So what do you call them? My primary years were spent in the south of England and they were definitely “Farts”. The upheaval north in my teens broadened my vocabulary to “Trumps”. My children were born and they became “Botty Boops”, still my favourite. My children started school and came home with “Bum Burps”, “Pumping” and “Popping”. I wonder how many regional variations I could come across up and down the country, or across the globe? Do other families, like mine, have their own pet names for them?
Farts, Trumps and Botty Boops are largely an intensely private thing unless you’re under the age of 5 or blogging about them. (Yes I am asking myself how on earth I came to be here!) My mum for example is intensely guarded about them. In all my years and I’m clocking them up now, I have never, ever heard her fart. For a woman who will happily parade about in her underwear and sunbathe topless I find this odd. I tease her about it and encourage my children to join in but she still denies ever even needing to fart. I think I am lucky that I haven’t grown up with some kind of complex about my inadequacies as a woman who definitely does need to fart! (Aha, perhaps that answers the why am I here question of earlier?)
I believe my mum must be some kind of Wonder Woman, dead or incredibly sneaky. We always had pets in the house as I grew up. Various cats and dogs…and always smelly ones. Looking back now I believe my mum was doing a Queen blaming the corgis stunt, time and time again, having perfected the silent but deadly approach to bottomly gas.
I admit to taking the same stance in my teaching years, surreptitiously delivering one near little Berty and rapidly walking away. Children delight in guessing “Who’s done it”, and bless their naive little cotton socks, not once was a finger pointed at Miss Smith. Don’t look so shocked, I bet there are teachers up and down the land using the same tactic. What are we meant to do? Berty’s mummy would soon be rapping on my door for a “Quick Word” if I was open about it, and holding on until break time just causes tummy ache, strange wiggling and wide-eyed looks of concentration. Heaven help you if you’ve kept it in for a while and then need to sneeze or cough, the next door class would think we’d got some trumpeters in. Better a regular, controlled and silent release.
At home I have a far more open approach to the matter, unless we’ve got guests of course. We have an ongoing family saying, if someone hears us farting we retort “It must be a mouse!”. Little Crumb aged 7 still delights in pointing a finger and saying, “Mummy, I know it was you!” If I’m having a good day we may have adopted a dog and after an egg and bean lunch a hippo, and on rare but wondrous occasions I swear we’ve had an elephant hiding in the house!
Children generally delight in all things bottom and Botty Boops provide, over our childhood years, hours of entertainment and for the evilly inclined, hours of torturing fun. My older brother, 5 years my senior, took delight on many occasions in pinning me down and sitting on my head to fart. Are you picturing the size difference, the gender inequality, the sheer injustice of it all? Oh yes, ha ha, I can laugh about it now!
It must be a family trait however, as here’s my first confession. I have been known to inflict a similar yet not quite so harsh treatment on my own children. My favourite attack after brewing up a good rumble and waiting for it to be imminent is to position myself by the door to ensure an easy win, (It’s good to promote extreme competitiveness in your children right?) and then prompt a race up the stairs with a, “Last one up the stairs is a rotten egg.” You can picture the rest?
We race up the stairs at high speed. I wait for full momentum to build up, thrust my arms out to each side so there’s no passing room and promptly stop. “I’ve got to stop I need to….” Their head height position from standing one or two steps below me is just perfect. Do they have time to stop and retreat? Not a chance! Am I a right meany? You betcha!
I have one more confession. I’m a qualified educator right? I admit to teaching my children the classic “Pull My Finger” trick. It never fails to tickle me. I loved it when they were little and they rejoiced with glee if it was a particularly triumphant trumpeting, “One to be proud of”. I loved the shared “Ohhhhh”s of disappointment when it didn’t quite make the crescendo we’d hoped for. Now they’re growing and a new kind of enjoyment is creeping in for me. Biscuit aged 9 is more and more aware of what behaviour is ‘socially acceptable’. The look on his face at times when he is feeling particularly grown up that screams, “I can’t believe my own mother is actually doing this”, is priceless! I’ve yet to reassure him that I won’t behave in such a way in the playground or at parents’ evening: although a cheeky 6-year-old remnant of me lurking inside somewhere would love to. What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors right?
So, pull my finger – Go on I dare you!
2012 © My Little 3 and Me