Friday, March 7, 2008


If you don’t have a strong stomach, skip this one. Really.
For those of you who are involuntarily drawn in by the fascinating title of today’s post, read on. I have no pictures to add this week, and I think you’ll thank me for that. Having children has really opened my eyes to the disgusting side of life. I don’t think it’s entirely due to the fact that they are both boys, but... my friends who have girls don’t seem to talk about things like “the fart zone” or endless discussions about poo. Which brings us to today’s topic.

In the beginning, when the boys were infants, the first poos were a bit of a surprise. What came out of them was completely unfamiliar to me – it looked like black tar. Then that changed within the first few days to something that resembled Dijon mustard, but smelled just the teensiest bit like buttered popcorn. We lived that life for a while, with the occasional “blowout” where the poo would somehow blow up out of the back of the diaper all the way up the back of the onesie into their hair. Otherwise, the breastfeeding days were not too bad – people would still smile when they heard the boys filling their diapers.

When they started on solid food, things got worse. All of a sudden, my mother was not as interested in doing the diaper changes when we visited. The smells got intolerable, especially when meat was introduced into their diets. With Ethan particularly, who was allergic to so much, there seemed to be an inverse relationship with how good it smelled as food and how bad it smelled as poo. We also discovered the different types of poo, from the hard nuggets that would roll out of the diaper when you opened it to change them, to the “pootastrophes” of diarrhea that would spill out and pour down in a tidal wave off the changing table onto the floor. We also lived our lives in absolute terror for 21 days when Jack was 4 months old – he went that whole time without pooing once. We were terrified as to what would come out when he finally did go. It was actually kind of a let-down when it was just a normal one on day 22.

Toilet training was a treat. This time of our lives was my least favourite as a parent so far. We went through SO many accidents with Ethan. He didn’t care if he crapped everywhere, and given the fact that he has a – ahem – healthy digestive system, we were cleaning up a LOT. In the first three days of toilet training with him, we went through 21 pairs of underwear. Yes, you read that right. And I’d love to say that I was only cleaning up pee, but alas, that was not the case. There was an ever-rotating laundry of underwear that I’d flushed the gross bits out of, the soaking in the sink pile, the pile in the washer and the pile in the dryer. Underwear never even made it into his clean clothes drawer before it was in use again. That stage went on far too long but eventually we got over the hump.

We still wipe Jack’s bum, but Ethan is self-sufficient now. It means we go through a lot of toilet paper and soap, but I’m cool with that. Jack will get there one day.

But I’m not done with poo – I have my top five favourite stories to tell still.
Ethan was 2 months old when we flew back to Vancouver for the first time. I nursed him and changed him with plenty of time before our boarding call, but of course he chose the moment the flight was announced to have a total blowout, prompting a run to the restroom. Not only did I use up his emergency outfit before we even got on the flight (which we nearly missed due to his timing) but I had to completely bathe him and wash his hair in the airport sink. I did not have a change of shirt for me, however, and arrived into the loving arms of my family exhausted and smelling like baby poo and spit-up.
Jack was only about 8 months old – a crawler – when he decided to navigate downstairs (maybe to let me know he needed changing?) He was new to stairs, and so he would go down backwards on his tummy. Well, he was only wearing a diaper and crawling backwards opened the Velcro on the diaper and he squirmed right out of it, smearing poo down 11 stairs. 11 stairs carpeted in off-white carpet, of course. Good times.
Ethan gave up his naps at 17 months, on basically the same day that Jack was born, but I kept trying for “quiet time” for a while afterwards. I would put the baby gate on his doorway and he would bump around for a while and play with toys. One day I thought I was actually successful, that he had actually gone to sleep, but I should have realized that the eerie quiet could mean nothing good. I went upstairs and the smell hit me around stair 5. Ethan had taken the contents of his diaper and painstakingly finger painted the entire baby gate with poo. Baby gates are FULL of tiny crevices, and this one was no exception – about 50 diamond-shaped holes that were all filled with poo. But he hadn’t stopped there – oh no – he had also paid careful attention to the door of his room. You know that little hole in the door frame, where the sticky-outie part of the door shoots into when the door is closed? He’d stuffed that full of poo, too – it was carefully packed in. I had to pick it out with Q-Tips. And to add insult to injury, when I took the gate outside to clean it with the hose, the nozzle was set to something close to sandblasting. So when I sprayed the gate, the poo-water sprayed right back up into my face, up my nose and into my open mouth. And that was the Poo-gate incident.
Jack was extremely resistant to toilet training and was 3 months past his third birthday with no hope in sight. Then he announced on the eve of our road trip to California that he was ready to pee and poo on the toilet now. And that was it; he went from diapers one day to staying dry both day and night the next. He did have one memorable accident, though, just as we were trying to get to the next rest stop in time. He pooed his pants and I carried him into the rest stop bathroom. Of course, there was no change table, and it was about 110 degrees in there and FILTHY. I got into a tiny stall and laid paper towel down on the floor to get Jack undressed. His sweaty little feet stuck to the paper and it started to shred so he was standing on the bare floor. I put more down and laid him on it to take off his underwear. When I took it off, there was only a small poo mark in the underwear, and no poo – I was confused. Then I noticed that the whole ladies’ room line-up had gone silent, and I peeked under the door. The poo ball had rolled out into the aisle. I reached for it under the door and picked up the ball while trying to ignore the gasp from nice-sandal lady with toe ring. I dropped the poo ball into the toilet with a splash and used every last wipe on Jack, my hand, and even the floor out into the aisle where it had rolled. I walked out of the stall without looking at anyone and washed my hands for five minutes before wiping the sweat off my face and returning to the car with Jack. Mike asked me what was wrong and I just told him I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. It was about 500 miles before I told him and we could laugh about it...
Jack’s most recent accident is what prompted this whole rambling poo retrospective. On Tuesday, we were playing in the fort we had made in the living room, when he started farting. Jack reminds me of the Fire Swamp in Princess Bride. You know how the flame spurts are preceded by several popping sounds? Well, he’s like that too – you can always tell when he needs to go number two. So he started farting and over the next half an hour, I repeatedly asked him to go to the bathroom. He kept insisting he didn’t have to go, until the moment where he ran to the hall and there was this giant “plurp” noise. The look on his face said it all and I ran him upstairs to the bathroom (Why, oh why, did we ever buy a place with no bathroom on the main floor?) dripping the whole way – on those darn stairs again! I couldn’t throw him into the bathtub because I had clothes drying on a rack in there, so I put him on the floor and pulled everything down. What a nightmare! He was hopping all around because he had to pee now, too, so there were poo footprints all over the tiles. I put him on the toilet so he could pee and washed my hands just so I could pull the drying rack out of the bath. Jack kept slipping off the toilet (use your imagination why) so I quickly ran the bath to clean him up. Guess what a bum shower is? Ask Jack to demonstrate. Once he was clean I threw him out the door and lifted the pants into the bath. I guess I had underestimated the volume and depth of the contents of the underwear, and now I realized I had to flush this down the toilet, not rinse it down the drain. I had no choice, and I admit to throwing up in my mouth a little, but I used my hands and took two fistfuls of poo and threw them into the toilet. I could then rinse the pants and underwear enough to get them into the sink to soak. Did I mention I was yelling “I’m going to throw up” over and over again? Ethan poked his head in once, took one look at my face and smelled the stench and ducked right back out again. After the pants were soaking, I then had to clean up the toilet, the bath, the floor, the cupboard door, the toilet paper holder and of course the stairs. I wrapped the clothes in a towel to get them to the washer and went back to the sink. I scrubbed my hands like a surgeon. I’m serious, I worked on them forEVER! And even still, all afternoon I washed my hands every time I needed to use them. I remembered what those hands had done and I needed to wash over and over again. It was traumatic, to say the least.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the poo stories if only for the fact that you didn’t have to live through them. You may have some of your own, but I really hope not. The glimmer of hope for me is that Jack turned 4 yesterday (more on his birthday next time) so there will eventually come a time when I don’t even need to be involved in anyone else’s poo. I am eagerly awaiting that day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh My. I laughed so hard I cried. We don't have great stories like that yet, just fountains of poo from his ostomy that could beat the Bellagio fountain show. Chris has been constipated lately, and we are waiting for the poo to hit the fan, so to speak.