Lesbian and Gay Parenting book coverIn a Family Way

A column by Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev

Potty Training and The Femme

Posted By on July 1, 2009

Potty Training and the Femme
By Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev
This is the column that started it all. It was actually a post to a Lesbian Moms Email Listserv I’ve now been a member of for over 13 years. At the time, I was a new mom, and this post was such a hit that it was suggested I send it to the old AOL Q Parenting site which launched my lesbian parenting columnist career.

It was one of those days that you start out running before you hit the ground. I bring my son to day care by 9 AM, because they get very angry if he is later than that. (Somehow, I had never considered that a three-year old would have deadlines and time clocks.) At 9:05 the phone rings. It is the school calling to tell me that my son has pink eye (which he didn’t have any sign of 5 minutes earlier) and I go to pick him up giving the daycare provider my best dyke glare.

My wubby (wubby defined: part wife/part husband) and I compare our schedules to see who can squeeze a three-year old into our already busy day. We split the day, she has him in the morning and I have him in the afternoon.

I have a 4 o’clock appointment to get my nails done (DONT EVEN START WITH ME). Generally I wouldn’t dream of taking a kid with me to get my nails done, but the nail salon is in the building with the auto store — with vintage cars and video games so it is actually a treat for him.

We go into the salon, and my usual nail person is not there. In her place is Lance wearing pounds of gold jewelry and nearly attached to a cell phone that rings every 5 minutes with someone discussing their plans to meet at the mall later and soon as he’s done — as he says — "doing" me. My son confuses Lance by continually asked me questions about Mommy ("Is Mommy home?" "Are we having dinner with Mommy?" "Do you think Mommy will like this color nail polish."). When Lance asks me if he is my nephew, I say, "No, he’s my son" and leave him wondering.

And then the inevitable happens. My son’s arm accidentally hits the box that is filled to brimming with acrylic nails — like 800 fake nails — all over the floor. I must say I was a bit impressed with Lance, who looked at the nails, looked at my son (not, at me) and asked him to pick them all up. And to my amazement my son did, pick up every single one and then announces that he has to pee.

Now the bathroom is about 50 miles away, across the showroom, down the elevator, and I apologize to Lance, and off we go. I hear Lance dialing up his cell phone to tell his friends that he will now be late since this "girl" (I’m at least twice his age) is taking a long time.

We head back upstairs, when I realize that I left my wallet in the car. I wave to Lance –"Be there in a minute" — and down the elevator we go ("Can I push the button?"), at toddler speed to the car ("Why aren’t we leaving now?), and back upstairs ("Can I stop and see the cars?") and back into the nail salon ("How much longer is this going to take?)

We are almost done with my nails when my son starts that unmistakable behavior that signals POOP TIME. He stands in the corner, and starts to whine. I (bad bad mom) say: "Can you wait?" He of course tells me he doesn’t have to go anymore. While Lance gives me the evil eye, I jump up with my very wet nails, and pick up wallet, keys, kid’s toys and jacket and head down to the bathroom (like 50 miles away remember)…trying to blow on my very wet nails. My three-year old walks very slow, squeezing his tush. Then he suddenly starts yelling "Mama, mama…it fell." There in the middle of the hall is a big POOP. Did I forget to tell you he didn’t have any underwear on? Which by the way neither parent has an explanation for. A crowd starts to form, and my son is yelling, "Mama, mama" and one woman asks, bending over, "What is that?" Of course there is not a paper towel or piece of newspaper in sight, and the bathroom door — which is almost in sight now — is LOCKED, I wave to manager, "Please buzz the door open", hoping that waving my hands back and forth will help dry my nails.

After cleaning up Junior, who by the way, HATES being "dirty" — including his legs, and the pants and the floor, including the hallway — with my still very wet nails, that I just spent $20 dollars for– I discover exactly how small poop can solidify INTO nail polish.

Oh, did I tell you that he doesn’t have pink eye, and will be back in day care tomorrow?

PS: My email is set to not accept any disparaging femme humor.