I don’t mean to brag, but I tell the most enchanting bedtime stories to my kids. For my age group, I bet I am in the top 500 of story tellers for young kids. Every single night my kids are
subjected treated to my original-ish tales spun from the depths of my being– that nook in my soul where my heart and imagination overlap. Into each story I weave morals and whimsy and bubblegum. There’s always bubblegum. And unicorns. Gotta have mythical horned equines.
I’m proud of the body of work in my bedtime stories portfolio. I call myself Hans “Christie” Andersen.
But, no matter how fantastic the tale, or how many packs of gum my plucky protagonist buys at the local drug store before riding her unicorn to the chocolate water slide park, my kids always prefer the stories that feature poop. They don’t care about my use of alliteration, foreshadowing or magical realism.
They want the poop.
Mommy, tell the story about the time the armadillo pooped on your legs.
Um, ok. Sometimes I am too tired to fight, so I surrender my dignity and my agenda. “Ok, guys. Once I was a camp counselor and this super hot counselor fell deeply in love with me so he captured an armadillo by the trash dumpsters and waved it in front of me. Unfortunately, the armadillo was so scared that it’s anus opened up and out poured– poured— armadillo crap all over my legs.”
Again, Mommy! Again!
If I am feeling feisty or if I just ate, I refuse to give them what they are begging for. Like an aging rocker who refuses to play the hits that made her famous, I force stories they could care less about down their throats. Here’s a new story I’ve been working on! They groan and try to leave the room. But I make them stay because I am sure the story about the brave young girl who used a lightsaber to conquer evil with her best friend, a hairy kindergartener named Chewbacca (FN1), is going to become their new favorite . . . even though there’s no poop in Star Wars.
Spoiler alert: Their favorite stories must feature poop. And not poop-as-a-bit-player. They want a story were poop is the star with its own trailer and hairstylist and a three-page list of imported snacks it wants.
Their fascination with fecal matter grows stronger everyday. I made the mistake of talking to my dad on speaker phone in the car the other day. He told a charming story about how my nephew Thomas had explosive diarrhea in Chipotle. “We got him to the bathroom just in time,” Dad explained, assuming for some reason I needed any of those details.
Sadie could not let this go. “What were you talking about?” she asked the second I got off the phone. I know she heard every word. And I knew it would become her new favorite story. “Tell me about when cousin Thomas almost pooped his pants in Chipotle.”
I always stall. “That’s so boring. Everyone on the world has that experience in Chipotle. Let me tell you a story about Wagnerian opera or the origins of chess or how Calliou lost his hair.”
Nope. She wants a poop story, so unless the Ring is really about an epic, 15-hour crap, she’s not interested.
But, I’m still fighting the good fight– trying to tell my tales without talking about good old number 2. I’m losing, but I am still fighting. It’s such a shame that all my staggering talent is going to waste.
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FN 1: I said my stories were original-ish. It’s a staple of my repertoire to reimagine well-known stories with all female characters. Pin that on your “Feminist Ideas” page.