I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


Like many children her age, my niece requires the attention of every adult within a 10-mile radius. It’s not co-dependence; it’s just that she wants someone to play with her because she doesn’t like to play by herself. It makes sense, even for a two-year-old.

Even though I enjoy playing with my niece, there are times when I need a bathroom break. Lucky for me, my mother is in the other room and can distract her while I take care of business.

In a matter of seconds, my niece finds me with her version of the Doppler radar. You can practically hear the beep beep sounds speeding up as she gets closer to her target.

“Uncle?” asks my niece on the other side of the door as she knocks. “UNCLE!!” she yells as she knocks even harder. Good thing the door is locked, I think, or else she’d be able to come into the bathroom.

What happens next is the knob starts to turn and I begin to panic. Shit, she’s coming in. When it turns all the way, she walks into the bathroom with a big smile on her face. I clench my muscles while sitting on the throne.

“Uncle!” She smiles and comes towards me. She’s such a pretty girl, but it’s unfortunate she doesn’t know anything about personal boundaries, yet.

“Hi, B. Go outside and wait for uncle.” I wave my arm towards the door for her to get the hint. “He’s almost done.”

As she walks towards me, I grab a hairbrush that’s sitting on the counter. “Here, take this brush and brush your hair outside.” I point towards the door with the hairbrush.

She walks towards me, grabs the brush and puts it back on the counter. Then, she takes a roll-on deodorant that’s sitting in a basket and begins to twist off the cap.

“No, don’t do that.” I lean forward to stop her, but she’s out of my reach. “That’s messy. No, no…” She doesn’t hear me. She unscrews the top and begins to roll it on her face.

“Hands?” she asks as she points the roll-on at my hands.

Oh, what the hell, I think. “Yes, hands.” I lay out my hands and she rolls deodorant on them. I bring them to my face and inhale deeply, hoping she’ll do the same.

Mmmm. They smell nice?” I ask her. She does the same hand-to-face motion and nods her head.

“Face?” she asks. Now, why would she want to do that? I think. Before I say anything, she’s rolling the deodorant on her cheeks and forehead. There’s a light film that’s reflective in the overhead light fixture. It resembles mucus.

Where the hell is my mother, and why isn’t she telling my niece to get out of the loo?

She brings the roll on to my face and I tell her to put some only on my cheeks. As she’s doing this, I’m pulling my pants up and my sweater down since they keep on falling down and shimmying up, respectively.

When she’s done, I swipe my fingers across my cheeks and smell them, hoping she’ll do the same. She doesn’t. Instead, she unexpectedly asks something I’m not waiting for.

“Bum?” There’s a Can I? smile on her face.

God, no. This is one of those times where your patience is gone and you want to pick up the roll-on and throw it away, but you can’t because you’re sitting on the throne.

“No, no bum,” I say, exasperated.

“Bum!” She gets excited as she begins to pull my pants down and my shirt up. I, on the other hand, am trying to push her away with one arm, twist my body around and down so she won’t see anything and pull my sweater down with my free hand. She’s stronger than I thought, and just as lithe as a Martha Graham-trained dancer.

“Leave uncle’s bum alone. Go, go and put some on uncle’s feet.” I wiggle my toes even though they’re barely seen under the fabric of my pants.

She bends over and rolls some deodorant on the top of my toes. The slimy substance is cold and makes my muscles tense up. After a few swipes, she’s disinterested, and goes back to my bum.

“Leave uncle alone and come into the kitchen,” says my mother. “Grandma has something here for you. Get out of there and let uncle finish his business.”

Finally, I think. What the hell took you so long?

As I’m pushing my niece’s head away with my hand and arm, I hear my mother coming closer, as evidenced by the thwacking of her slippers on the floor.

She walks into the loo and looks at us, disinterested and non-plussed. We’re in a tangle of limbs, with me half-naked and my niece attempting to roll deodorant on my bum.

“Come, B. Come with Grandma.” She practically pulls my niece out of the loo by the arm and gives me a look that doesn’t mean Sorry, but says You should’ve been quicker or else this wouldn’t have happened. When she closes the door behind her, I finish as fast as I possibly can, and wash up.

As much as I love my niece and enjoying playing with her, she has to learn that the loo is off-limits when it’s in use. And I have to learn to lock the door when I’m using it.

Note:  This is an unpublished piece, written several years ago (my niece is no longer a toddler).


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