Some bodily functions are beyond controlPublished 5:59pm Saturday, May 4, 2013
Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster
If you want to make babies laugh, tell them your plans.
Friends, this column contains information relating to bodily functions, which may require me to use offensive phrases like, “the opposite of digestion” and “the opposite of constipation.” If such filth offends you, turn back now. Run!
But, if you have the stomachs for such strong stuff, oh, fearless readers — read on!
I always thought those movies where a child enters an adult’s life and suddenly an otherwise competent man or woman runs around yelling, “Do not garnish the dog with hollandaise sauce!” and “Why is there a diaper in my hollandaise sauce?” were bunk.
Movies like “Mr. Mom,” “Baby Boom,” “Parenthood,” and “Freaky Friday” weren’t real — technically the freak out in “Freaky Friday” happens when Jodi Foster inhabits her mother’s body, but that’s another story, albeit an awesome one.
They were an exaggerated version of child-rearing made up by those Hollywood people to satisfy a niche in the comedy genre, enticing parents to spend 15 bucks an hour for a babysitter so they can sit in the theater sipping their $7 sodas and letting their Junior Mints melt to the roofs of their mouths, all the while nodding and grinning knowingly at each other.
Well, guess what? They are real. The bunk’s on me.
On Monday morning I bounced out of bed ready to bask in those two days we call spring. I was going to give the babies their first taste of French toast. Then we would put on girl clothes, saddle the dog and stroll through the neighborhood harmonizing with the birds.
These days efficiency is key, so I battered the bread, threw it in the pan and raced Sidney, our Yorkie, out the door.
Back in the house, I could smell that the toast was almost Frenched. Perfect. Except … except … what was that look in Sidney’s eyes? Like John Malkovich in “Dangerous Liaisons,” he seemed to be saying, “It’s beyond my control.” And there, right in front of me, he proceeded to have the very opposite of constipation.
By the time I cleaned up and got back to breakfast the French toast had gone south, straight into Spain, where it jumped in the Mediterranean and ended its misery. I grabbed a pouch of blueberry banana oatmeal and was about to spoon it to the babies when Gertie’s face turned red; she lowered her chin, raised her eyebrows and bared her one fang at me.
There he was again. Malkovich! “It’s beyond my control,” Gertie cried, and then she too had the exact opposite of constipation.
“What is this plague that visits both man and beast?” I asked my husband, Graham, but he was busy stepping in Sidney’s opposite of digestion on his way out the door.
“Have a good day!” I called after him and went to get the mop.
I passed Sidney on the way back to the high chairs, “I know, beyond your control.”
The girls were happily playing in blue oatmeal and listening to “Free to Be You and Me.”
“It’s all right to cry,” sang Rosey Grier, “It might make you feel better!”
Suck it up, Kloster, I thought, as I scattered a few pieces of banana on the girls’ trays and began their morning books. I find it calms me and entertains them if I read in the voice of Christopher Walken. It adds a bit of mysterious subtext to otherwise humdrum stories like, “I Am a Bunny” and “Where is Baby’s Beach Ball?”
I guess I got too into character because right in the middle of, “Uh, yeah, you know, Hop on Pop,” Clara started to laugh and cough up a piece of banana. No! Stay away, Malkovich!
Too late, the opposite of digestion was all over me, and Clara laughed even harder. It was beyond her control.
By mid-morning I put the babies down for a nap. Everyone seemed back to normal. Could this have been some strange daydream? No, I could smell the reality all over me.
I don’t know what caused that gross-out convention, but to quote Barbara Harris in possession of Jodie Foster’s mind, it was “something really freaky.”
Standing in front of the mirror I regarded my sweatshirt covered in all manner of baby and canine secretions. It once had read, “Upper Peninsula. Almost Heaven,” but now, soiled as it was, all I could make out was “U Almost Heave.”
You can say that again, and I gagged a little. Sorry, beyond my control.
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and her blog is at alexandrakloster.com.