Family and friends offered an obscene amount of advice while I was pregnant with kiddo #1. As I reflect upon being a mom of two kids now, a boy and a girl, what I wish someone, anyone would have told me was…
I would have a serious conversation about poop every…single…day.
Pregnant me may have laughed you out of the room. But UGH, it is SO true.
During the first week of your little’s life, you leave the hospital with a chart that tells you what the kid’s poop should look like. Personally, I liked this; it provided a sole point of structure and guidance as we were adjusting to a new normal. Then after that first week, the chart becomes obsolete and there is now no guidebook. So the conversation turns to, “Hey, does this poop look OK?” Every. Day. Aside from crying, your newborn’s poop becomes one of the few indicators of well-being. You will examine it closely. Show it to other people to get their opinion. Probably take photos of it to show the doctor. And then forget to delete it from your phone.
Then as your newborn grows, and your baby starts trying solid food, you will dread changing diapers. Depending on what goes in the front end, new smells will come out the back end. The baby will wake up crying in the middle of the night and it’ll look like a brown bomb went off in the kid’s crib. You may be impressed for the hot second before you realize you will need to clean this all up before anyone can go back to bed.
After it happens once, you will begin packing the baby’s bag in anticipation of another fecal explosion. It really isn’t fun to deal with anywhere, let alone out in public. You may very well live in fear of poop for a while. The silver lining, though: it helps parents get really good at contingency planning.
Then two years or thereabouts down the road comes potty training. By this time, your kid may be cutely saying “bathroom words” like “poop,” “potty” and, a favorite in our house, “nugget.” While these new words are fun for your kids, they do not necessarily translate to action and actual use of the toilet. Here lies the struggle and the conversation turns into the frequently and frustratingly repeated question, “Do you need to poop, sweetheart?” Followed by the (not so) gentle suggestion, “Try pooping on the potty, my little love.” Eventually, it all works itself out (a terrible pun, but I am not deleting it.)
Once your kids are using the toilet, you may think you’re done with your craptastic discussions. You would be wrong, though. Now, you become a bum-wiper. This may feel like a regression back to diaper changing because you are again digging deep to clean your kid’s rump. It’s important that you power through, though. In an effort to find independence, your toddler/preschooler may want to take care of it all themselves. The result of this may be finding brown streaks here and there around the house followed by the faint smell of something gross that you can’t quite place…nor do you really want to. Then the conversation becomes focused on the question, “did you wipe?” followed by, “did you wipe well?” Just wipe their bums; it’s less work in the long run.
Then as your kids enter more social environments, you may find “potty words” becoming insults. Your child may be called a “poop” or a “butt” by a “friend” or vice versa. That language will rear its ugly head in your home at some point. So the discussion now turns to a totally new issue which is not bathroom related AT ALL. After all those open, frequent and tiring discussions about “poop,” it now becomes inappropriate to use within a certain context. It’s a little mind-boggling.
Parents need to deal with this ever-evolving poop, literally and figuratively. If I had a heads up on that, I would have appreciated it. So for all you moms-to-be out there and those currently working through one of these seasons of life, stay strong! It totally stinks (ha!), but you’re not alone! Everyone poops…and sometimes, someone has got to clean it up…and talk about it until it becomes a non-issue. Good luck with your fecal frustrations; we are sending you virtual hugs and air fresheners.