A Parent's Life (With Poo)

by Jennifer Griswold
Originally Published: 
baby poo
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“Keep bathroom talk out of your marriage.” “There are some things that should always remain private.” The people who make these comments must not have kids. The people who say these things likely also believe that any time my husband turns the doorknob I should be waiting with lipstick freshly applied, dishes done, toys put away, silverware polished and a smile that masks any issue that came my way that day. Yeah right.

Prior to having a dog and a baby, I cannot recall conversations I had with my husband regarding bathroom practices. We’re pretty immature and overly open so I’m sure they happened, but I can’t remember any. Now, a day doesn’t seem to go by without us talking about bodily fluids. On my list of things I didn’t know about parenthood, this is No. 1—poo will take over your life. Here’s how:

6. The Progress Report

If you are handing the child off to the other parent, you will inevitably ask, “Did he poop?” Countless times before my husband even gives me a kiss after work, even before we say hello, I will have relayed our 13-month-old’s bowel movement status. The update includes consistency and color. This is disgusting to write about. But I know other moms and dads know: This is life.

5. Rock, Paper, Scissors for Diaper Changes

We’ve even made sporting event bets with the loser receiving the grand prize of diaper change responsibilities. It doesn’t help that our son believes the changing table is a place of torture and likes to squirm and scream through the process. You walk away from a diaper change feeling you conquered the impossible while simultaneously feeling utterly defeated. We often wind up bribing him with candy. We’re not proud of it. But a parent’s gotta do what a parent’s gotta do.

4. Poogle

That’s when you Google baby poo. Yes, it often includes an image search. I did it once to make sure my child was healthy. I thought, well, I’m never doing that again. But I was no longer a poo-image searching virgin, and there was no turning back. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve looked them up. I sure hope I’m not alone on this one because it sounds quite bizarre. To be clear, I always have a health-related reason.

3. The Diaper-Less Child

They are dangerous. Things you want to keep clean will get pee or poo on them. During a recent diaper change, I decided my toddler could hold my phone. I looked down to grab a diaper, and he was sitting criss-cross applesauce while peeing. No diaper on. My cell phone in his hand. I’m pretty sure it remained pee-free. I’ve told myself it remained pee-free. You’d think I’d know for sure. I’ve learned ignorance can indeed be bliss.

2. Diapers Have Limitations

You will try to remind yourself to check your child before picking the sweet, little peanut up. You won’t learn this lesson until you find yourself washing poo off your shirt in the middle of a park bathroom. A small child will ask you what happened. When you tell her your baby had an accident, she will make a I’m-only-7-and-I-feel-sorry-for-you face as she asks, “That’s poo?” How did this happen to a college-educated, put-together woman? Simple. I heard my son crying and immediately wanted to help him. The little ball of bodily fluids didn’t warn me that he had just had a major blowout that he would transfer to my shirt.

1. Nothing Is Sacred

Your toilet is not your throne. There is nothing personal about this experience anymore. You are a parent. Instead, you will learn that sometimes a child will look up at you the entire time you’re doing your business. You’ll find yourself in Target holding the child while you’re on the toilet, then conduct the oddest movements to try to pull your pants up with one hand as you oddly shake your hips. The whole time your child will be in a football hold that is dangerously close to becoming the Heimlich maneuver. I swear the last time I did the baby/pants shuffle, my little one’s gaze seemed to say, “Mom, get yourself together.”

But I am not put together. Despite what my manicures and round-brush blow-dried hair will tell you, I am always seconds away from being covered in feces or urine. I know this. When people tell you that parenthood changes you, they often are talking about the love you feel. Or the fact that you become selfless in a way you never thought possible. But let’s be real. They’re also telling you, you will be humbled in ways you can’t imagine, and those ways often involve poo.

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