Of Parents and Poop

I have been doing a lot of navel-gazing, and reviewing, and hand-wringing on this blog lately. It has its place and all, but I feel that it’s time to lighten things up. Which is why, today, I am talking about poop.

Before I had kids, I rarely talked about poop. I rarely even thought about poop. This is because, before I had kids, I traveled in adult circles, where it’s not considered polite conversation. I would say that it’s considered even less polite in female adult circles than male, so it really just did not come up.

Allow me to digress some and say I’m not sure what photos to publish with this post. I’m thinking random shots of nature, just to confuse people. It’s a bendy tree!

Bendy tree - slash - archway

Back to the topic at hand. Now that I have two children, my life is all about poop. And not even my own poop. Unless I try to visit the bathroom by myself to do it, in which case there is much discussion about Why Mom Dared Close The Door. Although I guess that’s really only peripheral. More on point is when my kids insist on accompanying me into the bathroom and then complain because I’m, you know, using the bathroom. This isn’t rocket science, children, if you don’t want to be in the room when I’m pooping, please feel free not to be.

But I digress (again).

Here, look, it’s a trail through the woods!

Green pathway

Anyways, back to poop. My obsession started with my very first child, during her very first days of life. I blame the medical professionals, honestly. They asked questions like, “How often does she poop?” and, “What does her poop look like?” and, “How does it smell?” Then they recorded my answers on very official medical-type forms. Their message was clear – poop mattered, a lot. So I had better pay attention to it if I wanted to be a good mom. And I did want to be a good mom, so I examined every dirty diaper diligently, looking for signs of … something. I don’t really know.

Once I became pre-occupied with my children’s bowel movements, I discovered ample cause for alarm. The kid’s pooping schedule changes? Maybe it’s a sign that something is Terribly Wrong. The colour changes? Call the nurse hotline! I don’t want to overlook some signal in the diaper and regret it down the road. No way, no how. And don’t even get me started on the first time that your baby gets sick. Oh, the poop you will you know.

Look, it’s the Pacific Ocean!

Another angle of Brady's Beach

And then, your kid starts solid foods. If you thought you were obsessed with their bowel movements before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And then, you start toilet learning, and the hysteria kicks up another notch. Pretty soon, your kid is talking about their own poop, and you’re riveted.

You’re also cheering for the poop. Every deposit in the potty is cause for jubilation. And no one can blame you, because it’s one more step on the path to never having to change a dirty diaper again. Your excitement is contagious, and your kid clues in that this pooping thing is something special. Before you know it, they’re examining their deposits, looking for animal shapes in the potty or commenting on the impressive size. And you’re giving them a big thumbs-up, because you’ll do whatever it takes to make this experience positive, man.

Bleeding hearts!

Bleeding hearts

Then, one day, your kid is in the bathroom with you (because, as I said, you don’t dare attempt to visit the bathroom on your own). And then they’re clapping for you. “Yay, Mama go poop in the potty! Yay, Mama!” And then they need to examine your poop, and heaven forbid you try to flush before they’re ready. And you can understand why they think this is the Done Thing, since it’s how it works for them.

I am in the thick of all this with Jacob right now. He’s approaching 2 1/2, and the potty mastery is coming along. And I? I am all about the poop, all the time. But I do see an end in sight. Hopefully it comes sooner, rather than later. Because I am ready to move on to a new topic. Like, maybe, nature photography. Or how to keep the kids from banging on the bathroom door. Either way.

Tell me I’m not the only parent whose life has become all about poop. Please. I really need to hear it!

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  1. This is hilarious. I guess I’m finding it particularly hilarious because it’s all a memory for me now (not a very distant memory, only about a two months old one, but it’s been two very liberating months!), and now I feel I’m truly in the realm of nature photography:)
    Francesca’s last post … Three days in JanuaryMy Profile

  2. Hilarious! I am a total poop inspector. The Hubs and I have rating scales for size, colour, consistency, and odour. He used to save me the diapers to inspect, but I’ve loosened up a little and will accept a verbal report in lieu of first-hand inspection.
    And I guess my interest in poop has worn off on Lilah – at 18 months, “poo-poo” is already a hot topic of conversation. And her dolls have frequent diaper changes, so I imagine she must be feeding them a lot of bran!
    Amanda’s last post … What I Learned in December 2010My Profile

  3. I am amazed at the ease in which I will now talk poop with anyone who will listen. We are all about poop here, too. I just hope we are close to done very soon. Kale is potty trained but nowhere near being capable of wiping so poop and I are friendly.
    Jen’s last post … BED11- PathMy Profile

  4. going on 7 and a half years here and we’re desperately trying to rid ourselves of the poop – it’s turned into potty talk with lots of giggling. i’ve now banned it from anywhere but school (let them deal with, they’re paid to deal for heaven’s sake).

    poop still rolls easily of the tongue (blech) if it’s a required topic, wiping has improved (skid mark frequency now down to a normal male frequency – what is it with the male derriere?), and at last the bathroom door is closed on the act (him and me).

    our next step? i guess it will be talking about sex in such an easy manner (oh my)
    pomomama’s last post … shout out sunday but we had internet problemsMy Profile

  5. See, the thing is that I think poop is, indeed, hilarious. I know, I have the humor of a 5 year old boy. My husband teases me that, even before children, one just had to say the word “poop” and I would start giggling. Terribly juvenile, I know. At least I’ll have something in common with my son in a few years. Speaking of which, we are working on potty training with my 2 1/2 year old too. He’s ok with peeing on the potty, but goodness gracious he will NOT poop in the potty. He will only poop standing up (?!?!?) in a diaper. If you have any tips on getting a poop-shy boy to use the potty, I would LOVE to hear them!

  6. Caroline

    When I worked with horses, it was all about poop, but in a totally different way. I threw it using forks, I piled it, I dumped it out of carts. I examined it for signs of health, I got covered in it treating sick horses, I kicked it around.

    Then, I had a kid and it was second verse, slightly different than the first. You become obsessive about why the poop is green, or what the heck did that kid eat to make it smell like that, or who gets to change the next diaper because you are sick of looking at poop. But then…..

    Potty training! Talking about poop! Looking at poop! Thinking about poop! Reading about poop! Alas, despite the excitement from the world of poop, my 2 1/2 year old son is refusing to use the potty at all. We have to cajole him onto it at night, and forget trying first thing in the morning or after nap. its a meltdown if you mention it. *Mommy-head thumping on wall*

    He’s done the deed a couple of times, and for a bit he was keen, and now we are back to refusing to sit or even contemplate peeing or pooping. My life is all about the “ready to go potty?” and “What do we do on the potty?” and potty books galore with a toddler usually running the opposite way. And forget going bare bummed, he hates it! So frustrating, and also kind of anxiety inducing. “Shouldn’t he be trained by now?” or “You have to get him trained before the baby comes!” is my in-law’s refrain. I want to fling something at them when they say that, and you know what that is…. *monkey-imitation dance*

    Who knew something as simple as poop could cause a parent’s nervous breakdown? 😛

    • My 2 1/2 went through the refusal tantrum thing, and then I re-read the “guide” to potty training and it reminded me that HE has to decide when to go, it can’t be me. It also occurred to me (late I admit!) that he had no potty issues at daycare, so it was obviously MY issue, not his. I stopped asking, he had an accidental “start” or 2, and then decided he preferred to not be wet and poopy all on his own… Once he was in control, he decided to go. I think for him, it was a power struggle thing??

  7. Thank you! I needed to read this today. Not that I’m stuck in poop issues at the moment. Just needed to read about another mother doing her thing. Smile of the day.
    (and yes, poop is a very hot topic at all times in my house, subject of dinner discussions, jokes, show-and-tell….)

  8. Since Em and Jacob are almost the same age, you can be sure that you and I are experiencing the same poopcentric life.
    Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves’s last post … Pinwheels- Wednesday of Few Words linkyMy Profile

  9. This is so freakin’ funny, Amber!!!

    And yes, my life has been all about poop ever since M left his first deposit of meconium in his diaper. (The ONLY thing I loved about my cesarean was the fact that Tim changed ALL of the meconium diapers because I was in too much pain to get out of bed all the time. Well, there’s not much to love about the “too much pain” thing, but still…)

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I’m looking forward to the day when the only butt-wiping for which I am responsible is my own. And to the day when I can POOP IN PEACE.
    Kristen’s last post … Sex after C-section- Try a Little TendernessMy Profile

  10. We are less about poop these days, now that Lil Ti is toilet trained. But he loves to examine, exclaim and explain about his poop. Personally I can’t wait until we reach the final stage of toilet training – learning to wipe your own bum.

  11. You are certainly not alone on this! I’m not so concerned about poop any more, my boys are 5 and 10, so they have pooping down to a science…and they enjoy talking about it loudly for all the world to hear sometimes!

    When my oldest was a baby, one day I picked him up from his day-care and the woman told me all about his poop that day. Her teenage daughter stood by, completely grossed out and said, “Ugh, Mom! Why do you have to tell everyone about their kids’ poop? It’s disgusting.” Her mom informed her that someday she’d be a mother herself and she’d be concerned about poop then. It’s so very true, no?
    Earth Muffin’s last post … The iPod shuffle- Maria-styleMy Profile

  12. I’m not surprised that “poop” tops the lists for popular first words. I think parents say poop/poopy or poo poo more than any other word to their children. I know that I always announce to Theo when I’m having a poop to model good pooping technique. And when he poops, we have this kind of groaning poop sigh that goes on.
    harriet Fancott’s last post … Saying goodbye to the nuclear familyMy Profile

  13. My life is also all about the poop. We’ve just begun the potty training process, but my son has yet to actually get anything, either #1 or #2, in the potty. It’s a long process, and I’m dreading more and more conversations about poop.

    So you’re not alone. This, too, shall pass, I’m sure. At least eventually.
    Melissa E.’s last post … Fun with Noodles! or Finally! Great Italian Food!My Profile

  14. The baby used to poop at about 9:30 in the morning, so I would dally around at home before outings, waiting for the poop so I wouldn’t have to change it outside the house. It feels really stupid when you explain why you were late . . .
    Lady M’s last post … The Big Boy BedMy Profile

  15. Well, I have nothing interesting to ad about poop… I EC, so my world pretty much revolves around poop 24/7. I just really needed to comment on the great ‘out of context’ photos… I guess it would have been in really bad taste to actually put up a pic of poop or a dirty diaper – LOL
    Nadia’s last post … Learning to WriteMy Profile

  16. Yep, it is all about the poop. Though I haven’t had any cheering for my own yet, now that would be hilarious. I don’t even have to mention that “poop” is one of my 15 month old’s first words. Oh yes it is.
    Amber’s last post … Knit Baby Blanket Contest on Make Baby StuffMy Profile

  17. I remember going to a baby shower when I was newly married and nowhere close to having kids. And I came home and said to Sam, “All they talked about was poop and nipples!” In this tone like, Of course I will never be like that. And wouldn’t you know it? I totally am like that. Ah, well. It’s what’s interesting right now.

    I could tell you some stories about my kid’s poops, let me tell you! But, you know, don’t let me tell you.
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama’s last post … Wordless Wednesday- New Years partyMy Profile

  18. Thank you for this on an early morning when I needed to be reminded that there are truly things to chuckle about. Indeed, I know this well. My youngest, approaching 23 months, always toddles in and says “Mama poop? Mama Poop?” and insists on looking between my legs before I’m even off the potty. And the disappointment when mama didn’t poop. Ah the bliss of children.
    Christine LaRocque’s last post … Finding quietMy Profile

  19. You forgot the, “Mommy!! I pooped!!” being yelled from the bathroom at home AND in public.

    It’s like you were reading my mind when you wrote this post. No, you are SO NOT alone in this. Try all this and more… my youngest is almost five and has had a lifetime of digestive issues. Everything poop becomes that more important: when, how much, texture, color… it never ends. I am praying for the day when her body finally decides to function properly so that we can all stop talking about it so much.

    I am also ADHD so I hear a lot of jokes about being easily distracted. Your pictures added that much more humor for me and seriously made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks so much for the laugh this morning. Great way to start the day!

  20. I spent my late teens and 20s with almost all guy-friends, so we talked a lot about our poop. Somewhere in there I became a nanny, so I spent a lot of time talking about other people’s kids’ poop. Now I’m no longer a nanny, but I’m a new homesteader, so the poop of pigs and chickens is real high-order conversation around here. And I’m due with my first kid in the spring, when the discussion of poop will go to whole new levels. At this point, it’s so downright normal to talk about poop, if someone in public gave me a weird look about it, I’m not sure I would understand what their problem was.
    Issa’s last post … DepressionMy Profile

  21. Leslie Hodgen says:

    By no means are you alone in this topic. Poop has been taken over my life lately. My 5 year old can’t poop, thus causing alarm and more continued consultations with her pedi and hopefully to see a specialist because this has gone on way too long for my comfort and I am tired of her constantly being on miralax, that can’t be good for your system all the time. And the past 2 weeks my 2 1/2 year old has had the nastiest poop ever due to a virus (I believe) and now his body is reacting to milk so we have to watch what he eats for the next week, then slowly reintroduce dairy and hope for solid not yellow poop anymore. I can’t wait for a time in my life when I can think about better topics!!!

  22. I run an organization called The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org), so I it tends to be on my mind a lot. The thing I love most about this is how, for the sake of child-rearing, we can put away the fierce negativity and embarrassment regarding potty talk (hence the delightful detours through nature during the blog), to get at how important poop really is. I’m curious as to whether anyone started examining their own output after cutting their teeth on the kids’. It is like a crystal ball that comes from the bum. 🙂

  23. Oh, I’m right there with you. My almost three year old daughter WON’T poop in the potty and it is driving me crazy. She goes to great lengths, faces, bodily contortions, to avoid pooping at all. We’ve been to experts who give me the infuriating “monitor the situation” speech (thanks, so glad I took the day off of work and dragged a toddler downtown to the giant, intimidating hospital where we got lost in the labyrinth of hallways and waited forever to here this sage advice. Really.)
    Audra’s last post … Childrens Book ExchangeMy Profile

  24. Yep, we talk about poop around here all the time, too. I loved this post–especially the random nature photography. Hilarious!
    Amy’s last post … Foodie Friday- Roasted Garlic HummusMy Profile

  25. WrathofMom says:

    My kids’ poop — the reason I no longer enjoy eating corn.

  26. Yer not the only one. Sometimes I find myself talking about poopy diapers in the hockey locker room while my teammates avert their eyes politely, even though they are ridiculously raunchy.

    A friend of mine once e-mailed me from a caribbean cruise to tell me all about the diaper she had to change on the plane and her sons diarreah on the boat. That was all she told me about whilst on a cruise ship in paradise — poop.
    Betsy’s last post … Happy New YearsMy Profile

  27. oh this post is hilarious! I am glad I read it today. We are starting the potty training adventure and I have a feeling I’m going to have to read that book “everybody poops” or whatever it’s called a few times (read a few hundred) in the near future…yikes.

    loved the bendy tree 😉 haha
    Jamie Willow’s last post … My wordMy Profile

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