I loved the aroma of my sons’ breastfed poop, a delightful surprise. When they started on solid food, the poop turned to shit.

I’ve changed a lot of diapers and performed thousands of cleanups, but for only a few people, mostly my sons. The other three were guests at our house. I take hosting very seriously. Willie, a friend of my three-year-old Joe, send Joe to enlist me as his bum-wiper during one of his visits. That was the first time a house guest wanted me to wipe him. I complied.

When the same thing happened with one of Ade’s friends, it felt like a different story because she was a little girl and cute as the dickens, even though she had a turd maybe eight inches long protruding from her sphincter. Her slightly older sister had fetched me and waited confidently at my elbow.

Before I even got to the bathroom I thought about how there are people who would have me find a woman to handle this, even if I had to ask a neighbor lady. Some would be unhappy with their thought of any contact like that between her and me and would damn me for getting involved at all. I should know better than even to expose myself to misinterpretation by touching her like that, and with her sister right there being traumatized along with her. What was I thinking?

What would the little girl’s mother say? “He was what?” What about the local prosecutor? I thought about all that, and then I broke off the turd, which would’ve scared any four-year-old, and cleaned her up. I did it because it needed doing, it was something I could accomplish, and the neighbor lady and I didn’t have that kind of relationship. Defying the prudes was a bonus.

The last house guest who needed my special service was my mother. After a year and a half of an independent apartment, a senior building, and a hellish nursing home, she was back at our house until we could find a place that was both decent and willing to work with her Social Security and little pension. Meanwhile at our house she sat by a window most of the time, which makes perfect sense to me now. That’s what I’m gonna do.

My mother called me from the hall. When I got there I saw the runny brown glops on her legs and got ready to grow up. She tried to laugh it off, although I’m sure she was mortified. I scooped up the poop and got her into the tub to wash her off. Cleaning my mother’s ass was quite an experience, as those of you who haven’t achieved this lofty spiritual plane might imagine. Like having children, if you haven’t done it, you don’t know what it’s like, so don’t think you do.

Just so you know, nowadays if you want to spend some time at our house you have to sign a waiver.
— 30 —

Posted Friday, January 16th, 2009 under fathering, poop, social taboo, Uncategorized.


  1. This is my most favorite blog post ever!

  2. Oliver Steinberg says:

    It was hard to read this story and not feel like weeping, for reasons of sentiment and sympathy. It sounds like you did exactly the right thing in the situations you told about.

    These types of assignments in life aren’t usually discussed. And not talking about it sure doesn’t give people any cues about what to do when they do occur. It sounds as if you did exactly the right things in the situations you wrote about. Not everyone has as much presence of mind.

    Writing about these tasks would be even harder than speaking about them, but you have written with candor and insight—another thought-provoker From The Edge.

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