Year 2, Day 323

Parenthood takes you to some confusing places. You’re frequently confronted with questions you never considered before, like “What’s the longest amount of time a human can go without sleeping?” and “What’s the easiest way to get poop off the ceiling?”

Nothing opens up these floodgates quite like potty training. We’ve all been doing it so long that it’s almost like breathing — it takes very little thought to pee or poop. Truly, it’s something we regularly take for granted.

Well UNLIKE breathing, going to the bathroom is something we have to actually train our children to do. It can be hard to even figure out where to start teaching a skill that is so ingrained in us. The old saying goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Where does that leave those of us who are truly masterful poopers?

Fortunately, there are a host of books designed to help parents and children navigate these treacherous waters. One of Jaclyn’s favorites is Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki. One of Miles’s favorites is this one:


There is a clear value in having some of Miles’s idols demystify using the potty (shout out to my boi Daniel Tiger!). Still, in a stunning reversal, sometimes these resources leave us parents with more questions than answers. Take this for instance:


The first time I saw this image, I immediately felt dizzy. The very thought of Elmo, a collection of felt and fur, completing bodily functions such as food digestion and waste expulsion quickly led to me questioning my own sense of reality. Is this possible? I thought to myself. Can this be what Jim Henson envisioned for his Muppets? What is even happening here? Even approaching this from a non-cynical, “Elmo is real” angle proves to be a nigh insurmountable conundrum. He’s a beast, but sentient…has he not learned to put on pants? Does he not possess the Biblical self-awareness and capacity for shame afforded to Adam and Eve, the very thing that compelled them to cover up their nethers in each other’s company? Is Elmo truly one of God’s children?

Suffice to say, this book raises questions about Elmo’s anatomy that I never HAD, let alone wanted answered.

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