Friday, September 3, 2010

The Marking Instinct

     I'm having trouble finding humor in my everyday life. My children, other people, myself--none of us are funny. Most of the time I find the company of others downright irritating and I can't wait to retreat to my safe place; the chair in the corner of my bedroom with a permanent butt print on the cushion. Once there, I can immerse myself in novels or mindless computer games so that I don't have to do any thinking. I can block out the chatter and noise of others as well as the voices in my own head. I fill the emptiness I feel inside with cookies and lactose laced foods. In spite of my intestinal distress, I've gained five pounds.
     I must be depressed.
     But today, a small ray of sunshine broke through, and his name is Ian.
     Ian has been home from school since Wednesday. He always gets sick shortly after school starts in the fall. It began with the pukes on Tuesday night and progressed to a major head cold and cough. He's feeling better today, because he has lots of energy, but he sounds terrible and can't seem to stop wiping his nose on the furniture. He also takes about four showers a day. The hot steamy air helps to clear his sinuses and loosens the chest congestion so that he can hack up a bunch of snot. Lovely, I know.
     I had a bunch of errands to run today, aka lunch with Julie while watching Big Bang Theory. When I got home, my sister, CoCo, who was watching Ian, told me his appetite had returned and he'd had a shower. I went into my bathroom to make sure the shower was turned off all the way. Ian usually doesn't push the tap in far enough and the water drizzles for hours until it's discovered. The tap was off this time but there was a washcloth over the drain. I took my foot and scooted the wash cloth off the drain. And the sight that greeted my eyes should have blinded me forever. Instead, it made me laugh. It's so Ian.
     My drain was stuffed full of poop.
     I proceeded to question my child about his improper plumbing usage. He denied it at first.
     "It wasn't me."
     "You had a shower in my bathroom. I know it was you. Why did you do it?"
     "I don't know."
     "Where are we supposed to poop?"
     "In the toilet."
     "You are forbidden to ever shower in my bathroom. From now on, you will have baths."
     I donned my hazmat suit--rubber gloves, bandana over the face--and armed with a plastic spoon and a paper plate, I proceeded to extricate the excrement. A half-gallon of bleach and twenty gallons of water later, the drain was as clean as it would ever be.
     While I was cleaning out the drain, I wondered, why do boys do what they do? I know mothers everywhere have pee-pee and poopy stories about their sons. Just last week I was at Julies house. She had Legos on a towel next to the kitchen sink and bleach scented the air.
     "What happened?" I asked her.
     She proceeded to relate an experience involving Colby, the Lego bin, and urine.
     The first time I caught Ian peeing in the backyard I said, "We don't pee in the yard!"
     He replied, "Grandpa does."
     I've had foster boys who thought the closet was a commode, and one child never did use the toilet. He liked to stand on the edge of the tub and spray away.
     Ian and Joey both have deposited turds on the Palmer's lawn. They wanted to be dogs.
     Girls don't do these things. What is it about boys?
     I don't think human males are any different than their animal brothers. They all seem to feel an uncontrollable instinct to mark territory.