Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nana Poopy!

Two-year-old toe head, Noah holds the back of his yellow toy dump truck at the top of the driveway. He has plans to push it down the hill, crashing the metal and plastic into the bumper of my car or flipping over the ridge between the cement and grass, but the boy accidently lets the truck go and it rolls out of his reach. Blimpy baby legs become a peach-colored blur as the boy goes into a full fledged high speed chase. With the hill's momentum and the help of four wheels, the truck manages to escape the clomping froggy rain boots of the proportionally enormous toddler (juxtaposed against the truck's size) for the entire journey down the hill until the truck suddenly hits the rough terrain of the grass and slows down. When he reaches it, Noah grabs the cab of the toy truck with both dimpled hands and shoves his face into the driver’s side window and scolds, “Nana poopy guy in there!” 

"Nana poopy" is the choice curse of the children I nanny for. It is a phrase taken from a sing songy tease that would be written phonetically as "naaanah poooopeee". The twin two year olds, Noah and Willy, learned it from their six-year-old brother, Johnny. The phrase appeared a few months ago and despite my attempts to ignore it or punish them for it, I could not and still cannot rid them of this cuss. 

“Nana Poopy Rachel!” Noah yells from the confines of his crib after I return him to behind the white wooden bars. Seconds before, when their broken chatter had turned to commotion, I walked into their bedroom to discover that Noah and Willy are no longer in their cribs. Noah is in the closet and Willy is jumping inside Noah's crib. Both boys are laughing when I walk in, but the shrill shocked voice flying from my mouth silences them.

"What are you doiiiing?!" 

The words nearly echo. This makes Willy cry, but Noah just scowls, angry that I have ruined their ruckus time. Once I place both boys in their designated beds, I close their bedroom door. As I do, Noah yells, 

"NANA POOPY RACHEL!" Then there is a slight pause before Willy whispers, 

“Nanna poopy, Rachel.” 

Every muscle in my body tenses with incredible rigidity. My morning’s caffeine has now completely evaporated from my bloodstream and, having been watching these two busy boys since 6:45 in the morning, by 2:30pm, I am utterly exhausted. As I land in the middle of the red cushy couch of the living room, Willy's muffled words reach my ears and I can’t stop myself from wailing,  

“NANA POOPY TO YOU, WILLY! NANA POOOPY TO YOU, NOAH!” The phrase had been itching to leave my vocal chords all day. It doesn't feel as good as I had envisioned. Instead I feel mildly humiliated. I cover my eyes with my hands and crash myself into the pile of pillows beside me.  There is a short moment of quiet before giggles and mattress creaking returns to the warm sound waves that separate us, and then, 

"Rachey mad." 

"I know." 

I feel horrible, but then I hear Noah say, "Willy, Willy look at me."  


"Look at me, Noah!" 

They have already forgotten that Rachey is mad. Slightly relieved, I decide that all I can do now is wait for them to tire themselves out and fall asleep. 

I must have history with nana poopy for it tickles my nerves so furiously. One day, Noah will not stop saying it. He says it to his toys, his brothers, to me, his bicycle, to nearly everything and everyone he comes into contact with.  Before we leave for town that morning, he sits in his car seat, saying it again and again and again and again while I buckle Willy in.  At this point, after two and a half -nana poopy- hours, I have reached the fraying end of my wits. I try to tell him nicely not to say it. When that doesn't work, I explain simply that it is not a nice thing to say. By this time, I have already tried ignoring the nanas and the poopies. I have tried time outs for every mention of nana or poopy, but to no avail, NOTHING WORKS. Hunched halfway into the car, I decide on a new approach, but as soon as I start spewing my explanation to the little boy, I know that what I am saying is far more than he can completely comprehend. I say it anyway. 

“Noah, if you say nana poopy one more time, I am going to tell momma when she gets home from work and she is not going to be happy with you and if everyone gets ice cream after supper tonight, you are not going to get ice cream. So don’t say it, Noah. Don’t say—“ 

“Nana poopy ice cream.” He whines with intuitive rebellion. 

I nearly laugh I am so angry, but instead I growl slightly and the boys repeat my sound as I close the car door. I do a little dance in the driveway to let off steam. After a few heavy breaths and some counting, I climb into the car and drive the three of us to town for some fresh air, playground play and an enormously potent cup of coffee.