I imagine you have yourself prepped to hear about the big feelings. The overwhelming love, the awe, the constant joy, and the stretching of your heart. I’ve read those articles too, but honestly people DID tell me about those feelings before I had kids. I didn’t really get it, I don’t think you can until you’re actually there, but in all fairness? I was forewarned.
Want to know what they didn’t tell me? The sheer volume of poop that I would deal with on a daily basis. I’m not sure if they kept this secret because they were afraid of scaring me, or if I’m just the first mom in the history of time with 4 very proficient poopers. Whatever the reason, this foul side of parenting was not mentioned to me.
I’ve been told that some kids get constipated, and that it’s a super tough thing for parents and kids to navigate. I don’t want to be insensitive, but I have a hard time feeling sad about constipation when I’m wiping poop off of Nana’s arm from a post bath, towel only shart. Truth.
Or how about the summer I spent putting my toddler twins in rompers only, because if I put their clothes on backwards they could not strip naked and play in their poo? Can you guess how often that had to happen before I got so desperate that I revamped two 2-year olds entire wardrobes? Nothing but rompers. All day. Every day. For three months.
One of the final straws that led to rompergate 2015 was the day I kept smelling poop, but couldn’t find it anywhere. The smell was in the twins room, and I tore the place apart. Under sheets, pillows, behind and under the chair. I checked the closet, above and below, under the dirty clothes hamper. What I didn’t check is through out the hamper, and I should have. What I eventually found was that the diaper one of them had taken off was artfully folded up, and the concealed INSIDE a pair of swim shorts, and shoved into the middle of the bin, because, you know, toddlers.
There are two things that bothered me most about the day I lost a poopy diaper. The first is, obviously, the sheer grossness of hidden, smelly poop for 24 hours. The second was that meant at some point during the day, one of the twins came to me without a diaper on their tiny tush, and that kind of behavior was SO commonplace I didn’t even remember that there was a diaper missing. Let that sink in. Some day there could be so much stripping, pooping, and diapers in my life that the three things together, rather than conjuring up disturbing fetish images, didn’t even make an impression in my brain. Stripping and pooping and diapers had become my normal.
And don’t get me started on the tub pooping. What’s worse than fecal mater in the bath in which you clean your children? When there are multiple kids in a tub and someone poops because a) it takes longer to notice, (usually I find out by the non-guilty twin handing it to me), and b) you don’t always know whose it is. You wouldn’t think that matters, but for some reason it does.
My favorite tub poop? When the infant pooped in the bath seat. And I didn’t notice until the next day when I opened the shower curtain and noticed the stringy breast-fed baby poop solids dried to the tub floor. How did I miss that you ask? Crayola color tabs. BAD idea when you have tub poopers.
Now, I do my best to not to worry my kids over their bodily functions. I stress myself out over telling them their poo stinks, just in case it sends them into a self-loathing spiral of shame. But poop is poop. Fecal matter, human waste, bacteria soup. So, I also do my best to teach them that playing in their excrement is not acceptable. Neither is sticking their hands in a poopy diaper, pooping on the carpet, or smearing it on the wall. I have had to explain (repeatedly) that it is NEVER OK to stick your fingers in or around your butt hole, especially when there’s company.
To be totally honest, my standards have slid. It is now not such a huge deal to poop outside “like Maggie” (our dog), and I don’t even freak if it’s on a hard surface that can be easily disinfected. You have to learn what matters, and learn to buy bleach and Dial soap in bulk.
It is important to note, I didn’t even mention the innumerable blow-out diapers you will undoubtedly suffer though (sage mom tip: CUT OFF THE ONESIE. Trash it, it’s not worth the work). That’s a topic for another day.