Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brought to You by the Letters L, M, N, O, and Urinate (Don't Say P)

In an effort to avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities, including my own, I decided to change the title of my last post wherein I used the word “peeing” in relation to a small child: six-year-old me. It seemed innocuous enough but my telepathy over the vapors some were experiencing from seeing the word in print kept me up half the night.

I struggled mightily to figure out what to call this bodily function and also wondered why it was such a big deal.

The word urinate is positively revolting. I once knew a woman who chided her daughter-in-law for asking her two year old if she needed to pee or poop. She insisted the proper terms were urinate and defecate and they should be used. Number one, (which raises a whole other issue), most kids couldn’t roll that off their tongue if they wanted to and, who would want to? And number two (don’t go there), it sounds like you’re swearing.

I don’t know a mother who hasn’t looked at her soggy-bottomed-toddler progeny and asked, “Have you got a pee-pee diaper?” But do not put that in print because something about it looks wrong. So we can say it, but we must not print it.

Should we say “Number 1?” Doesn’t that freak children out at sporting events when they hear an entire crowd shouting out, “WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE’RE NUMBER ONE!?” Thankfully, most people don’t shout or advertise when they are, in fact, number two. That could scar kids for life.

And how did we get numbers for bodily functions anyway? I grew up with these terms. I never wanted to be in the company of others during counting exercises until I got to the number three. It seemed rather too close a look into my personal life to speak of the numbers “one” and “two” in front of people.

How about “potty?” That sounds mysteriously ambiguous. I know when I’m training a puppy I don’t want to know that it went potty on the floor. I want to know if it peed or pooped. That will help me make an immediate determination about who to delegate for clean-up duty. I’ll handle the pee. Cleaning up poop must always fall to your kids so you can stand back and lecture about the joys of pet ownership. And remind them they said they would do this when they begged for the puppy. No, succinct terms are important for guiding children properly and making them sorry you are not profoundly deaf when they swear their faithfulness.

And “poop patrol” is the hard science of removing unpleasantness from the backyard. Does anyone really want to be assigned to “defecation duty?” (Or is that “dooty?”)

Some people tell their pets to do their “business,” as if it’s actually a job. I’m heartily hoping “business” really has nothing to do with this activity. If you believe that it does, I’m not coming to your office.

I suppose we could use the default setting, “Going to the bathroom,” but again, when your small child says they have to go to the bathroom in a public setting, you want details. This could mean the difference between three toilet seat covers while they perch precariously on the front 1/2” of the revolting and disease-laden PUBLIC toilet, and the full-metal-jacket version involving FORTY seat covers, holding their hands so they don’t touch the seat – which they immediately do when you let go of their hands to help them dismount – and multiple prayers that they will survive the diseases they have now contracted which, but for divine intervention, will shorten their lives and yours and lead to a horrible death.

And when we are enjoying the company of others and we excuse ourselves to go to the bathroom or restroom, does anyone actually think others in the room believe we’re leaving to take a bath? Or a nap? And wouldn’t that be far stranger than the alternative?

“Excuse me but I need to use the restroom. I’ll be out in about 45 minutes and if I’m not, please knock and wake me up. I’m not going in there to, well, YOU know.”

We all know why we’re headed there. Everyone, everywhere, the world over, knows. Because it is what we all do several times a day. God created us to do it. He was not embarrassed. Why are we? In fact, there are a whole lot of words and descriptions in the Bible that would make the subject of a little girl losing control of her bladder (see yesterday’s post) look positively refined, but those who penned the words through divine inspiration did not shy away from telling it like it was, in graphic detail, and sometimes with words no longer heard in proper society (King James Version). I think our piety can be rather more sanctimony when we “strain at gnats and swallow camels.” (Matthew 23:24)

So this leaves us with the “number one” question: Do you really have a right to mention anyone’s pees and cues right out loud and advise them to mind them? And also, what do YOU call it?

Let’s get this potty started.


504 Main

(I chose this post to run on the Tickled Pink No. 504 Main Fridays Blog Hop - I thought the tickled thing tied in nicely. ->-)

©Copyright 2010


  1. Oh Robynn, this is hilarious. It reminds me that what we called it as kids I don't hear very often (actually at all). We were told to let our parents know if we needed to go potty or grunt-potty. I thought that's what EVERYBODY called it, imagine my surprise at school!

  2. Oh Robynn, this was just so funny. Only you could pull off a post like this.
    You forgot one other term. And to this day I still can not figure out why my mother used kids always looked at her with questioning eyes as to what she meant.."do you need to go wee wee?"
    I liked my grandson's bluntness "Grand MA - I's got ta go pee"!!!

  3. Omigosh girl... I UMSL!(urinated my self laughing) I don't know why, but when I was little we wee-wee'd or did shay-shame, (and you think YOU'RE messed up??)while our next door neighbor 'tinkled' and 'thundered'. I remember my mom once running for the bucket, when the little girl said she needed to do a 'funder'.

    We pee and poop around here, and even after all these years, I still call the toilet room the "bathroom" even though there's no toilet in there. Just imagine doing a poo... and then having to come out... walk down 20 ft of hallway in front of everyone... and then go into the bathroom where there's only a shower and sink, to wash your hands. Dumb, eh?
    Gives me the sh**s, it does!

  4. @ Pamela @ Seeds Of Nutrition ....

    I always hated the whole "and this little piggy went wee wee wee, all the way home!" 'cause I thought he was peeing on himself!

  5. I had this SAME dilemma the other day. I went to a store when I was in Alabama and you had to PAY to use the bathroom. I wanted to title my post Pay To Pee but just couldn't...ended up going with Pay To Potty.

  6. Oh, Robynn, You ARE in RARE FORM THIS WEEK!!!!! Tears streaming...voice howling...sides splitting...You were born for the Comedy Club...GO THERE NOW!!!! No, actually...think you need to walk into a major network and audition...Time to give those late night, male dominated shows a little competition!!! You are MARVELOUS, darlink! Oh, and btw, we always called it "tinkle" since that is precisely the onomatopoeia sound it makes...LOL...You can add that to your repetoire as long as you give me credit...Wonder if I can copyright a term like that? ROFL...Love you so much!!! Janine XO

  7. BTW, You are BRILLIANT!!!! :-) Love, J.

  8. Exactly. What's the big deal anyway? All that stuff about what is proper and using technical words is poo.
    Nothing wrong with telling people, "I'll be right back, I gotta pee".

  9. Brilliant Robynn! I love your wonderful humour!!

    @ Jyl - I'm not sure where you're at, but in Europe it's very common to have to pay. In Germany, they've even put in fully automatic systems to get in!

  10. Well, since I never leave the house, and no one is ever here, I don't really have to worry about it. But for the record, because Riley is litter-trained, I just tell him to use his litter. And he does.

    Except for those times he uses the kitchen floor.

  11. HILARIOUS!! You are so stikin' funny! We are "potty" users, although around our home, I always find myself saying "I gotta Pee"!
    So, there ya go!
    Someone said you need to try out for the comedy stage, she's right!
    You have girl, you have it.
    BTW, thank's for your sweet comment on my blog, I appreciate the love! The May 22nd thing, were you speaking of you and Jamie?

  12. Too funny!! We call it "potty" in general (do you need to go potty?), pee and poop specifically when necessary (did you pee or did you poop?). I think there is no room for gentility with small children. You need to be quick and to the point so that nobody does their business in their pants lol.

  13. I am right in the middle of potty training a 2.5 year old. She has her own word which is becoming quite popular in these parts..."Mommy I pooped'ed" no matter whether it is #1 or #1. Thanks for linking up! Glad to have found you!

  14. @ Caroline I am in Georgia. Ok, let me clarify that a little further...I live in the NorthWest Mountain region of Georgia. We are apparently pretty sheltered out here in the country cause I am finding that lots of people new about the whole Pay to Potty concept and I had never heard of it. Imagine my surprise when I turn a corner and there it is.

  15. LOL...this was too funny Robynn!!!

    Funny what makes some people blush...I'm not a urinate, defecate type of person, in fact I don't think I've ever used those words, except here today!!! :0)

    When I was a kid it was pee & poop, or number 1 or an adult I say bathroom!!! What can you do it is part of life... :0)


  16. OMG does anyone get the vapors anymore about anything? If I were going to get the vapors, it would be over the rock stars who can't keep their hands off their equipment south of their waists, as in Michael Jackson crotch grabbing. Come on, I want to say, "Is it falling off or are you just getting off?" Sorry, was that too crude? I need some smelling salts.

  17. Hilarious post! How about tinkle?

  18. Oh...oh goodness me...I can hardly see to type through the tears of laughter. We call it all sorts of things here in England too. Our dog, for example, knows exactly what is required by "D'ya wanna weeannapoo?", and rushes into the garden to oblige. Most kids call it wee and poo respectively. In general though 'going to the loo' just about covers it over here and you are thus relieved (sorry) of the need to be more specific. "Going potty" would be more likely to mean a mental problem. "Going to the bathroom" would, indeed, be taken to mean you wanted to take a bath or shower, although with the advent of the www we all know about you Americans and bathrooms and restrooms. I remember some years ago (pre-www for me) seeing a sign for Restroom in Harrods in London. Well I only wanted a loo but not finding any went into this Restroom. WOW - it was so posh and cost the earth but it was wprth it as an education in how the other half lives!

    Strangely, it is considered very very rude to say s**t or f**t and there are several less unsavoury (is that a contradiction?) words for the latter.

    Thanks for a great laugh.

  19. DJan: That was just plain cruel. (Sorry to your mom and dad! lol)

    Pam: Yes, wee-wee was a term I forgot. Thankfully. :)

    Kate: "Shay-shame?!" OMWORD. We should all take up a collection for therapy for you. Yes, and we should all feel HORRIBLY ashamed for this most God-given need to go to the bathroom! And BINGO on the little pigs who obviously had HUGE bladders in order to make that activity last for the whole trip home!

    Jyl: I remember my first pay toilet. I was in my teens and they were downtown (didn't fly and they took them out). We used to shinny under the door and shinny back out again. In a PUBLIC restroom. I pretty sure I STILL need a shower. *SHUDDER*

    Janine: "Tinkle" makes me think of the sound crystal chandeliers make when you move them but you nailed that onomatopoeia exactly! Next time I dip my chandeliers in the toilet I'm going to compare sounds!

    TechnoBabe: Aren't we funny?

    Caroline: :)

    Gitz; I'm gonna try that with my kids.

  20. You are just too funny! Once I had the word pubes in a title and I took it out because I knew it might be sitting on people's blog rolls on their blogs. LOL We called it pee pee and poo poo too. My mom used to ask us if we needed to "make a mess." How disgusting is that?

  21. Well I always ask TLC if he has potty pants or Poop-a-doos.

  22. Call it what it is Pee and Poop. When my girls were little one did a Poopy, Potty, Pee sing song out of frustration with her sister.
    Today even the dog knows the word pee:)

  23. WHAT A DIALOGUE!!!!! Priceless!!! ~Janine XO

  24. Who knew bodily functions could be so amusing? You have such a gift of comedy!! We call it like it is, but grandma and grandpa were a bit too proper... I'm sorry... a BM, *shudder* is just as disgusting! So we took to using "tinkle" too, and that usually catches every one off guard to see two boys saying they have to tinkle :) They've since learned to call it much more obnoxious boy things I simply won't go into...

  25. Kim: The stage probably wouldn't do for me. I put my foot in my mouth ENOUGH right here in WRITING! Imagine me without editing myslef! AHHHH! And yep, I meant Jamie and me - we met on that day. :)

    Mrs. M: Well put and Amen!

    April: And YOU are SWEET!

    Holly: I LOVE it when they make their own words. Both my kids called nursing something different when they were tiny. And I'm glad I found YOU! Thanks for the GREAT hop and the FOLLOW!

    Azure: I think the clinical names should be forever banned! BLECH.

    RJ: AMEN. Vapors should be saved for things you DON'T have to do, like THAT and wearing your pants around your knees.

    Eva: Eva meet Janine - Janine meet Eva. :)

    Angie: Going "potty" means a MENTAL PROBLEM? Bwahahahahahahaha! Do you know how much I LOVE this??! And THANK YOU for the "bathroom" info! I hope to one day get to London just so I can visit Harrod's restroom. :) Postcard home: "In Harrod's restroom - wish you were here."

  26. SASS... two things I can tell you from reading this post. The terms are generational... if any of us kids didn't have a BM we got dosed with castoroil or later, thank God, Phillips Milk of Magnesia. Tasted much better than castoroil and if you've tasted M. of M. you can imagine how bad castoroil tasted.

    The other thing I can tell from this post is you are feeling good. And I am thankful for that.

    Love you!!!

  27. Hilarious! Pee and poo is fine as far as I'm concerned...

  28. Blue Violet: LOL and VERY disgusting! :)

    Lil Mama: POOP-A-DOOS! How CUTE is that?! Who knew you could make poop cute!

    Far Side: Sometimes dogs are much more reasonable than people. :)

    Janine: You stalker! lol Beware, you KNOW I stalk you BACK!! XO

    Vicky: BM really might be THE worst, even more than defecate, because it adds a verb to the noun! I don't want to THINK it those terms. lol And I'd get along well with the boys because you know I always say I have a 5th grade boy living inside me. :)

    SASS: Not sure if I'm feelin' good but I'm sure feelin' my oats. :) And I use to have to take cod liver oil in my orange juice at pre-school. The taste will live forEVer.

    Lady Fi: I notice you Brits take the "p" off the end of the word and just call it "poo." I may like that better but it might make Winnie The Pooh a tad more dicey! :)

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  30. Yeah well, if you had grown up with the last name I had, you would never have used tinkle, believe me!

    The former Arlene Hinckle

  31. Arlene? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And you're RIGHT!

  32. And to think that folks asked me, upon my marriage, if I would hyphenate my last name. Hinckle-Steffen. Can you imagine? I mean, what WERE they thinking?

  33. This is so funny and well written! I went from grinning to chuckling out loud.

  34. Yes My Dear still have your amazing charm with words! I've missed them! My next two weeks I want nothing to do with ANY of the "chosen" words! I will disappear!

  35. I remember one time when I was a little girl and we were at a public park (I think???) anyway I had to pee. I went in search of a bathroom and came back about to bust and nearly in tears hopping up and down. I explained to my mom that I could not find a bathroom. The only thing I saw was a "Ladies Comfort Station"

    When I went to girl scout camp we called it "Tra La to the La La" and especially genteel and refined souther ladies, such as myself, will "Shake the Dew of my Lillie"

    But on a daily basis I just have to pee!


  36. I've been gone waaaay to long.
    To not be at Robynn's Ravings is to miss a treat from a very smart and clever writer....and you do it with such style, my friend! I laugh...and nod my head...and laugh...and there goes the head nod again...and think to myself what a wonderful job you do putting into words what we (or at least what "I" think!) Absolutely magnificent humor....and whatever we call it...Pee, Number One...Tee Tee...I'm with you: urinate 'ain't' it for a child! Nope....kind of like saying "masticate" for chewing....shouldn't be happening...nope!!
    You are so clever, Robynn. I've missed you very fault, though...none of your doing. I've been away doing the "Nana" daughter's first child was born. I know that all babies aren't beautiful...but I know that this one is (even if she looked liked a lizard, she would be beautiful to me!!!) Smiles and much love to a woman who makes me smile...inside and out.
    I'm glad I came...and I can't wait to come back.

  37. You are so funny. I've been "there" but couldn't write about it the way you did. Thanks for the chuckle.

  38. Just back to give you my love, dearest Robynn!!! XOXOXO

  39. When hubby excuses himself from my presence to "take care of business", he has always said, "Be right back!" About 2 years ago, one of my daughters bellowed, "Daddy, that's so old school! You can't text that! You have to say 'BRB'!" So, BRB it is in my house!

  40. We used the words "tinkle" and "pootie" with our kids. Tinkle is not bad but where did we ever get pootie?

  41. I actually had a conversation with my kids when they were about 12 or so about the different words you can use to describe what you need to do or did. I personally use pee and poo. It's simple and easy.

  42. BAHAHAHAHAH! Once more I tell myself you should write a book! You are a very good writer, Robynn!


  43. BAHAHAHAHAH! Once more I tell myself you should write a book! You are a very good writer, Robynn!


  44. So cute Robynn! I personally have always asked the kids if they need to go potty? And have used the words pee pee and poo poo! Shame on me I suppose! Whatever it is what it is!
    Love this. Love Di ♥

  45. I'm late to the potty... This is hysterical! Brought to mind a family anecdote: my niece, Caroline, still in diapers, was staying with my parents, and mom was on an errand, leaving the toddler with her delightfully spacy grandfather (my dad). When mom got home, she noticed that Caroline needed to be changed and probably had been in a dirty diaper for a while. So she questioned my dad: "Didn't Caroline tell you that she needed changing?" He thought a minute and said, "She did walk up to me and say 'I pooped,' but I just thought she was tired."

  46. This is a difficult subject. I mean, it's ALL gross, isn't it? No matter how much we pretty it up? Yet some words ("pee," "urinate") are particularly revolting. Ha!

  47. Just stopping by to read more of the hilarious comments, and to send you much, much love, Janine XO

  48. I'm a nurse and even at the hospital I say pee and poop. PEE PEE it's easy and it types just fine. You are so funny. The other day my friends came over with her 7 kids and every single one of them needed to poop while they were here. It involved 2 diapers and multiple wipes and much flushing. I knew she wanted to just die. I told her not to worry at least we know her kids are happy and relaxed at my house!

  49. So where's the follow-up to the follow-up? *Folding my arms, tapping my toes, waiting to read another Robynn masterpiece*

    Love you so much, dearest Robynn...And, oh, by the way, no pressure to post :-) ;-) Love you always, Janine XO

  50. That was a brilliant post.. and I say PEE...LOL

  51. Wonder if I can copyright a term like that? ROFL...Love
    PPC Advertising India

  52. Debbie: Thanks for coming by to laugh with us! :)

    Hey Mrs. Cowboy!!!!! You have been out of the blog saddle too long and I wanna know what's goin' on! So nice to see you!!

    Jientje: :D :D

    Robin: Ladies Comfort Station? Now that IS refined! But for our comfort shouldn't we have a lot more than a sink and toilet? And "tra la to the la la?" There needs to be a badge for MOST OBSCURE REFERENCE.

    Hey Ms. Pet :) - I'm right there with ya on the masticate thing. Who thought THAT up? So what's wrong with chewing? These nerdy science guys need to stay outta their labs at four in the morning.

    Hey Mary: Betcha could! :D

    Janine: You're crazy. ;-) XOXOX

    BZ: I have no idea what it means other than I think we all have to GO!

    Marjie! That's GREAT!! In the online gaming world (don't ask me how I know this......) they call it "bio (biological need) breaks." Who would think I was a gamer??!

    Debbie: Pootie? Now THAT IS a new one! Maybe from "Cutie Patootie?" Hmmmm......j

    Missie: Voice of reason!

    Linda: I thank you and I AM! :)

    Diana: YES! How DARE you call it what it is. :)

  53. Have I mentioned before that I love you?! Because if I wasn't sure, well, this post would have pushed me straight to love for sure. :-)

  54. My friend,
    Laugh out loud has now become "CACKLE".

  55. Now that I'm post-menopausal, I'm always doing a mad dash, and saying (out loud, in case someone doesn't realize that I don't "normally" run around knock-kneed, and think that I might have a physical deformity) I"M GOING TO THE LITTLE GIRLS!!!
    But then crap... that might make them feel that "they" have a hearing problem. Dammit, but some days you can't win for losin' it, eh?