Girls raising boys

I hate the word fart. It’s juvenile and crass and it sounds horrible. We were visiting friends when Asher had a little wind. “Asher, did you fart?” asked our friend. “He doesn’t know that word,” I said. Gabriella said, “He has wind. Or he toots.” “He TOOTS?!? He’s going to grow up, go to school and say TOOT? You can’t be serious! He’ll get beaten up for sure.” “Of course he won’t grow up saying TOOT just like he’ll eventually stop referring to trains as choo-choos.” But in the back of my mind I’m thinking that there are some things that 2 women need to consider that many inter-gendered parents don’t. Let’s face it, girls tend to inject more of the etiquette into child rearing. Two girls are less likely to introduce or encourage passing wind audibly let alone referring to it as farting. I realize I’m making huge generalizations about girls, but when have you known me to not make huge generalizations? Write your own blog if you don’t like it.

Before we had children we discussed all the challenges two women would face. We knew it wouldn’t be easy but then again, when is it ever? We tried to anticipate some of the questions our kids would ask, and we tried to prepare answers to have at the ready. We contemplated some of the ignorant people and ugly situations they may meet in their lives and discussed how we would empower them with education, love and confidence. We’ll surround ourselves with a supportive community and hope for the best. But we didn’t talk about how we would refer to wind.

Then there’s the British/American debate. In the UK, wind is used more often than fart. In the UK, children wee. In the U.S., they pee. In the UK, a boy’s member is his willy. In the U.S., nicknames are out – penis all the way. Asher spent his first 2 ½ years of life in the UK, therefore he has a willy and he wees and very occasionally he has wind. Do we need to revisit these terms so that he is not ridiculed? Or will other kids teach him the necessary lingo? Will he be judged more harshly because two women are raising him to speak funny?

Our very good male friend who shall remain nameless confessed to us that when he is at other people’s homes, he sits down when he wees. He even sits in his own home out of respect to his wife. He explained that no matter how careful the boy, standing up is a messy operation. In order not to defile the toilet seats of friends, he sits. In public restrooms, he stands. Good for him, I say. It’s a habit we’d like to pass on to our boys. Until Asher can climb on to the toilet himself, he stands. Much to the horror of our friends, we even had Asher using a bit of toilet tissue after each session to take care of any residual drops. “I told my husband that Asher wipes after he wees,” said our dear friend during a phone call the other day. “He says you can’t do that anymore!” “But if there’s left over wee, he should wipe it away,” I say. “Why should we put up with dribble and underwear stains?” Her husband is yelling in the background, “You can’t do that to him!! Shake-don’t wipe!” So we caved. Even though it would be more hygienic for everyone to wipe away any excess just as we girls do, we’re going to go with the flow so that life is that much easier for our boys.

We do appreciate the men in our lives who are great advisers and role models. We are counting on them to show our boys a world that we can not even if that means a world of belching, farting and arm pit noises. Actually, I am very good at making arm pit noises, but I think I’ll leave that out of my motherly instruction. So bring it on, gentlemen.

But I still hate the word fart.

7 thoughts on “Girls raising boys

  1. Will, standing in the background, informs me that Benjamin Franklin once published an essay entitled “Fart Proudly”, believing that it was unhealthy to keep it in.
    Hmm. Will has also shared a piece of poetry loved and recited in his family:
    Beans, beans, the magical fruit
    The more you eat the more you toot
    The more you toot the better you feel
    So eat your beans with every meal.

    As for the shake vs. wipe issue – it’s counter-intuitive for women to leave drips. I was having James dab with tissue after a pee, but Will informed me that it just is not done. Go figure – how do they live with those things?

  2. One more thing…
    I once was listening to a morning radio program during a commute and the debate was about wiping: crumpling up the toilet paper vs. rolling it carefully around your hand and then removing it for use. No, it was not NPR or the BBC.
    So, of course, the women who called in all crumpled, while most of the men rolled. The male DJ couldn’t understand how crumpling could work, which made me think (God help me) about the different approaches: sitting on the throne for men is an event – they take their time and it is an important part of their day. For women, we’re sitting there over and over all day, and the quickest way we can get back off again (i.e. crumpling) the better. And with no drips, I might add.

  3. The version of that poem that I knew as a kid begins:

    “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart
    The more you eat the more you fart
    The more you fart, the better…”

    I don’t remember learning the word “fart” so I likely learned it from my parents, more likely my mother than my father.

    And, I fold my TP.

    I’m always such a contrarian…

  4. This made me laugh out loud.

    I just had an argument with my SIL who was trying to tell me that we should teach Hannah to call her vagina her “wee wee.”

    Of course, I’m pretty sure the accepted technical term these days is vulva because it includes the whole shebang, not just the vagina. But I grew up with a vagina, so I’m having a hard time changing.

    Anyway, very funny. Joe sits, btw, unless he’s peeing with another boy, and then they stand together. So charming. And oddly, it is Hannah who is into burping and farting noises and finds them just hilarious. Joseph barely notices.

    -Angela

  5. This made me laugh out loud.

    I just had an argument with my SIL who was trying to tell me that we should teach Hannah to call her vagina her “wee wee.”

    Of course, I’m pretty sure the accepted technical term these days is vulva because it includes the whole shebang, not just the vagina, but I grew up with a vagina, so I’m having a hard time changing.

    Anyway, very funny. Joe sits, btw, unless he’s peeing with another boy, and then they stand together. So charming. And oddly, it is Hannah who is into burping and farting noises and finds them just hilarious. Joseph barely notices.

    -Angela

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