June 08, 2011

Dear Delphi,

I went for a weekend to the Bahamas with a group of friends. One of the couples has a four-year-old who still poops in his pants. OK, I thought four was old to still be doing that, but it’s really not my concern. My concern is that she left the entire poop package, pants and all, for the maid to clean up. I was appalled; who does that? I think I should set her straight about poop etiquette, don’t you?

—Poop Etiquette in Piscataway

Dear Poop Etiquette in Piscataway,

I think you should without a doubt set her straight! Regardless of whether the four-year-old should be pooping in his pants, it is not OK to just leave it there for someone else to clean up. Tell her that nannies and maids should be treated as if they were part of the family—they take care of her children, for crying out loud. I believe it is the most important job you can perform for another person, and leaving them a poop package is simply not respectful. Ask her: Would she expect her mother, father, or younger brother to clean up a poopy-pants problem? Unless the person’s job description is poopy-pants-cleaner, vomit-mopper, and nose-blower, and that is all they have to do, and they accepted the job on those terms, and they get paid a tremendous amount of money to do it, no mother should be leaving that kind of cleanup for a employee. It is arrogant and disrespectful, just as it would be if you do not clean up after your dog on the sidewalk or in the park.

“If he was serious about coming back to you, why did he wait until she dumped him?”

It is not comparable to having the nanny change a baby’s diaper, because the poopy pants need to be handled like a radioactive biohazard, not simply thrown away. It is a much more unpleasant undertaking. So tell your friend to pull herself together and clean up her poopy child.

Dear Delphi,

I found out I am pregnant with my third child! Needless to say it was not planned. We can barely afford the two we already have. I am already suffocated by the enormous responsibility that comes with children. I almost never get time off, even though both of my children are already in school. I fear I may end up ignoring number three altogether or being mean because I cannot deal with everyone else’s needs anymore! Do you think I should abort for the child’s sake?

—Too Poor to Reproduce in Romania


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