Apparently, when you’re three, it’s not a big deal to be called a STOOPIT POOPY but it is a big deal to be fake threatened about being fake arrested for using a word that is (not really) against the law for kids to use.

Wait.

Which one of us is three, and which one of us is almost thirty seven again?

At least I didn’t give him a knife, though, like Jonathan Rhys Meyers did the other night to the 3-year-old Prince of Wales. Don’t you just love the British?

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{ 21 comments }

Kerry April 28, 2010 at 4:10 am

Girls are no better. My daughter went through this phase. She was more or less over it, but now that my son is 2.5, she makes up poop songs to entertain him, and they substitute “poop” for regular words and then laugh hysterically together. I just had to institute a “no pooptalk at the dinner table” rule, because otherwise they were all, “Please pass the poop [giggle giggle giggle]” and “Mama can I please have more poop? [guffaw guffaw guffaw]“

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

See, now that’s upping it a level I never would have even anticipated. And I really would have thought that the boys would like it more. But I guess it is about the whole “anal” stage as per Freud.

Elizabeth April 28, 2010 at 4:59 am

Totally off the subject of poop, I was reading somewhere online – somewhere stoopit like Wikipedia – that Henry VIII was approaching 50 when he married Katherine Howard and got all weird in the leg. Also he was supposedly obese. Where exactly in the Tudors does Jonathan Rhys Meyers look like an obese 50-year old? And no, the Prince of Wales probably should never be given a sword at 3. Or at 30.

monkey April 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

My parents bitch about this every time I turn on the show. “He had syphilis and was obese at that point*!”

The simple answer is that it’s a capital crime to fuglify a Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

*I think they’ve now revised it to diabetes.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Yes, though they try to make him look bigger with big clothes. Doesn’t really work.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Yeah, that was weird. It was an odd moment, like the pages are all standing around like, “excellent gift choice, your majesty.” Strange.

Laurin April 28, 2010 at 6:07 am

Geez, the permutations of the word poop I have lived through with my son are staggering. Some form of the word can be worked into nearly every conversation, didn’t you know? And pee pee and booty and butt crumb. Lately it’s all about the farts, all the time.

Stupid never caught on around here, but idiot did after they watched Toy Story. Wtf Woody?? My son said “Shut up, you idiot!” to a kid on the playground after the twins watched that movie and, oh yeah, I totally got yelled at by that kid’s mom. That was fun.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

So far, he hasn’t done it to another kid at school, because at school he’s all about being Mr. Perfect. I suppose it’s just a matter of time, though.

Alexis April 28, 2010 at 6:44 am

Yeah, I hear ya. Our daughter just turned three and if we have to spend one more minute discussing “poop,” “peeing in the tub,” or “stinky farts,” I will probably loose my poop! Sure it is hilarious, who doesn’t love a good fart joke, but she will go to preschool in the fall and well, I guess I will be that parent…this part was not in the glossy brochure!

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Oh, they all do it, don’t worry.

Jenni April 28, 2010 at 7:32 am

Oscar is obsessed with saying “fuck it.” It’s real awesome.

Jenni April 28, 2010 at 7:32 am

And by real awesome I mean not at all awesome.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I think it’s pretty awesome. You know, sitting over here, totally uninvolved, that is. Sorry. LOL. Small lol.

snarkoleptic April 28, 2010 at 9:14 am

I have an almost-6-year-old daughter who still can’t get enough of saying POOP. I’m afraid the poop phase may continue for a while. I thought she would get over it if I didn’t make a big deal about it, but the joke never gets old. She knows my husband doesn’t like bathroom words “But you’re ok with them, Mama.” Great. She even hatched a plan when she and I went away together recently that as soon as we got to the hotel room she would yell POOP at the top of her lungs since my husband wouldn’t be there. It’s a lost cause.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Poop. What is the fascination? That’s what I want to know.

Ginger April 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I do not look forward to this stage. At. All.

Sometimes I want to just ignore posts like this that warn me of what is in my future.

anna April 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I’m still laughing at Oscar saying “Fuck it,” because it’s just a matter of time before Mini starts doing it.

Michele April 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Ah I remember that stage. Everything was a poopyhead something or other. I tried the it’s an adult thing to say too and it was a big fail. What did work was I replaced the words with pudding head for poop head, and words that steered him away from what he was on, etc and eventually he forgot all about the poop stuff. Then he hit ten and the word balls took on a whole new meaning.

btw the link for your featured blogger doesn’t work.

Michele April 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Or rather the link that you wrote and linked to, doesn’t work. Not her graphic link, that works fine.

Heidi April 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm

We are in the land of ‘stinky feet’ and ‘stinky toots’ over here. At the dinner table: “I’ve got stinky lint in my stinky toes!” Me: “Keep that OFF of my table. Please.” Tonight during her bath: “Hahaha! Bath Toots!” And while getting ready for bed: “Hahah! I’m a Toot Factory!” Good thing she’s cute. I’m keeping a box just large enough to ship her to grandma just in case. If she curls up into a ball, I may be able to fit her into one of those large flat rate priority boxes. The toot smells and sounds would totally give her away though.

WarsawMommy April 30, 2010 at 12:43 am

I’ve got a double whammy man: here in Poland, the word for ‘bum’ is ‘poopa’. So Max delights in the double meaning of poop/poopa. He goes around chanting, “Poop comes out of my pooooo-pa! My poopy, poopy pooooo-PA!”

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