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June 2, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

How to explain The Sewer

My son’s questions are starting to become more difficult to answer.  I’m not talking about the “Ask your dad how to put one on” kind of questions…we’re still a long way off from that.  These are more like the “well crap, I’ve never really thought about that, at least since I was in school” sort of questions. 

He asked me “where does the poop go when I flush?”  This should be a fairly simple question to answer.  Back when I used to have time to read, I read:

Just provide the child with a simple, one sentence answer.  After they process the information, which can take weeks or even months, they will ask you for further clarification, if so desired.

Well whoever came up with that drivel needs to be beaten with a plastic shovel.  I told him, “It goes into the pipes under the house.”  Simple.  Straightforward.  Not good enough.

“Does it stay in the pipes forever?”

“Yes.  Well, no.”

“Do the pipes explode if they get too full?  Where does the poop go, then?”

“It goes into the sewer.”

“Is that underground?”


Right under the ground?”

“Yes.  No.  I don’t know.”

“Well, where does it go after that?”

“The ocean.”

“Then where?  Then where?”

Later we were playing outside and he didn’t want to go on the grass.  He stayed on the deck and peered through the cracks.  “I think I see the sewer,” he said. 

“Go play on the grass,” I told him.

“I don’t want to fall in the sewer,” he said, very knowledgeably.

Argh!  I decided to draw him a picture to illustrate the sewer.  I sat him down, and I said “C’mere boy, we’re going to learn about the circle of life!  I mean, the circle of sewage!”

(Click for full enjoyment)


My husband looked at it and asked “Where is the water treatment facility?”

Next time, he can draw the picture.



Leave a Comment
  1. wpm1955 / Jun 7 2008 3:31 pm

    Most cities have a sewer department that offers free public tours. They are very interesting. Why not take your son on a tour to see for himself? I toured the Denver sewer plant when I was ten years old, as part of a school field trip.

    Best regards,
    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  2. christine / Jun 2 2008 8:39 pm


    Wait…is that stick figure actually pooping?

  3. Ian / Jun 2 2008 7:51 pm

    God, you drew an alligator in the sewer! Now you’re going to give the poor kid a complex. And when he’s thirty and in therapy, he’ll be able to point back to the day you told him there were alligators in the sewers and no water treatment plants.

    I love being a parent. So much joy to look forward to…


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