Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seven Poopies

At the risk of writing yet again about poop, I begin this blog.

See, in our home, we have a quote up on the wall by Marianne Williamson which says, essentially, that one must write from the deepest truth of who they are--"from the pulse"--or else it's not worth writing.

So, as Tyler now naps and I sit in the study-not-much-bigger-than-a-miniature-closet, I must write about poop.

Seven poopies, to be exact.

Late this morning, right before I was set to put Tyler down for his nap, my thought process went like this: Hhhhmm, Tyler hasn't pooped yet today. He normally poops right when he wakes up--like me--but today, no dice. When he doesn't poop in the morning, his naps are somewhat sketchy--seems his tummy has trouble resting peacefully when there's waste to be excavated from the intestines. And Jennifer did just get that gloriously blue new potty-training seat. Maybe time to have a go before his nap?

So, we crawled into the bathroom together, grabbed his gloriously blue potty-training seat that Jennifer has recently ordered from, and Tyler hopped on.

He had gone poopie once before on the potty--a joyful occasion when Jennifer and I were there to cheer him on and laugh and celebrate--and so I was hoping luck would strike twice. We began by clenching our faces. We closed our fists tightly, then furrowed our eyebrows.


Tyler hopped off, and we checked the bowl.

Clear, clean water.

"Try to do more poopies?" I asked Tyler.

"Yes, I do BEEEGGGG poopies on blue potty," he replied.

(Which, I might add, struck me as a highly detailed account of what he was going to do.)

This next time up, we both heard the plop. Our smiles cracked at the same moment.

Tyler hopped off, and we both peered over the lip of the blue potty seat to see one small poopie floating beautifully in what used to be the clean, clear water.

I began applauded with reckless abandon, and Tyler's smile grew wider.

"I do more BEEEGGG poopies on blue potty!"

And up he went again.

Round two came and went fast: the clenching--hands on our faces this time--the eyebrow-furrowing, then the plop.

This time, the poopie was even bigger, and as we both peered over the lip of the blue potty seat yet again, we were both kind of proud--I of him, and he of what his body could produce--something you could actually see with your own very eyes!

Tyler began to reach into the potty to attempt to touch this second, larger poopie. I caught his hand in time.

"Yucky, dirty...but YAY! You did BEEEGGGG poopies! Two BEEEGGGG poopies!" I said, with joy in my voice.

Tyler hopped on a third time. Yes: same result,. with the size of the poopie growing, seemingly, exponentially with each successive round.

Lest I bore you or supremely gross you out with each step of the process, allow me to bring this story to its beautiful close: Tyler and I standing, peering into the toilet, watching seven uncanny poopies dancing amidst the murky water.

"I do it! I do it!" Tyler shouts.

"Yes! Yes! YES!" I shout in unison.

His wide smile is like some beacon on light, and as we both stand there, dirty, spots of urine covering both of us, I feel cleaner and fresher than I have ever felt stepping from a shower.

Now that he sleeps soundly, I wonder what it was that sent such rivets of elation through me, and through him, as well.

And the answer rises up inside me like--well, I'll spare you the analogy that first danced in my mind--though it rises up fast. Teaching.

The reason the seven poopies were so miraculous to me is the same reason I love teaching. It's that moment--watching a student, when you see that something is beginning to clear in their minds, something is starting to click for them. It could be a grammatical rule, the motivation for why a character has been hurting others so deeply, or something about their own heart, but it happens.

And when the plop sounds in a student's mind, and the path opens up, the teacher, for that momentary explosion of insight, becomes unimportant. In that single moment, all that matters is that the student has glimpsed a part of what life is all about, in whatever small way, and the student is filled with pride, joy, excitement, possibility, and gratitude.

Tyler had that moment today.

Granted, it came at the hands of seven ever-growing poopies.

Nonetheless, I'd still be lying if I didn't say that, as I was saying goodnight while he started his nap, I started to tear up.