I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 26, 2012
Yet another item on the long list of Things They Don’t Tell You About Parenting involves… and there’s no easy way to say it…
Before I had children, I had no idea that kid farts would insidiously weave themselves into the tapestry of our family history right along with birthdays, family vacations, and the many milestones of childhood. To this day, I can recall the progression of sounds and smells associated with my children’s farts from their infancy all the way to the present. And I’m not the only one– Just as a mother can pick out her own child’s voice in a crowd of children, so can she identify her kid based solely on the smell of his fart.
Yes, it’s disgusting. BUT IT’S ALSO TRUE.
Not only that, a mom can also tell by that smell whether her child needs to go to the bathroom and whether he’s sick or constipated. And this is no useless party trick– Thanks to my “seventh sense,” I generally know that it’s time for a potty break even before my kids do.
“Start looking for an exit with a clean restroom,” I’ve said to my husband on countless car trips, shortly after looking up from my magazine and sniffing the air suspiciously.
“Do you need to go?” he’ll ask.
“No,” I’ll say. “But Bruiser will in about five minutes.” Hubs wrinkles his nose as the smell hits him.
“And we might as well get some drinks while we’re stopped, too,” I continue, putting my magazine away. “It’s gonna be a big one.”
As my children have gotten older, they’ve gotten better about heading to the bathroom at the first or second gaseous emission- When they were younger, they typically waited an inordinate amount of time before pooping, thus filling the room with fumes so noxious that our pet goldfish once inhaled a fart-filled air bubble and floated belly up in the water for two hours before reviving.
But at the ages of five and eight, they still haven’t yet learned the fine art of fart coverage. Instead, when air wants to make its way out of their intestines, they help it leave their little bodies with gusto– and the resulting noise can sometimes be heard two houses away.
It’s safe to say that kid farts are the drum section in the soundtrack of my life.
I am starting to see some progression in the fart-hiding department, though — Recently, Bruiser has created an imaginary friend, who apparently has no role in my son’s fantasy world other than “designated farter.”
“ZACK did that!!” my son announces each time he lets one rip. “That were ZACK!”
Occasionally, Zack is unavailable, forcing Bruiser to place the blame elsewhere.
“That were Daddy!” he’ll shout. “Daddy pooted!”
“Daddy is at work,” I’ll say drily. Bruiser will pause for a moment, thinking hard about how to get around this unexpected complication.
“Daddy is SO LOUD!” he’ll crow triumphantly. “You can hear his poots all the way FROM WORK!”
Punky has an altogether different approach. She passes gas without shame, then pretends as if nothing happened.
“What is everyone laughing about?” she’ll say after a particularly ear-shattering poot. She’ll frown at each of us. “I didn’t hear anything,” she concludes, returning to her book.
I’ve opted not to say anything to my kids just yet about whether the noises resulting from their bodily functions are impolite. As far as gas is concerned, better out than in, right? I don’t like to think of them trying not to pass gas and suffering stomach pains as a result.
But at Starbucks a few nights ago, I wondered about the wisdom of my logic. Punky and I visit our Starbucks one night a week for a little reading time together. On that particular evening, we sat in our favorite leather armchairs side by side and read our books in companionable silence. The tables around us were filled with adults quietly working on their computers and students studying for finals.
Suddenly, I heard what could have been a Guinness World Record contender for the loudest, longest fart on earth. My eyes widened and I surreptitiously glanced over at Punky. She continued reading, unperturbed. As I was watching her, it happened again, magnified by the leather cushion on which she was seated. People looked up and around at each other, startled. Punky casually turned a page in her book. I could hear giggling around me, and that that point, my mother’s instinct kicked in. I did what I had to do in order to protect my child.
I looked over at a man seated a few feet away with his back to us, wrinkled my nose and fanned my face with my book.
Once I was satisfied that blame had been assigned, I sat back in my chair and sneaked another glance at Punky. She was still staring down at her book, but now there was a small smile on her face.
I like to think that in that moment, she knew without a doubt that a mother’s love truly knows no bounds…
…even when it comes to farting.
Image via iamtheo/Flickr
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At our house we have a euphemism for farting. We call it “honking for clearance.” It’s a safety procedure on construction sites. Before backing up any large vehicle, the driver has to honk and warn everyone. Hence, the very appropriate reference.
And it was probably funnier before I overexplained it.
Nope. Still hilarious!
Oh, my goodness! I’m glad my boss isn’t in yet, so I don’t have to try to explain why I’m laughing so hard I got the hiccups.
Farts are funny – they always were, they always will be! You know it was meant to be when you can fart in front of your future husband
I still can’t!
I’m surprised having children didn’t change that for you. My body became totally unpredictable when pregnant and shortly there after. I think I spent the first 6 months of pregnancy blushing around my husband and then I got over it.
Farts are traditional in my family too. Every year on Father’s Day, my husband receives a card about farts from our two sons. They comb the racks weeks ahead of time to find just the right card–musical is best!
See, I didn’t know there were lots of fart cards to choose from. Until today. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Fart cards are usually not in great supply. Shop early. It’s hilarious watching my teenage sons stand in a card shop and seriously discuss the merit of one adolescent male humor card over another. I should sell tickets.
In desperation, some years they’ve altered a non-fart card to say just how they feel about their dad. Brings tears to my eyes (as do the farts).
Oh dear lord, fart has been a part of my everyday life…for my entire life! I grew up with three brothers and then married a man who has quite the active digestive system.
I lost all farting shame in front of my husband on our first official boyfriend/girlfriend date. We were having a nice romantic moment under the stars at a scenic overlook…and I farted. It, like, echoed it was so loud! I was so embarrassed. I didn’t say anything. Then he said “Did you just fart?” and I had to admit “Yeah…” And then he pushed out a fart to make me feel better. 🙂
That is an AWESOME story!
Punky’s response (or lack thereof) if my favorite! Go Punky! And go Mom for the distraction!
It’s definitely hard to keep a straight face when it happens!
One of the memories from my wedding is my 2 yr old cousin announcing his fart. Now my son who is almost 3 is starting to announce his farts. Its funny the things that no longer embarrass you anymore as a parent.
My mother will be appalled that I’m admitting this on the internet, but my family views farting as a competitive contact sport. Reunions can be quite entertaining as a result.
love this post!!! my 2 year old is usually like bruiser and blames it away, even if that person isn’t around….but sometimes she feels its a good enough fart that she wants credit and she claims it proudly…in fact, she has recently started claiming some farts that are NOT hers! she is very unpredictable when it comes to fart ownership!
A wise old lady once told me, I’d rather bear the shame than the pain. Farting is funny (most of the time in our house) and amongst some of my friends. Yes I am a mom in late 30’s but that is an area I don’t know if I will ever grow up. I can’t especially with how gassy my daughter is. She’s a one man band.
My 7 year old says that farts are a sign of joy. He, his brothers, and his FATHER are the most joyful people I know.
I will always rue the day 20+ years ago, when my then-boyfriend-now-husband farted. I laughed. Had I appeared shocked, disgusted, or offended, maybe I wouldn’t be deluged with farts for the rest of my LIFE.
Oh this had me laughing so hard! I can tell in a crowded room whether the fart belongs to my husband or my son. And they still giggle when they fart – they never grow out of it!
[…] when I was “the second wife” and “the stepmom.” And I ended the month with a diatribe on gas. The intestinal kind. Clearly, the White House visit made a serious impression on […]
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