One of the challenges of taking care of an eighteen month old girl, is finding time to go to the bathroom. Usually, I sneak away while Lea is strapped down in her high chair or taking a nap. Today however, I took a risk and attempted to use the bathroom while she was busy throwing puzzle pieces across the room and screaming the words, "Caw caw!"
I didn’t shut the door all the way because I knew she’d hear the click of the lock and run to the door immediately to beat on it and scream my name. Or caw caw.
So instead I closed the door a little and then sat on the toilet and tucked, “it” so I could urinate. My plan didn’t work because she walked into the bathroom while I was in the middle of conducting business. I realized I’d been caught and wondered if I’d scarred Lea, and if twenty years from now she’d be lying on a therapist’s couch explaining how she’d caught her nanny on the toilet and he was tucking "it". I felt defenseless and wondered how I was going to get “Jake's Snake” back in my underwear without her seeing. I improvised by taking off my shoe and throwing it out of the bathroom.
"Caw caw!" I yelled.
Lea tilted her head and smiled. Then she walked up to the toilet paper and tore off a piece and handed it to me.
I became impressed that she knew what toilet paper was for and then became concerned. Did she think I was going number two? That was one of my five greatest fears. Then I started thinking, how did she know what grown ups did after going number two? She was still in diapers so how did she know bathroom etiquette? Were her parents going number two in front of her? Was that legal? Should I call child and family services? If she thought I was going number two anyway, should I just go ahead and take advantage of it?
Then I realized that her mother probably went number one in front of her and most women used toilet paper for that. So Lea didn’t think I was taking a trip to Number 2 Town, she thought I was a woman. She thought I had a lu lu! (Swiss term for Myrtle's Turtle)
I liked it better when she thought I was going number two. I couldn’t get mad at her for thinking I had a lu lu, though. She was only a baby. Had an adult thought I had a lu lu, it would be a different story. I cross my legs sometimes when I sit but I hardly think it’s severe enough to make people think I menstruate every 28 days and am capable of giving birth.
When I tell people that I’m from
“Are you married to your cousin?”
“Did you go to town in a rowboat?”
“Do you speak Swiss?”
“Why don’t they sell Swiss cheese at the grocery store?”
“Do you read Swiss?”
I think we often forget that we don’t all come from the same backgrounds and culture. A carpenter might think I’m an idiot because I can’t operate a leveler and I might think he’s an idiot because he doesn’t know what “first person” means. Are we both idiots? Is it O.K. if we judge and condemn each other for not knowing all the things that we know, even if we consider them to be common sense?
I’ve come to realize that we’re all children in some way. We’re all learning new things by watching and asking questions. No matter how old we get, we’ll never stop learning and there will always be some little bit of information that we don’t know. And while we’re learning from others, we’re also teaching them.
I learned from Lea that instead of being annoyed with people’s ignorance, I should take the opportunity to share with them what I know. I did, however, decide to let Lea’s parents teach her that little boys don’t have Myrtle's Turtles. I just had the feeling that if I explained it to her, I would have a lawsuit on my hands.