Pick up The Gasman

Arlo, who will be three in November, insists on being picked up whenever he needs to fart. It’s unclear whether he’s simply hilarious beyond his years, or has painful gas, but given who his father is, and the lack of fiber in toast (his dietary staple), it’s probably both. The other day, my wife actually said to me, “Just pick him up, he has to fart” as if instead of a child, we were taking care of an exotic lizard that, due to a mishap of natural selection, was only able to relieve itself while in a state of simulated weightlessness. Lindsay and I are human fart thrones, standing by for the imminent arrival of our pre-school prince.

“Mother and Father, I’m sensing the advent of a gas calamity. Please assume the position.”

“Yes, right away your excellency. Would you prefer to pass wind on my left arm, right arm or hip today?”

“Left arm
No, right arm…
No, wait, right arm.
I mean the other left arm, whichever one that is.  I DON’T KNOW MY LEFT AND RIGHT YET!
Shift… and shift.
Yes, excellent.
all done. Ok, put me down, I wanna go hit my brother on the head with a whisk so he’ll cry and want you to pick HIM up. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m aiming for you both to need shoulder surgery before your 45th birthdays.”

Of course I know he feels icky and just wants to be held, but come on, is there no mystery left in our relationship? It’s a circus of farting and whisk abuse over here. I’m tempted to tell Arlo how hilarious it would be to fart on his older brother. It’s a natural and unavoidable stage for boys, so why not push it ahead a little bit and use it to our advantage. “Hey, instead of knocking down his Lego tower and throwing a shoe at his face, maybe you could fart on him. This way we only have to pick up one of you.” I’m sure this would backfire though. A body fart would undoubtedly elicit some violent retaliation from Silas, and we’d be back to holding both boys: the farter and the fartee.

As I see it, the only solution is to cure the gas. Attack the problem from it’s source, so to speak. I’m not exaggerating when I say it takes Arlo an hour to crap. There’s a 50-minute pre-crap period, which is highlighted by all the arm-cushioned farting, followed by 10 minutes of clandestine, back-to-the world, active crapping. We can’t give him Ex-Lax, even though I’m sure he’d love the taste. So, instead, I took him to Whole Foods to get some gummy fiber vitamins and, while there, also picked up a children’s herbal laxative made of prunes, figs, peach leaf (huh?) rhubarb root and magnesium. He wanted it because it had a happy looking brown bear on the front, which, unbeknownst to me, has become the mascot of blissfully effortless crapping (it’s why bears keep attacking us).

Now it’s a waiting game. Whether this hippie remedy will work is unknown, but in the meantime, I’m still wearing a long sleeve shirt as a fart guard. In case you’re curious, the word “fart” appeared 12 times in this post, accounting for 2.5% of the total words. I’m 40 years old.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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