Kupa is Polish for “poo-poo”, and it’s pronounced, “koo-pa.” Siusiu is Polish for “wee-wee”, and it’s pronounced “shoo-shoo.”

When you’re nearly three years old, everything has a proper method. There is no gray area; there are no acts or activities that don’t have strict rules, regulations, and expectations.

Rituals abound, and often, the adults don’t even realize there is a ritual for this or that, let alone what the various elements of a given ritual are.

L’s morning rituals are set. We wake Her Highness up, and the first stop is the kitchen bar. We get out the milk; she opens it. We bring her the cocoa mix; she opens it. We pour the milk; she adds the cocoa. She stirs and tastes; we stir and taste. She closes the sippy cup; we check that it’s tightly screwed on.

Any violation of these sacrosanct rituals is troubling. Try to open the milk and L cries, “I do it! I do it!” Try to screw on the sippy cup lid before she has a chance and she cries, “I do it! I do it!” It has become so problematic that we introduced a ritual of our own: “L’s Magnificent Mornings.” It’s a sticker-bribery system, basically. It works, but it has only added one more ritual to our ritualistic lives.

Most of the rituals appear without warning. A new ceremony concerns entering the bathtub. It is not to be done at one end or the other, but precisely in the middle. Galaxies collide and gravity dissipates otherwise.

Occasionally, we get to watch a ritual being born. Slowly, it develops and moves from the status of “occasional addition to an existing activity” to full-blown sacrament.

This afternoon, I might have witnessed it.


20 sec, f/8.0, 55 mm

L came to me asking for help in the bathroom. This can only mean that baby wipes will be necessary. After L created her “awful smell” (as she once referred to it), I suggested that we flush it down.

“No, I need to siusiu,” she replied solemnly.

“Well, we can flush and then you can siusiu,” I suggested.

She shook her head. “No, no! Kupa needs to swim!”

I suggested that kupa might have more room in the big potty and she reluctantly agreed. If I were to place a wager on it, though, I suspect it won’t be the last time L tries to protect kupa‘s right to exercise.

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