The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Life - You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: [email protected] dick­in­

Dear Amy: I have won­der­ful in-laws. They don’t med­dle or crit­i­cize and are gen­er­ally cool peo­ple.

Af­ter the birth of our first child in March, they’ve come from out of state to stay with us a few times. How­ever, I have an is­sue that I re­ally have no idea how to ap­proach.

My father-in-law is get­ting on in years, and it seems he does not have the abil­ity to hit the toi­let re­li­ably when he uri­nates.

Amy, I un­der­stand that ag­ing comes with all its in­dig­ni­ties, but is it too much to ex­pect him to sit down to pee?

Ide­ally, he would re­al­ize the prob­lem and have the de­cency not to pee onto our bath­room floor.

Al­though I’m a woman, I also guess that there may be a whole host of un­der­ly­ing psy­chol­ogy stuff that happens when a man is no longer able to stand up to pee.

The bot­tom line is: I don’t have the time or en­ergy to be clean­ing up some­one else’s urine! Do­ing it for one hu­man is quite enough.

I’ve thought about pass­ing this off to my hus­band to han­dle, but I’m try­ing to stop avoiding con­flict as I’ve done in the past. Any ideas?

Pissed Mom

Dear Pissed: You seem to think that this is the right time for you to stand up and con­front some­one who is do­ing some­thing you don’t like.

Nope. This is the per­fect mo­ment to avoid con­flict.

Bring­ing this up to your “won­der­ful” father-in-law could prove deeply em­bar­rass­ing to him. Why would you choose to do this?

You have al­ready made the con­nec­tion that car­ing for an in­fant and an older per­son have some com­mon­al­i­ties. In both cases, clean­ing up af­ter some­one who doesn’t have to­tal con­trol over bod­ily func­tions can ac­tu­ally deepen your un­der­stand­ing of the hu­man con­di­tion. Yes, it is NO FUN to clean up urine. But yes, it can be done with com­pas­sion.

Here are your choices: You could ask your hus­band to speak to his father. (“Dad, we’ve no­ticed that you are miss­ing the toi­let. Is the light­ing in our bath­room bad for you?”).

You could also ask your hus­band to com­pas­sion­ately clean up af­ter his father. Of course, your hus­band should be on di­a­per patrol with the baby, along with you, but per­haps dur­ing the times your in-laws are with you, you could strike up a deal: “I’ve got the baby; you take gramps.”

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