The Fine Line of Farts & Giggles

The good people over at AsapScience have finally dispelled an age-old question: Can You Outrun a Fart? This is life changing information, for myriad reasons. But it raises a related issue for me as a mom. How and when do you get kids to understand the fine line between farts being funny and farts being gross and inappropriate? 

Last night just before bedtime my kids were “letting loose” and giggling the entire time. It was sort of a fart off if you will and boy were those jokers potent.  If they weren’t my own children I really would have thrown up in my mouth a little. But instead, I found their laughter contagious and didn’t give it too much thought.

We’re at the stage, at least with my little one, where passing gas is a hoot (and very stinky, which makes it even more funny) but pretty soon, one of them is going to do it in public, and think it’s funny, and it won’t be.

Nothing is worse than when you smell someone else’s fart. How many times have you been on an airplane or in an elevator when bam, someone let’s it go? You want to tear your nose off, cry or scream but instead, you suffer in silence (for the most part) because what else can you do? And yet when it’s your own fart or a loved ones, you tolerate it more easily, perhaps even laugh along with the loved one through the stench.

I want to help the kids understand that while everyone passes gas and it’s a normal body function, it’s still something that is a potty related issue and therefore reserved for them, privately. But how do I help them learn this when someone decides to just let it go in an elevator, airplane, or another well populated place? How do I help them take it more serious and learn time and place when there seems to be so many adults that don’t know as much? 

Getting this message to stick has been a bit of a challenge–when they’re laughing nonstop over the funky air that just left their little bodies, it’s hard to take anything too serious. And I guess it doesn’t help much that when they do it at home, I’m right there along with them smiling and laughing.

Perhaps adults are the ones that need to reconsider all of this. Perhaps we should all find a way to laugh a bit more, even when there’s a gross smelling fart from a stranger. We should take a cue from the little ones–speak up and acknowledge the elephart, make that elephant, in the room. Since we can’t outrun farts, we should own them and let laughter lead everyone off the ledge and make the feeling of wanting to throw up subside a bit.

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