For those of you who come here for one thing, this is my Christmas present to you

Leta’s new favorite book is called Once Upon a Potty (thanks, Abby and Jenny) about a little girl named Prudence who has “a bottom for sitting and in it a little hole for making Poo-Poo.” Let’s be honest: this is my favorite book, too.

The book is supposed to help kids understand the concept of a potty, and Prudence walks around half-naked for most of the book once bending over and showing the reading public her little Poo-Poo hole. Leta loves turning to that page because she gets to point right at the hole and say, “Poo-Poo!” The only thing that makes me prouder than my daughter saying Poo-Poo is the fact that I can hear in her voice that she’s capitalizing it in her head. Like it should be.

We had planned on introducing her to this book once we got closer to that magical moment in every person’s life when pooping in the pants is no longer dignified. You’d think there’d be a similar moment when it comes to picking one’s nose, but how many people do you know who’ve passed that developmental milestone? I’m going to go ahead and expose your little secret to the world: YOU PICK YOUR NOSE. If you are unwilling to admit it at least to yourself, then I have another harrowing secret to share with you: THAT PERSON IN BED NEXT TO YOU? HE PICKS HIS NOSE, TOO. AND THEN HE TOUCHES YOUR BARE SKIN WITH THOSE FINGERS.

[Small side story here, my friend Joanna used to wait tables in New York and she once served Martha Stewart a meal that Martha ate entirely WITH HER FINGERS. Including the salad and the fish. Joanna said that she had heard Martha suffers from a small case of obsessive-compulsive disorder and that she was probably afraid to use the utensils because she thought they would be dirty. After hearing this don’t you have the tiniest, most evil hope that someone close to her picks his nose and then without telling her sticks that finger in her ear? I DO!]

Something tells me that we’re not very close to Leta’s potty-training age. Could be that she regularly walks head-first into the dining room table, and I just don’t see us saying, “Have to go to the bathroom? Go ahead, and on your way there try not to impale yourself on the doorknob.” Plus, I’m just not ready for her to grow out of the routine she’s got going, the one where she sits with her legs straight out in a 15 degree angle off the floor and joyfully says, “Hi!” over and over again as she fills her diaper. We can always tell that she’s pooping because she sounds like she’s greeting every member of the Osmond family individually.

One afternoon last week as Jon and I were in the basement trying to get some work done Leta began serenading her babysitter with Hi! after Hi! after Hi! when the babysitter finally noticed that the poop had shot out of Leta’s pants two feet across the floor. The babysitter yelled for assistance which is more than I would have been capable of in that situation. I would have fallen prostrate on the floor and waited for death to take us all because once poop has evolved enough that it can fly in the air is there any reason to live?

I shot up the stairs with Chuck at my side. He had been sleeping in a corner of the basement as far as he could get from The Degenerate Stinking Humans, and when he heard the commotion he came right to life. Where there is commotion there is the possibility of casualties is the possibility of a fresh bloody snack. Or maybe just some Golden Grahams. We raced to the living room where the babysitter was holding Leta by the underarms several feet away from her body and a perfectly oval puddle of poop sat in the middle of the hardwood floor. It’s shape was remarkable, so perfect and undisturbed. It looked like someone had chopped off the tail of a duck-billed platypus and left it behind as a warning.

I told the babysitter to head back to the bathroom and I’d be in after I had cleared the sewage. Time suddenly shifted into dreaded slow-motion as the dog came out from behind my body and headed straight for the bubbling snack in the middle of the floor. I could hear my voice and it sounded like a cassette tape being eaten by a boom box: “NoooOOOOOoooooo. StttttoooooOOOOOOOPPPPPppppp.” Slow-motion continued as Chuck skidded to a halt and took a bite of shit like it was a soft and buttery ice cream cone.

I immediately screamed for Jon to come help, help us all. By the time Jon made it up the stairs Chuck had taken three or four bites of the intelligently evolved poop and my life and all the times Chuck has licked me with that same mouth flashed before my eyes. Jon immediately began yelling, “We do not eat poop in this house, young man!”