If you have not read The Covered Wagon (Why is my husband so proud of his farts?) Part I, you can do so by clicking here.
|No Farting on Mom|
Tristan, my six-year-old son, talks a lot about his farts, too. Which is expected. Every time he farts, he says blast off! Or ready aim fire! Or yea! A few weeks ago he blocked the doorway to my bedroom and asked, “What’s the password?”
“I don’t know.” I said. “Probably something to do with farts.”
Then he laughed and said, “The password is: Ahh… the nice refreshing smell of a fart.” This is always his password. He must have told it to me a million times. And this time, like every time, the reaction was the same. He placed his little hands over his little tummy, and laughed his ass off, like he was so clever. Like he really knew humor. Like everyone should be just as in love with farts as he is.
And sadly, whenever Tristan told me his password, and with each Nintendo Wii avatar that he and his friends named “Mr. Farty McFart”, and every time he pinned one of his buddies to the ground so he could fart on his head, I also laughed. I laughed when he looked me in the eyes, smiled slyly, and farted on my leg. I laughed when Tristan broke the silence of a nice family dinner by blowing a raspberry.
Tristan is short and stout, with broad shoulders and blue eyes, just like me. We have the same buzz haircut, brown hair, block shaped feet, thin spidery fingers, stout legs, and fallen arches. When I look at him, he reminds me so much of myself. Sometimes a little too much. The spark of creativity and laughter that hits his face every time he throws out a fart joke reminds me of how brilliant I felt each time I told a really great fart joke.
I try to keep my laughter to myself because I don’t want to be a bad example. I don’t want Tristan to go through the same embarrassment that I went through as a teen. For a long time I felt unattractive because of how often girls rejected me. However, when I think back on my early pickup lines and some of the topics of many conversations I had during first dates, I realize that my real problem was being obscene. I didn’t understand that for some people fart jokes made them, frankly, sick to their stomach. Each time Tristan approached a Sunday school teacher and said, “I farted.” Each time he farted on his grandmother’s lap and then smiled with pride. Each time he drew a blurry smudge on a piece of paper and told his sister it was a fart cloud, I laughed.
But once the laughter subsided, I feared for him. I wondered how long it would take for him to realize that those conversations are not appropriate around all audiences. I wondered how much rejection, scorn, and frustration he would face until he figured it out. Perhaps, like some of the boys I grew up with, he’d never figure it out. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I have figured it out. Was I qualified to teach him about proper social etiquette? Perhaps if I was, I wouldn’t be writing this essay and letting everyone read it.
One evening Tristan monkeyed his way up the back of our sofa, stuck his little butt in Mel’s face while she was studying, and farted. I watched the whole thing happen from the kitchen. Tristan laughed so hard that he fell into Mel’s lap. Mel didn’t cough. She didn’t gag. She didn’t fan her face or plug her nose. She angrily cradled Tristan in her arms, took him to his room, and placed him on his bed. Her arms and legs were tense, her face rough with anger. I don’t know if I’d ever seen her so angry with Tristan.
She yelled at him, telling him that what he was doing was inappropriate. That he was gross and needed to never do that again. I didn’t move because I was laughing too hard. But the laughter stopped when Mel said, “Ughh… you are worse than your father.”
I know that Mel said this out of emotion. She was pissed and had every right to be. But I must say that scared the hell out of me. Was I really the problem? Was I really the source of his fart talking? Did I really talk enough about farts that Mel could compare Tristan’s never ending disgusting rambles to my speech and actions? This was really shocking. Perhaps it was nature and not nurture? Perhaps he was genetically prone to talk about farts, like his father, and my father, and so on back through time. I don’t know, but what I did know was that I needed to get off my ass and do something.
You also might enjoy Confessions Of A Stay At Home Dad.
Clint Edwards is a tutor coordinator at Oregon State University. He is also the former co-host of the Weekly Reader on KMSU and a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University. His writing has been listed as notable by Best American Essays, and has been published in The Baltimore Review, and through The University of North Dakota, Boston College, Emerson College, The University of South Carolina, and Minnesota State University.