The Potty Whisperer

I have always lived with the security that if everything were to suddenly fall apart around me at least I can say that I’ve never been forced by my parents to use a portable potty while riding the Number 2 train. Sadly, this child will never have that comfort to fall back on. His mother, Corie Feiner, a self-described “poet & performer” living on the Upper West Side, has made sure of it.

Her new blog, Diaper Free Adventures, documents her and her husband’s decision to practice elimination communication, or EC. A quick trip — and really, I wouldn’t encourage a longer one — to the EC mother ship at Diaper Free Baby instructs that this, um, movement, which is known to some as “potty whispering,” is “based on the knowledge that babies have bladder and sphincter control from birth.” As Corie further explains in her second entry: “The general idea of EC is the beleif [sic] that all babies are born with the knowledge of their elimiation [sic] needs. It is up to us to pay attention to them… and take them to some sort of potty when they need to go.”

Now, before I dive into the disturbing specifics of Mrs. Feiner’s blog entries, you have to understand that the posts on Diaper Free Adventures are coming from the type of person who, yes, refers to herself as a “poet & performer,” and I urge you to watch the “poetry jukebox” found in the multimedia section of her website to see what she means by that. More important, she is someone who rationalizes encouraging her child to run around New York City sans diaper this way: “The ability to not care what anyone thinks [is] key!”

She’s not kidding. In her first substantial post, we learn that Mrs. Feiner totes around the aforementioned portable potty whenever she and her boy, Michael, head out into the world. This recently included a stop-off at the public bathroom at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, where she washed the “bright red potty in the sink.” Corie braced herself when a woman walked in and saw her soiling a public receptacle with her child’s urine and/or feces. “I had just been given strange looks by another mother earlier that day,” she writes, “when my son made loud farting sounds and went caci under a tree by turtle pond so I was prepared for another look or even slight scolding.” [Italics mine.] (“Caci” is of course the cutesy term she uses to refer to her kid’s poo; she also uses the Hebrew expression “yofi!”, meaning “great!”, whenever her infant does a bang-up job on the potty.) But instead of chastising Mrs. Feiner for treating the sink of a public restroom as if it were a Huggies, the other woman, also a mother of a newborn, wants to learn more about EC; the two carefree souls move on to a discussion of how a parent can tell when her baby has to take a dump. According to Diaper Free Adventures, signs that it’s shittin’ time are true stumpers: “red face,” “grunting,” and “sudden annoyance.”

Capping off her charge into the blogosphere, Corie cuts to the present tense to announce that her son is “squirming on my lap.” Here’s what happens next:

“He is only wearing a cute blue t-shirt that says, ‘Airplane’ and the rest of him is, yep, bare. I said in a sing-song voice, ‘Do you have a pee-pee?’ He smiled with his toothless mouth and laughed. It was irresistable. I asked the same question again, ‘Do you have a pee-pee?’ … I got so involved in the joke that I forgot I was actually asking a serious question, and so after doing this a few times, I said, ‘OK, I am gong back to my blog.'”

A second later, she felt a warm wet patch form on her leg.

“I looked down at him and asked, ‘Did you have a pee-pee?’ To which he cracked up! I can’t believe the sense of humor this kid has. I said, ‘Oh! A pee-pee!’ in a duh sort of voice and picked up his potty from the floor. I made the sound, ‘Psssss…’ and he finished his pee-pee there. ‘Yofi!’ I said with glee.”

Yofi, indeed.

Before we move on, how about a palate cleanser? Diaper Free Baby presents a list of 75 supposed benefits of elimination communication. The two that stick out fall under the subheading “EC can be fun because it…”:

28. Impresses and amazes other people.
29. Provides more opportunities to play in the mirror in the bathroom.

Well, at least they’re onto something with that “amazes” shit.

Corie also gets off scot free in her second adventure, “Subway Potty Time.” She and Michael are heading to Brooklyn on their weekly one-hour commute to — ta da! — the Park Slope Food Coop. As they’re riding, you guessed it, the No. 2 train, she suspects that her son has to take a leak. (Sadly, the No. 1 train doesn’t run to Brooklyn.) Even though the child is wearing a diaper — “diaper free” is apparently loose terminology — she remains true to her decision to inconvenience and disgust others by stripping Michael’s lower quarters bare, whipping out his trusty portable potty, and encouraging him to whizz under the flourescent lighting of a public subway car. “I later told my hudband [sic] that in New York you have to rely on the fact that many people are too self-absorbed to notice you,” she writes. “Even if your 5 month old son is peeing in a bright red potty just a few feet away!”

Are you too self-absorbed to handle one more entry? Her latest dispatch is, entitled, simply, “Poop,” and begins “Beleive [sic] it or not, my son has pooped in his diaper only once in the past few months.” (Lady, we believe it. You’re the proprietress of a blog called Diaper Free Adventures!) She then reminisces about the spring road trip to Toronto she took with her hubby and child, and whines about the inconvenience of practicing EC on a long drive. “We were doing great catching his caci’s [sic],” she writes, “but it was taking us WAY too long to get to Toronto! The next time we had to stop, my husband just pulled over to the side of the road where there was a nice grassy shoulder and although it was a little cool outside, I held my son over the grass and let him go there.” Translation: She let her son take a shit on the side of the road and then didn’t clean it up. “Since this was near the beginning of Michael’s life,” she continues, “going caci was still a bit of a strain for him. Each time he had to go, he grunted and then yelled before pushing it out.” (Well, if that doesn’t describe my daily life, I don’t know what does.) She finishes the post in a predictably self-congratulatory way: “This was the beginning of us getting looks for practicing EC. This was also the beginning of me learning to smile when people stared at us.”

Keep smiling, dumb-ass.

The Tigers have won 10 of 12 but have gained only one damn game on the Yankees during that span, primarily due to the incompetence of the Red Sox over this past weekend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fuck the Yankees.