Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Patron Saint

Today on the way to the doctor's office, I heard an interesting bit on NPR. Evidently stores specializing in religious icons are experiencing a run on St. Joseph statues. This is said to be a bad omen for our economy, since St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of Real Estate. People bury him by their "For Sale" sign and hope and pray for a buyer. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6102267 See also http://www.catholic-forum.com/SAINTS/stj01002.htm

Patron Saint of Real Estate? I didn't know there was any such thing. But it got me thinking. I could use a few Patrons around here, the kind that don't mind being assigned to mundane or distasteful Sainthoods.

I'm talking Patron Saint of Potty-training.

Here's the general scene in our house: Sylvia, age 3, is mostly potty-trained. That is to say, she has a perfect record of potty performance at school. And a, shall we say, spotty record at home. Yesterday she just plain forgot that she's potty-trained, like the way you might forget, just for a moment, that it's your spouse's birthday. "Ohhhh, it's pee," she says, her eyes wide with surprise, as a dark, upside-down U takes shape on her pants. Or later, "here's the pee, Mama," taking my hand and leading me, quite proudly, to a large, green plastic container that is supposed to house legos. "I used it for my potty!" Sylvia looks at me like I should break into her reward: a super silly potty dance that we do together after successful pottying. "Um, Sylvia, that is not a potty. It is a lego container. This (taking her by the hand) is the potty." Sylvia regards the potty. The potty regards Sylvia. The introduction is complete, and Sylvia surveys the potty as if to acknowledge that they've already met, but with a certain shyness which expresses the fact that they haven't formed any sort of relationship. "We haven't bonded yet, Mama," she seems to think to herself; "we're just not ready for that next step, Mama."

Evidently Sylvia prefers square shaped potties. Or so we have inferred from the fact that Monday and Tuesday she peed while sitting at the dining room table in her booster chair. "Oops, there's pee in my chair," she says, without a hint of remorse.

The Patron Saint of Potty-Training should have a few features. First, and most importantly-- lest you accuse me of sacrilege-- is that it would remind the parents to pray. Second, it would be equipped with a timer and a reminder. At certain intervals, it would raise its head, and proclaim in a kind yet authoritative voice, "all children report to the toilet," or better yet, "Blessed are those who pee and poop in the toilet." Finally, the Saint would dispense treats to those who successfully completed the task. Here, I'm imagining a head that leans back so that the tongue can spit forth a nice goody a-la-Pez.

Next, I need a Patron Saint of Backaches. The web touts many saints, (http://www.catholic-forum.com/SAINTS/stj01002.htm), but the backache saint was conspicuously missing.

This week, for the first time in my life, I've been laid up with a backache. It started on Sunday, and worstened on Monday, September 18, which just happened to be our 13th wedding anniversary. Poor Hubby seemed to be destined to live out the "for worse" part of the vow he'd given me 13 years ago. He woke up late that morning, having not heard the alarm. He rushed upstairs, skipped shower, shave, and breakfast, brushed his teeth, and flew out the door to catch his vanpool. Then he got my call on his cellphone, which I made after discovering that I could not lift Eli out of his crib without causing tear-provoking pain to myself. Dutiful Hubby got to work, and promptly turned around and caught a bus "home," which didn't really take him home, but rather took him to a station, where he walked to another bus that really did take him home. When he got here he said, with far less drama that I would have mustered had I been in his shoes: "I need to eat some breakfast." So he's been home this week (Mon-Wed), taking care of the children and our house with little to no help from me. And with the potty-user-in-training living here, it has been quite lively around here. If it weren't my life, I'd have called it hilariously entertaining. I'm not even going to add the part about how Sylvia climbed out of her crib during naptime, tried to poop on the toilet, had trouble wiping, and enlisted Eleanor to "help" her clean up the bathroom. Let's just say that a whole lot of bathroom things ended up going right into the trash, despite my fervent recycling beliefs.

The Patron Saint for Backaches could be loaded with helpful features. First, a hot/cold option, so that the actual statue could be used as a heating or cooling device. Second, perhaps the Saint could be ergonomically shaped so that it could be rolled up into a towel to faciliate lumbar support. Finally-- and I know this is asking too much-- the Saint could have a treat dispenser just like his Potty-Training colleague, only this one would dispense Vicodin and Valium in times of need. No prescription would be needed; the Saint would truly know your need.

What other Patron Saints do we need? Hubby would like a Patron Saint of Table Manners, and a Patron Saint of Peaceful Naptimes.

And our last Saint speaks for itself: The Patron Saint of Not Squeezing Your Little Brother's Head Such That it Resembles a Ripe Tomato. Our family definitely needs that one.

However, all of this Saint-consuming runs afoul of the eco-friendly policies now in place at my house. So, maybe what we really need is a Patron Saint for All Seasons. This saint would come looking very plain, but you could decorate him/her depending on what Saint you wanted him/her to be, like a virtuous version of Mr. Potato-Head or Build a Bug. Maybe if the kids had more ownership in dressing up the Saint, they would respond better to its presence.

Or maybe, just maybe, we could offer up prayers on our own behalf, and leave the Patron Saints for those who really need them.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

I could definitely use a few of your Patron Saints, as well as the standard Patron Saint Joseph as our house has still not sold. We're referring to it as our "Summer House" which will bankrupt us if we still own it by next summer! Anyway, how about a Patron Saint of good grocery store and restaurant manners? Or possibly a Patron Saint of quiet voices? Either would be very welcome in my home.