It is my ultimate desire as a parent to provide an environment of peace in my home. As the craziness of the Christmas holiday descends upon us, the mama in me wants to ensure that my children are at ease. But how do we know our kids are truly happy? One might think happiness equals lots of friends, a bright smile on their faces when they get a special gift or the intense way they focus on a new book.
Truthfully, I have complete confirmation that my children are at peace when they pass gas. Laugh at me, or even cringe, but when I check on the kids at night and they pass gas as I tuck them in, my heart leaps knowing they are at such comfort, every part of their being is loosey-goosey and feeling good.
I was in a yoga class years ago and mat-to-mat with the yogis and yoginis around me left no room for sneaking out a quick toot. When most of the class chuckled at a random rippling sound, the instructor corrected us with an eye awakening observation:
“Don’t laugh! It is great that you are flatulating. It means your body is truly releasing. Good for you!”
When the kids were infants, we would cheer when they burped and praised them when they pooped. Are we crazy to take joy in these bodily functions? I suspect not because as soon as I realized that I took delight in hearing them break wind, I started to observe other parents in action and they, too, celebrated.
Brad Pitt said in an interview: “You know, you can write a book, you can make a movie, you can draw, paint a painting but having kids is really the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever taken on. And, man, if I can get a burp out of that [baby], that little thing, I’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment.”
In fact, the entire digestive system, aka the gut, is intriguing as the “second brain” – it has been linked to mental health and emotional well-being.
Think of the old “butterflies in the stomach” saying. The enteric nervous system (the nervous system of the GI tract) uses more than 30 neurotransmitters just like the brain and 95 percent of serotonin in a person’s body is found in the bowels.
One day, that cute little toot will turn into a violation of social etiquette, but I imagine that even when my kids are teenagers, I will take some joy in knowing they are tucked in bed and cutting the cheese. Now, off to distribute our daily probiotic.
This article originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on November 30, 2017.