More signs my daughter is getting older

Welcome to the age of potty humor

There are moments that show your child has grown from one phase of her life into the next. Sometimes you wish those moments could be a little more elegant.

There are the obvious signs: When she first rolled over, took her first steps, got on the school bus for the first time, performed in her first violin recital – I felt a sense of pride when these things happened, but I also knew that it meant she was growing just a bit older.

Yet none of these things illustrated she was growing up more than when we stopped in at Buffalo Wild Wings for some food one night after hockey practice.

An ongoing restaurant-wide trivia contest takes place there, and patrons can take part via a hand-held device that records your name and responses and displays them on several high-definition TVs throughout the facility. My daughter took control of one of the devices, and our friends' son Tyler worked the other. Katie typed away on it, entering her name. After a minute she leaned back, gazed up at me with those innocent eyes and turned the screen so I could see it.

Her name – the tag by which everyone in the restaurant would identify her? “FARTO.”

I laughed. Her mother, on the other hand, wasn't quite as enchanted as I was, which always makes it funnier.

Believe it or not, I thought it was a great example of her smart sense of humor. She knew it would be funny, she knew it would be edgy because everyone in the place would see it, and she knew it would set me off into hysterics. She was right on all counts. And in that moment I saw that she had grown a bit more – mainly because potty humor becomes the gold standard of what's funny right around fifth grade. Or when you're 45.

Parental note my wife forced me to add: She was “encouraged” to choose another name.

I soon learned this wasn't a passing phase, however. Not yet, anyway.

A few days later she went with those same friends to a play at the middle school. I had no doubt she'd behave, but I was a little surprised that she would regale them with thoughts of reincarnation. Our friends reported this back to us.

“She told us if she can come back as anything, she wants to come back as a pigeon,” I was told.
An odd choice, sure. But it all made sense as she revealed her reasoning.

“She wants to be a pigeon so she can poop anywhere she wants.”

There's the Katie we know.

“We asked her if it would be preferable to be a hawk or an eagle so she could have cool talons and be regal.”

Of course not.

“She told us that if she had large talons the old women in the park wouldn't feed her, and she'd really like it if they did.”

This is who we are – there's me, who will laugh at most anything, the 10-year-old girl who goes out of her way to make anything humorous and the straight man (or woman, in this case) who cheerfully puts up with both of us. This mixture of personalities seems to work well, if only because between the three of us we seem to laugh quite a bit.

Bill Burke is a red-faced writer living in southern New Hampshire with his wife and the class clown.

Categories: Dad on Board