Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poop, puke and tears

Warning: If you are squeamish or pregnant with your first child or have just had your first child, please, I'm begging you, don't read this post. I don't want to be responsible for you curling up in the fetal position and chanting in a corner.

The one thing no one ever tells you about becoming a parent is just how much your life will revolve around poop. The obsession begins the day they're born or, in my case, the minute they are born as my son actually pooped on me as soon as my husband placed him on my chest. We came home from the birth center three years ago with a baby and a handout that showed us just what our newborn son's poop should look like in his first few days. We were instructed to record the number of wet diapers and the number and appearance of each poopy diaper for the first several days. We dutifully complied and have a neat little record of his first poops.

Three years later, we're still paying attention daily (and it's no longer the novelty that it was in those first days).

When my poor husband returns from work, he gets the poop report. How many poops, where they landed, which one has pooped, which one hasn't. We ask each other, when was the last time this one or that pooped? did you see that last one? what the hell has that child been eating? You'll give the poops little nicknames like sweet poo-tato and raisin poop and, our personal least favorite, Nana poop (the phenomenon by which the child returns from Nana's house and has rather interesting and copious poop ... even if he ate essentially the same foods there as he did at home).

Whether it's safe to leave the house will depend on how long it's been since your child has pooped, especially in the midst of potty training. Of course, the minute you decide to chance it, thinking "Eh, what's the worst that can happen?", your child will poop en route, usually entailing an entire change of clothes and possibly a bath.

You'll become a poop chemist, crafting their diet to get the desired output at the correct frequency and it'll take years to get the right mix. In desperation, you will begin explaining the digestive system to your toddler in hopes that the extra knowledge will fascinate him enough to spur cooperation. (He is interested and can explain to you at least half of the digestive process before insisting that his food goes into his toes.) You will describe foods to him based on whether they help or hurt the poopy - apples and broccoli, good; too much cheese, bad, very, very bad.

You'll become an expert at translating body language and even actual language. For instance, we've learned recently that "I'm tired" coming from our  3 year old really means that he has to poop but is holding us hostage, I mean, holding it in. And for the past three weeks, Thursday has been our day around here. In fact, I think that I'll just rename the fifth day of the week Poopday.

I spent most of today coaxing poop from a little boy who has decided that holding it in for almost a week (seriously people, A WEEK) is the way to go. (and, yes, I know that in 10 years he will be mortified that there is a semi-permanent record of his poop drama on the Internet .... but you know what? after what this kid has put me through the past few months, I somehow feel justified.) Today brought four marathon poop sessions, one bout of puking (me) and a whole lot of tears (me again). And the situation was complicated by a one-year-old absolutely hell bent on unraveling the toilet paper and getting her hands in the toilet. So, I sat on the floor in the bathroom much of today trying to shield the baby from the toilet and keep the pooper on task, reading book after book and wondering if other mothers have the same issues or if I was just making this unnecessarily difficult by insisting that he use the toilet. All the while I taunted God to "please, oh, please do make this more unpleasant and difficult because you haven't quite outdone yourself yet. Really." Something about being six months pregnant, exhausted and having an entire day revolve around poop just sent me completely over the edge.

From now on, I'm just going to have to just suit up on Poopday with rubber gloves, a nose plug and a ball cap emblazoned with the words Poop Coach. Here's to the day when I won't have to pay attention to anyone else's bodily functions.

So, um, when does that day come, people? Do tell.

1 comment:

Glennon said...

"Nana poop (the phenomenon by which the child returns from Nana's house and has rather interesting and copious poop ... even if he ate essentially the same foods there as he did at home)."

Nanas LIE. One time my mom fed Chase so much sugar that he threw up. Then she told me she had "no idea" why he got sick. CHASE told me about the pounds of sugar.

Nanas lie. I suppose it is their right.