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The Girl That Cried Poopy -- Writer's Poke #209

By the age of seventeen months, Octavia knows the word “poopy.”

“Did you go poopy?” I can ask her. And if she has, she’ll say, “No?”

It’s important here to translate. “No” to Octavia, and I’m sure to most babies, has a variety of meanings, and the meaning depends solely on the inflection or emphasis used. “No!” means no; but “No?” has one of at least three distinct meanings – yes, maybe, or no. But in Octavia's case, “No?” generally takes the first definition – that is, it mostly means yes.

So, when she says“No?” to "Did you go poopy?" she usually heads down the hallway to the bathroom that contains the changing table.

This system worked great for about one week. Then Tavi realized that she could lead her unsuspecting parents to the bathroom just by saying “No?” She could be completely dry, completely poop-free, and technically, she wasn’t lying when she said “No?” But you just knew that she relished her new-found ability to make us follow her.

And as someone that doesn’t necessarily like working the baby poop detail, I can’t say that I minded false alarms. I just thought Tavi would wait a little bit longer before she decided to manipulate me.

How has a child, a spouse, or a friend “trained” you? Was there a point when you minded being trained?

“A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.” – Mark Twain


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