Liquid Gold: Adventures in Pediatrics

Room "odorisor." I think that's British for "DE-odorizer." Available for 5 pounds sterling at, but we'll sell you some for less.


Yesterday, Mbot had his 3 1/2-year check up. The nurse brought in a small plastic container with a lid. “Let’s see if we can get a urine sample,” she said. Mbot’s first.

I felt like she had suggested I get a scraping from the back of a gila monster’s throat. But all four of us (Gbot and his ear infection, too) tromped into the small bathroom. And, while Gbot fell out of the bathroom (this can actually happen, when one succeeds in unlocking the door while one is leaning against it and is caught by surprise), Mbot achieved his goal.

I rescued Gbot and then screwed the lid on Mbot’s treasure. I held it up for him to see.

“Wow, that’s amazing!” he exclaimed. “Potty in a cup! Where shall we put this, Mom?”

We decided to bring it back into our exam room and place it on the high counter where we could admire it before the nurse took it away. It was a moment of glory for urine the world over.

I’m glad I didn’t have the video camera with me; it’s not the kind of thing you want to show the relatives a movie of on Thanksgiving twenty years from now. Because the beauty of it wasn’t in the urine sample itself, but in the wonder it evoked. I can’t remember ever being so impressed with my pee, except maybe after I’d eaten asparagus for the first time.

Pee. And the control and calculated distribution of that pee. The magic of realizing that you can direct the powers of nature into a cup. And the associated responsibilities of that power: where shall we put it? In a world ever more oppressed by drought, it’s an important observation, and a thought-provoking question.

Even if it is just pee. It’s amazing.

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