Dignity Free Zone

Just a few days after my son was born, I was in my kitchen, having survived another sleepless night. I was a terrified, elated, clueless new mother. I held the coffee pot under the faucet and turned it on. I was so looking forward to a cup of good coffee, not that hospital crap. As the pot filled, I leaned over the counter, looking out the window at the sunny April day, at the white cotton ball blossoms on my cherry tree.

The day I got home from the hospital. The coffee pot incident was the next day

The day I got home from the hospital. The coffee pot incident was the next day

And then I felt it, the trickle down my leg. At first I thought I was bleeding. But unfortunately that was not the case.  The sound of the running water had combined with my beat up birth body to produce a perfect urinary storm. By the time I figured out what was happening, it was too late to do anything but stand there and finish peeing on my kitchen floor as my coffee pot overflowed.

That is when I realized that when a baby leaves your body, so does your dignity. Eight years later it has yet to return. Sure, my body recovered, but babies turn into children. And they ensure that ‘dignity recovery’ is impossible.  My son has patted my stomach and asked me if I’m having a baby, has touched my hair and proclaimed it the consistency of hay, recommending I buy that cream he saw on tv so people would want to touch it. Just this week when I walked by him, he patted my butt and said, “You have a nice, big heiney, Mama.”

It could be worse. I could be my husband.

The poor man is constantly mistaken for our children’s grandfather. He does not look old. But he has a bushy grey beard. One time we were in the mountains and he was sitting on the front porch with our kids when some hikers came by and said, “Enjoying the grand kids this weekend?”

Pa and the kids

Pa and the kids

Another time, our daughter had a two year old meltdown during a weekend breakfast out, so my husband took her outside to cool down. As he was carrying her to the parking lot, a couple walked by and one of them said, “Take it easy on her Grandpa!” We laugh and cringe over these stories and I credit my husband for refusing to buy ‘Just for Men‘ to cover up all that grey.

The best dignity-stealing moment is one I never saw. I was merely an aural witness. My husband and I had been gardening with our kids, who were  two and four at the time. I went in the house first so I could  shower, and when they came in, a head-to-toe muddied mess, he offered to put them in the shower with him.

For me, the beardier the better

For me, the beardier the better

I was delighted. I sat on the couch and picked up a magazine, something I never got to do in the middle of the day. 

As I  flicked through the pages, I heard some rumblings coming from the cracked bathroom door. I didn’t think anything of it. Our house was constant toddler cacaphony. Then I heard my husband telling them “No” pretty loudly. Then more scuffling. Then a lot of muffled talk followed by another, louder ‘No!” I turned the page and smiled. He was a braver man than me. I would never get in the shower with two toddlers.

And at just about that time  he yelled, “Alright! The next one of you that touches my penis is getting a time out!”

Way to tell ’em, Grandpa.

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17 comments on “Dignity Free Zone
  1. Lindsey says:

    This could be a written from our house! Do you remember getting to pee with the door closed? Love it.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Oh Lindsey, those were the days weren’t they? The bad thing for me is that when I go to anyone’s house as a guest, I almost always leave the door cracked when I sit down to pee! I horrify myself, that I’ve forgotten that in polite society, one closes doors when one uses the bathroom.

  2. Lea-Anne Jackson says:

    Kenny Hamilton is a good man. Yes I’m stating the obvious. Btw, my husband also gets mistaken for our kid’s grandfather. First time it happened it was one of Ava’s kindergarten classmates who said, “Are you Ava’s granddad?”

  3. Kyle Teichow says:

    When my daughter was in 1st grade, one of her classmates asked me if I was Molly’s grandma. Oof!

    Love the post!

  4. Love, love, love your articles. Thanks for sharing Jaye! I am still laughing…

  5. David Ries says:

    My wife and I have been called grandma and grandpa more than once. It’s aggravating, but then we remember how blessed we were to have our precious daughter later in life.
    Besides, my cousin, who married at 48, said I’ll have a great seat for our daughter’s graduation because “they always put the wheelchairs in the front.”
    So there’s that.

  6. David Ries says:

    Oh yeah, it can also be used as a teaching tool. A couple of years ago, I told my daughter my age and her age and asked her how many years are between them. After a brief pause, she whined, “I can’t count that high…..”

  7. Sarah Smith says:

    Love it, Jaye! My husband and I can relate.

  8. Will Stark says:

    wow…one of those topics I wouldn’t touch with a ten…..no no scratch that….no no….I won’t comment on.

    but as for being called Katie’s grandfather, I get that all the time. I just smile and say “yep” which embarrasses Katie and…..my work is done.

  9. Jill Becker says:

    Dignity …Schmignity….I’ll take the kitchen episode, the shower episode and being identified as Jude and Iris’s grandparents ( which we have been at least a dozen times) anyday. I love my kids, and your sweet family. I’ll just watch where I step next time we visit. Great blog, as always!

  10. Terry Terrell says:

    Thi nice thing about dignity is, at least from the perspective of the kids themselves, it doesn’t really matter.

  11. Kim Schulman says:

    That’s awesome. And so typical of kids!

  12. Brad Johnson says:

    Did your littles ever want to use dad’s awesome long beard for pull ups? I too have a long beard and there is nothing like calling for help to untangle the tiny hands of steel from the beard…

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Brad, you must have quite an impressive beard. We’ve never tried that. I will mention to the kids. I’m not sure my husband will thank you.

  13. Valerie Hoff says:

    Were you the one who left a puddle on the Breakroom floor at work?

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