Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The inner workings of a child's mind
"Why do boys get a special potty?!," she wailed.
"They pee differently."
"I can pee in the special potty!"
"They pee standing up."
"I can pee standing up!"
"It's only for boys. That's the rule."
Not much more was said, but every time we dine out at the neighborhood greasy spoon she makes a careful examination of the tantalizing alternative to a toilet—brow furrowed, lips tight with concentration. She wants to understand the magic of the urinal. Something about it baffles and amazes her, and until today I didn't know what that something was.
We were out on the road today, driving to the grocery store and having a conversation about the mechanics of cement mixers, and she saw a septic pumping truck. "Isn't the cement going to get hard in that one? That one that's holding still?" she asked.
"No, that's not a cement truck. That's a septic truck, for sucking the poop out of septic systems."
The gears turned. Silence reigned. She thought.
Two minutes later, the answer to an older mystery came out: "So, Mama? Is that how they get the boy pee out of the wall after a boy uses the bathroom at the Blue Mountain Grill? The poop-sucker-truck sticks its hose in the wall and sucks it out?"
All this time, I thought she was fascinated by the urinal because it was off limits. Turns out she was fascinated because the girls deposit their urine in the hole in the ground (Toilet > Floor > Pipe > Septic System —this is understood). The boys, on the other hand, pee into a hole in the wall. The Urinal > Wall > Pipe > Septic System connection didn't happen automatically for her, and so she found her own way to a solution. Urinal > Wall > Puddle of Urine, Trapped Until Liberated by the Poop Sucker Truck.
I think I'd stop patronizing the Grill if that were the case, but I admire R's inventiveness. She saw a problem, and she thought of the solution.