As many of you know, my first job was as the friendly neighborhood babysitter. I love kids, always have, always will. I love that they are little people that have their own sense of logic. Word got out at how awesome I was and my client base would make Kristy from the BSC cry to Maryanne.
Now, part of my awesome extended from the fact that I knew how to have fun with kids but still kept them in check (I am not afraid to distribute a time out). I mean, I was 14 and the kid had to be in bed by 8 pm so I could watch friends.
There was one family I grew really close with and I watched their son from the age of 6 months until he was around 6 or 7 (would have been longer but I went away to school). In those years, I was around for the birth of his sister and I met all of his friends and would watch other kids in his neighborhood.
He was adorable. A perfect little Irish kid who was sweet and precocious at the same time. We got along famously and I watched him grow from Barney to Power Rangers to the early Harry Potter books. We spent a lot of time together (including one whole summer when I was 15) and I have many stories.
Here's where my public announcement comes in. When he was about three, he started to potty train. I was elated because it meant no more poopy diapers for me to change. So you can imagine I was excited when I arrived one day and his mom told me that he was going on the toilet! Yay!
That morning, his mom left and I put on the TV while I set out some coloring books for us. My little man told me he was going to use the big boy potty so I took a break from coloring Cookie Monster to catch up on a soap for a few. Mind you, the bathroom is four feet from where I was. Five minutes later I hear his angelic voice exclaim, "I'M FINISHED!" Since he was new to the whole potty thing, I clapped and shouted a supportive "Good for you! Yay!" and continued to watch my stories. Two more minutes go by.
I gave another supportive yell and some more applause.
A few more minutes go by: "JONESY! I'M FINNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDDD!"
Lightbulb. "Um, do you need help?"
I open the door and homeboy is chilling on the bowl, little legs dangling. "I'm finished," he said like I was supposed to do something. What his mom had neglected to tell me was that while he could drop a deuce on the big boy bowl, he had yet to master the art of the wipe. He had been shouting for me to wipe his ass. Since I had been doing that since he was a baby, I had no problem helping but I couldn't understand how someone would teach their kid to poop and not show them the wiping process. Like really, they go hand in hand! Needless to say, I learned my lesson and from then until he learned how to use TP, I was on hand when he needed his heiny wiped.
Sadly, this was not the last time this would happen to me. I was a camp counselor for years. My first year, I had self-sufficient 12-14 year-olds (including Spanish's sister!). My second year, I had kids going into first grade, most of whom were five or six. We hung around most of the day with the kids in Kindergarten (my sister was the head counselor in that group). By this time, my teenage alcoholism had set in and my sister and I (and 90% of the rest of the counselors) would roll into work everyday hungover. On those days (everyday), we would ask for movie time, which meant air conditioning and quiet for an hour. On this particular day, I was exhausted and movie time was lodged between lunch and swim time. This meant that after the movie, every single kid had to pee. I took my kids to the bathroom. One of the quietest and sweetest kids went in and immediately farted. I knew she was going to poo. We were in the bathroom for fifteen minutes. After asking her about five times if she had needed help, she finally said, yea, I think I'm done. I asked her to open the door so the next girl could go.
As if she were the Queen of Sheba, she swung open the door (still sitting on her throne) and said "I need you to wipe my heiny first."
Now, when you work with little kids at a licensed summer camp there are STRICT rules about touching kids. Especially when you are alone with them. I feel bad, because I laughed at this girl in the face while I sent my CIT (who was nearby with the girls who were waiting) to get some baby wipes from my sister. I took one and realized that there was no reason I should have to do this. I didn't really know her parents well (not like I was the trusted family babysitter or had ever changed her diaper). So I did the only thing I could think of. I held the babywipe up to my shorts and acted out how she should wipe. I taught the girl to wipe her ass through effing mime.
So parents and future parents of America, I implore you. PLEASE TEACH YOUR KIDS TO WIPE BEFORE LEAVING THEM IN THE CARE OF AN UNSUSPECTING TEENAGER. Thank you.