Unfit Father

Published on September 21st, 2016 | by Richard Black

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Tiny Mysteries (Who’s Pissing on the Bathroom Floor?)

uf_thoughtfulape_092216Life is full of mystery and parenthood is no exception. As a parent I’ve come to understand that I have a lot of questions. In the beginning they were of the usual sort. “How many fingers would I be willing to remove to get three hours of sleep?” was pretty common. “Why did the woman from the Le Leche League grab my wife’s breast and squeeze it without asking?” came about after my daughter’s birth.

“Can I file a a police report?” was another I had a few minutes later.

The questions changed as my daughter grew older but the mystery remained. “Why did you smear poop all over your crib?” was one to which I’ll never have a satisfactory answer. “How much food can a two year old cram into her mouth as she’s actively choking?” is still another.

The fact is that I’ve always been an inquisitive person. Before I became a father I took part in the usual sorts of questions young men ask. I often wondered whom I was or what would my purpose in life would be but existential queries quickly gave way to more pressing concerns like “…and your name would be?” shortly followed by an awkward conversation about whether or not I wore a condom.

After becoming a parent I’ve discovered that I’m still an inquisitive sort and the questions have become no less profound. A few years ago I had the opportunity to ask my three year old daughter Darcy why in the hell she jammed a pea in her nose and then “How does one get a pea out of a toddler’s sinus cavity?” as well as “Should I be calling 911?”

For the record I’ve never received a sensible response to the first question. The answer to the third query is “no” and was rendered moot after I poked my daughter, gently but firmly, in the stomach to dislodge the pea and a fair amount of snot onto my cashmere sweater. For those of you whom are curious this experience is also why I have chosen to wear nothing but cheap black t-shirts and filthy jeans until my daughter stops using me as a snot rag or a receptacle for vomit. I’ve also heard that black very slimming and I can use all the help I can get.

One of the most profound mysteries either I or my wife have tried to address is “Who is pissing on the bathroom floor?” To be fair Laura has always been more concerned with the answer to the question than yours truly. I’ve lived with myself for quite a long time and never found the need to answer or even ask that very question.

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My life would be a lot easier if my wife would agree to have one of these installed in our kitchen.

The hunt for “The Phantom Pisser” began shortly after Laura and I were married and it involved a lot of finger pointing, misguided accusations and quite a few hurt feelings. Laura naturally assumed that I was to blame which I took to be a fairly sexist stance on the entire issue.

I took a broader approach and assumed it was our dog. I say “our” dog” but it was really “my” dog” and while I’d never seen Nacho hike up his leg and claim the bathroom floor I didn’t watch his every move because I respected his privacy.

It’s also possible that Nacho just didn’t like Laura which should not be taken as a mark against my wife’s character. Nacho didn’t even like me all that much and I’d rescued him from a life on the streets. Nacho also loathed our daughter Darcy once she came home from the hospital. Instead of snuggling up to the newest addition of the family or even giving her a cursory sniff Nacho promptly huffed and then hid under the dining room table for the next six months until he died.

His passing was difficult but even more challenging than the loss of a somewhat loyalish companion was an explanation for who was leaving bright yellow stains on our bathroom floor. Laura quickly began taking an unhealthy interest in my bathroom routine and I responded in kind. Theories were posited and more finger pointing occurred.

My belief was that the unknown pisser was, most likely, Laura’s cousin Lizzie. She’d always been pretty into me and visited us a handful of times, presumably to have a threesome. Granted Lizzie never said as much but she always looked pretty bitter about sleeping in the second bedroom in the dead of winter with only a few clothes to keep her warm after the heat went out. Laura, for the record, thought that this theory was ridiculous and claimed that Lizzie had always thought I was a moron.

Without a likely culprit the accusations continued. For her part Laura had some unkind things to say about my ability to urinate standing up and the word “shower head” may or may not have been used in reference to my abilities to use the toilet. I responded by eating a lot of roughage as an excuse to sit down on the can and began subtle comments to the effect that it sounded like a horse was pissing every time my wife used the facilities.

These were the darkest days of our marriage. I like to think that neither one of us were willing to end things but the arrival of our daughter was something of a blessing. Darcy’s well being shortly precluded most other concerns like eating regularly or sleeping all that often. For the next few years Laura and I spent our time in a sleep deprived and malnourished state that robbed us of the need to make unfounded accusations about the phantom floor pisser.

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PSA. This is what popped upon on Pixabay after I searched for a picture about being tired and skinny. I’m glad I didn’t search for “lean forward and pee.”

Once Darcy was somewhat toilet trained and sleeping through the night however the search began again and each of us had some measure of plausible deniability. I won’t go into details but it turns out that the female members of the species need as much training as the males when it comes to taking a leak. In addition to “Don’t be the only person drinking in a room” and “never park by a panel van” it turns out that some of the best advice I have to give my daughter is “just lean forward a little bit.”

Unfortunately there will come a day in which my daughter will fully master the ability to use the bathroom. I like to think that my wife and I will have evolved past the need to determine who’s pissing on the floor but I’m a realist and I’m currently formulating a plan that involves adopting a poorly trained puppy or two.

Some questions, after all, are best left unanswered and I’ve heard that every marriage needs a little mystery.

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