Thursday, June 11, 2015

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What parenthood has taught me about poop

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The crazy thing about being a parent is how you become numb to poop. After 8 years and three kids, it is the background of my life. I’ve been elbow deep in poop more than I’d like to admit. It is all around me. Every day I handle it in one form or another.

Here's what I’ve learned. 

Poop comes in many colors: Brown, yellow, grey, blue... it can depend on the meal, how long it went unnoticed. There are many factors. There is a wide variety of poop a child can create. They are like little Poop Picasso’s or Color Kittens. Sometimes I’m surprised by its color, but mostly I’m just grossed out.

Never underestimate your child’s butt: Poop can travel real distances. When my son was a baby, he was crazy constipated for five days. I had his legs pulled back to put on a diaper, when he shot crap four feet onto the wall. Then he smiled, clearly relieved. I wasn’t even mad. I was impressed.

I can stomach a lot of poop: With my first kid, I gagged a lot. Now that I’m on my third, I feel like I could work for a sewage plant. I have become poop, destroyer of butts.

Poop doesn’t easily go down a bathtub drain: The first time my child pooped in the tub I assumed I could just pull the plug, and it would just go down the drain. I was wrong. It just sat there in the middle of the tub, an immovable mass, freckling all the bath toys with poop flakes. I had to use a spatula, some soda straws, a bottle of bleach, and a lot of swearing to finally get the damn thing cleaned up. New parents, I wish I could give you some advice here to make pooping in the tub easier, but it doesn’t get easier. At least not in my experience. I’m sorry. You’re screwed.

There are levels of poop: I never thought I’d say this, but not all poop is that bad. Sometimes poop is just a dried up little odorless ball of a thing that cleans up with one wipe. Sometimes it’s a hot sticky tar that never really comes off and stains the skin. It’s always a little nasty, but sometimes I actually say, “Well… that’s wasn’t too bad.” But the fact is, it was that bad. It was poop. But I have become desensitized. Numb to lower level poop. That’s what parenting has done to me.

Poop can be on my clothing without me knowing it: I was at church a few years ago. My baby daughter was on my lap. I passed her to my wife, and then I went to a Sunday school class. Twenty minutes into the lesson I noticed a long, slender, chunky stain on my slacks. It was then that I finally smelled it. The baby had a silent blow out while sitting on my lap, and I’d just spent nearly a half hour at church with crap on my slacks. Remarkable.

Young children will eat poop: This goes for their own poop and that of others. I was playing catch on the front lawn with my son. My baby daughter was crawling around on the grass. She found some animal poop (I think it was cat poop, but I’m not a scatologist). She didn’t think twice about chomping down on it, and when I took it away, she cried, long and hard, as thought I’d taken away a Snickers bar.

Poop isn’t that bad: Perhaps it’s because I’ve handled so much of it, but I don’t think twice anymore about handling poop. You want to know why parents say things like, “Oh… you’ve got a poopy bum. You little stinker,” while smiling? Because after a few years, you break. You reach rock bottom when it comes to poop. It becomes as much a part of your life as drinking water and breathing air. Some people try to fight it. I’ve heard fathers say, “I don’t change poopy butts.” But honestly, once you accept it, once you just realize that parenting is about poop, and poop is about parenting, it really isn’t that bad. Just get a few extra wipes. You dive in, and get shit done (pardon the pun).


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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.   
  

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