Every morning and after every nap, I walk into my daughter’s room with bated breath — heart hoping, wishing, that the impossible would be possible. My eyes frantically search the room for evidence and I see it, on the floor by the crib. A diaper, her diaper, that she was wearing when I put her down. I look up into her crystal blue eyes as she chirps “Hi! Poo buuur! Pooh pooh. No no!” and points to her diaper on the floor. Poo buuur stands for Pooh Bear.
This hasn’t happened once, or twice, but almost every day for the past two months. Sometimes there’s poop, sometimes pee, and sometimes, my favorite, both. I’ve become an expert on what doesn’t work and what doesn’t work. Yes, I said that twice. Take someone’s hand, and let’s walk through this journey of horror together. My horror but your amusement.
It all started with little telltale signs of what was to come. My daughter would take her shirt off during the day, or pull it down so just one arm was out. Then it started during naps. I would find her shirt in all sorts of situations. She would pull the footed pajamas down to her waist through the head hole with arms flapping at her hips.
And then, one morning I walked into her room to see nothing. That’s right, she was wearing nothing. Excuse me, that’s not entirely honest. She was wearing poop. Because she was dehydrated, she pooped pellets and then threw them in a 6-foot radius from her crib. That’s not all. She smeared some on her body, and even sampled it. Lucky for my husband, he had to leave for work. So I snatched her up for a bath and brushed her teeth while my sister-in-law who was visiting so graciously cleaned up the room.
Hoping that this was a one-time occurrence, we blindly and foolishly lived our lives as normal. And then again, and again, and again, I would walk into her room to find her diaper on the floor. I started to get good at switching crib sheets, wiping down the crib, and cleaning the carpet and walls.
In the morning, my husband gets our daughter up while I nurse in bed. Many mornings as I lay in bed, I hear him go into her room. She starts talking, he says something very low, then I hear the bath water running. Water running means poop. Only a low voice means pee. One time he went in there late at night to soothe her cries with a gentle pat. He reached down sympathetically only to feel bare shoulders, and then, the horror of realizing there was no diaper.
Duct tape became our new friend, and then an old friend as my daughter learned how to pull it off the diaper. So we used a longer strip of duct tape. And she pulled that off too. We gave her cold baths every time she played with her poop. We disciplined, which was hard because who wants to discipline a poop-covered toddler? Every time I would be very grave, point at the diaper on the floor and say, “No, no!” It got to a point where she would point before I had a chance and say, “No, no!” in a very cheerful voice.
Recently we went to Texas to visit both of our families. When we travel, our daughter sleeps in a kids tent. I thought that she wouldn’t be able to take her clothes off in it because it’s too small for her to stand up. Nope. I was sitting down with my husband’s family when he came into the room holding our naked kid at arm’s-length. He carried her into the bathroom, then the bath water started running. Several times as soon as we unzip her tent she would hand us her diaper saying “poopoo.” Whether it was dirty or completely dry.
The one hack I’ve found that keeps her from getting to her diaper is the type of onesie that snaps between the legs. Praise Jesus! But I only have so many onesies, and I can’t really put her in that at night with her fleece pj’s on top cause she’ll get too hot. Dammit.
If you ever have a kid who does this (I’m sure I’m not the only one), just know that you are not alone. I have learned to laugh at this (not in front of my daughter, of course), and I know it will make a great story at her wedding rehearsal dinner. And while things get a little crappy (pun intended), I’m so thankful that she takes naps, that she has arms and fingers to take her diaper off, and that we have a washing machine. Being grateful in the seemingly simple things in my life has given me a greater perspective of this small trial that I have been gifted.