Friday, April 6, 2012

Poop post

I’m going to do it. I’m going to commit that most tacky of "mommy blogging" faux pas and talk to you decent people about my family's poop.  

Here we go:

You know that children’s book The Napping House “where everyone is sleeping”?  (No? Get it. It’s riveting.)


Well, I live in The Constipated House “where everyone’s not pooping.”

Me: Not hydrating enough to keep up with the breastfeeding.  It’s so bad that when I manage to poop, I emerge from bathroom, magazine under my arm, sweating, with some mild anal discomfort and an awkward sense of accomplishment.

Emmet: Has gone FIVE days without a drop of poop.  While this is not unheard of for a newborn, it’s totally distressing. Red faced, he strains and grunts with effort much of the day, and I’m about ready to stick something (a thermometer, enema, anything...) up his little bum to help things along and give him some relief.  Caleb pooped a perfect 5-6 times a day.  So, Emmet is down about 25 poops. Where is all that poop, I ask you?

Caleb: Caleb is the big problem here. 

Caleb is scared of his poop.  Seriously, he’s got a psychological block.  The first time he saw his poop in the potty, he looked at it and immediately jumped back, started screaming, jumping up and down and biting on his hand.  It’s that deep.

I can finally see why Freud devoted so much of his psychological theory to the anal phase. There’s something deeply rooted here.
Maybe he was on to something after all...

People have given me all kinds of explanations for this.  “It’s evolutionary since poop is so unclean.”  “They are afraid because they think are losing a part of themselves,” and even “Boys are afraid their testicles will come off with their poop.”

Six months back we thought we had defeated whatever scatological demons were haunting Caleb. In a moment of desperation and exercising embarrassingly bad parenting tactics, we promised him a bike if he pooped.  He promptly went to his potty, sat down, and pooped! 
He got his bike. 
And thereafter stopped pooping on the potty. 

Since then, we’ve cajoled, bribed, threatened, punished.  Nothing works. 

And now he has us outsmarted.  He knows he’ll be in a diaper for his nap and overnight, so he expertly holds his poop until then.  After we’ve left, he unloads his dirty business into the familiar safety of his diaper and then lays back smugly as we begrudgingly and angrily wipe his tush and hold our noses disgusted by what is becoming more and more adult-like poop. 

We give him the same speech each time, “This is the absolute last time we’re changing your diaper! You are a big boy now and you need to poop on the potty.”  But, he knows we are (much like he is) full of shit. 

Touché little Caleb.  You may have one this battle little, poop-holder.  But we will win the war, by god. 

So, yesterday Caleb emerged from his nap and I heard his little pitter patter head straight for the garage, instead of crawling into my lap for his usual cuddle time.  “That’s strange” I thought. And then… “Oh no you don’t!”

“What are you doing Caleb?” I shouted in his direction.

“I’m just hiding mama.” He shouted back.

“Oh no you’re not!” And I ran to find him.

You see, “hiding” is a euphemism for “finding a poop corner” which is a euphemism for going to a corner of the house to crap in his diaper in dignified semi-privacy.

Seizing the moment, I dragged him into the bathroom, pulled off his diaper and demanded some defecation.

I pulled out everything in my arsenal.  I promised him chocolates, movies, video games. Threatened time outs and loss of privileges. 

To dispel his fear I expounded on how much I just love to poop and how everyone who he loves poops all the time.

I did a baby Biology 101 and explained where poop came from. “You see, when you eat your body doesn’t need all of the food for energy to let you play so some of the food comes out as poop.  That’s all it is! It’s just food really. Isn't that neat?” 
"No."
I even got tried to liven the mood with the grotesque game of “what animals do you want to make with your poop?  A snake?  A lion?”  "See?  This is fun!"

None of these tactics were bearing… um… zoo animals.

There were a lot of tactics on his part too.  A lot of crying and trying to escape the bathroom over the fence I made with my legs.  A tearful pleading, “I’m huuuungryyyy mama!” Even the unexpected “the policeman called and told me not to poop.”  What??

I was having none of it.  I stood my ground. 

“We’re not leaving this room until you poop.  I don’t care if you don’t eat or miss your bedtime. We are going to poop by god.”

30 minutes passed.

He cried, pleaded, begged.   He got up and stomped his feet.  At one point he slumped his head on the bathroom in frustration, his little naked tush sticking up in the air, a cartoonish posture of defeat.  I had him beat, and he knew it.

Each time he tried to push, he cried horrible horrified tears.  He was sweaty and exhausted. Like I said, this is some serious Freudian shit.  Despite my resolve, I felt terrible for him.  So, I extended a hand.

“Do you want me to hold your hand Caleb?” I asked gently.

“Yes mama.” He replied.

So, like Thelma and Louise, we squeezed hands as Caleb, at long last, squeezed out his poop. (For those of you who are wondering, it was a snake).  The whole thing felt more like labor (at one point he literally said, “I feel its head”) and so maybe he just needed a doula. 

Caleb called papa to proudly declare his success.  “I pooped papa!!”  We told his nanny, the neighbors,  anyone who might have cared and quite a few who didn’t.   Sweets and movies were awarded. Caleb vowed that he would no longer be pooping in his diaper.  We hugged.  I showered him with affection, feeling profoundly proud of both of us.

The next morning Caleb pooped in his diaper.   

**************

Linking up yet again with this terrific group of blogger/writers!  Come check out some great posts and then come back Thursday to vote for your favorites.

59 comments:

  1. I laughed and laughed and laughed!!! Great post.

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  2. I have tears in my eyes from laughing. Seriously.

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  3. But you need to update this (great) poop post with today's poop scoop, Kim. Suffice it to say, everyone go M&Ms tonight (even Babu, although he waffled a bit by claiming some credit for last night's work).

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    1. "poop scoop" - I love it. Sounds like a good name for a parenting periodical.

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  4. "The policeman called and told me not to poop." That's one superlative little boy you have there.

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    1. Well, I think so. ; ) I honestly have no idea how the police got involved here....

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  5. LOVE the policeman bit. Vicky has had 3 successful potty poops, but she tries *everything* to get out of it. I tried the blockade method, but she beat the tar out of me and shrieked until my ears bled.

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    1. Our next tactic is to wake him before he gets up in the morning and for his naps so he doesn't have a chance to beat us to the punch. What's with our children!?!

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  6. Q: where is Emmet's poop? A: collecting for a big poop-a-roo blow out!! You're gonna have fun with that one!!
    When you get to the U.S., stock up big time on the Miralax. If it was up to Noah, he would always keep it in. Half a cap of that stuff in his soy milk every day keeps it soft and regular (and whenever we miss it, we have trouble!), and he doesn't have any choice but to let it out!

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    1. Oh, you were right - when he finally let loose (right after I wrote this post) it was... lets just say... special. I'll be stocking up on that stuff in the US for sure! THanks for the tip!

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  7. I would have enjoyed and laughed along with this post even if I wasn't a mother. By god, I've done my share of poop duties, if one could call it that. When the toddler was 9 months old, I had to pull poop out of him with my hands. I was traumatized, as I'm sure he was.

    He would sit on the potty before he was 1, and continued up until he was 20 months. Then we moved house and he decided the potty was evil and has since refused to poop anywhere but in the diaper.

    So much for early potty training.

    You might have to er, encourage Emmet's poop with a thing up his bum. Good luck!

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    1. Holy crap (pun intended)!! I can't believe you had to pull it out of him. That's understandably traumatizing Alison! And in my limited experience, there's only so much we can do to control them and every kid is ready at their own time. Hopefully soon...

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  8. Poop is fascinating when you become a parent. You never thought much about it before, in most cases, but now your whole day can center around it.

    I'm probably going to leave my kid in diapers until college, because this sounds like entirely too much work! (Kidding. Mostly.)

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    1. Great idea! People always tell you that - by way of comfort presumably - to "take heart, they won't be in diapers when they go to college" like that's supposed to be some consolation. But you're right - it is entirely too much work. But so is changing poopy diapers. It's a lose-lose.

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  9. Amazing contribution to the annals of poop posts out there. The tangible pathos! The twists and turns, animals, policemen! I just loved it. I really felt your victory...and then the crushing denouement! An absolute classic.

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    1. Thanks Jade! And there's an annal of poop posts!?! Where? I must find it! ; )

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  10. lol @ policeman. You gotta give him points for creativity. One of my boys had MAJOR poop issues...we even saw a pediatric gastro-internist doctor. Miralax is a miracle.

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    1. You're not the first to recommend it. I'm totally getting some Miralax as soon as possible!

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  11. noooooooooooooo no he didn't poop in his diaper the next morning!!! OMG i dread PT so much. :D

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    1. He did. ANd continues to do so. : ( Hopefully you'll have a more willing pooper!

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  12. This is great! I know exactly what you are talking about with the "poop corner." Drives me insane and makes me look like a crazy person as I hunt down my child frantically, knowing it will be in vain.

    He'll get it eventually. Maybe he needs a little "loosening" foods?

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    1. The poop corner totally cracks me up! Glad to hear other kids have the same wierd proclivities! ; )

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  13. Well, you know I can relate!! :-) You had me cracking up about the policeman and the doula. Too funny! I'm sorry he didn't jump for the animals, but. maybe next time?? We did the "get him up early" thing too. It definitely helped, but we've only just now gotten him back to getting up at a normal time. Awesome post!

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  14. Oh I love the way you got Freud involved there with his whole poop theory thing. (-;
    HYDRATE!

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  15. Interestingly my niece did the same thing you describe of Caleb. She pooped in her diaper in a corner. Her parents tried to reason with her. But nothing really dissuaded her. Eventually she decided it was messy and uncomfortable and she stopped. It'll happen. Funny story.

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    1. Can't wait for the day he decides it's too messy and uncomfortable! I'm holding on to hope that it'll happen soon...

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  16. Oh my goodness, I am dying laughing. I love your line, "He said he could feel the head. Maybe he just needed a doula."
    My son goes potty, but he calls all of his poops snakes or worms. So then I'm not allowed to flush them, because they are his friends. That's a whole different battle. This mom gig is so weird sometimes!

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    1. That's hilarious!! I wish Caleb would make friends with his poop - enough that he wants to liberate them from his diaper and take them to the pool...

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  17. Hahahahaha!! I was so excited for you I was about to tell MY neighbors! When my sister was born, I had already been totally potty trained. I was 2-1/2. The day she came home I stopped pooping. Wasn't gonna do it. Eventually it would creep out on its own so I always smelled like poop. My earliest memory, I swear, is having a doctor stick his finger up my butt to see if It was all just stuck.

    Poop rules.

    ~The G is Silent

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    1. Funny! See, it is very psychological. I guess as kids its one of the only things you can control. A new sibling must have rocked your world enough that you started wanting to take back some power?

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  18. my son was a lot harder in this regard then my daughter. boys. they make everything difficult :)

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    1. So I keep hearing. Almost reason to try for a third...

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  19. HAHAHAHAHA! I had to read this aloud to my husband. It was THAT good. A post about POOP was THAT good. The part about the policeman calling and telling him not to poop had me rolling. HA!

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  20. Hahha what an uphill battle. A poopy uphill battle.

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  21. I'm the mama of a poop holder too. It took what seemed like forever to get him fully potty trained. A 3.5 year olds poop is really not pleasant and I barely restrained myself from promising him a new puppy if he would finally for-the-love-of-poop go in the toilet. Ha!

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    1. Caleb is nearly 3 1/2, and you're right, that shit is vile! We've promised him the world, apparently it's not as good as pooping in the comfort of his diaper. : ( But maybe a puppy...

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  22. Oh this was so funny. The police called. Priceless! At one point my son told me he couldn't poop because his "butt was dying." Where do they get this stuff???

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    1. His butt was dying!?! That's awesome! Sometimes it smells as if his butt is dying. I have no idea where they get this stuff.

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  23. Ahh, I've held hands with a pooping child. Sad but true. I have to admit, I laughed out loud when he pooped in the diaper the next day. Sorry:)

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  24. We're going to try beating him at his own game by getting him up early. Good to know that it could reset his clock in the wrong direction!

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    1. This was supposed to be directed to Stacy!

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    2. Just saw this. :-) The upside is that after a couple months of getting up super early and leaving his room during rest time to go to the potty every day, he has finally let go of those set times. Maybe C will too? Best of luck!!

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  25. child #2 pooped in a diaper until his fourth birthday. he peed in the toilet but that other thing? nope. and yes, the whole ritual - he would go put on a pullup diaper, find a discreet corner, do his business, and that would be that. Sucked. Hated it. Too lazy/busy to alter the behavior (and, having read way more Freud in grad school than was good for me, thought we might scar him by forcing him to alter his habits...) On the morning of his 4th birthday, he started his ritual and his father said "nope, you're 4" took him into the bathroom, he pooped in the potty (my caleb, not my husband--he's been potty trained since I've known him, mostly) and has been potty pooping ever since. If you can stand it, let him be, is what I'd say. I mean, shit (literally): once you're wrist deep in the poop of Other Child, what's a little more? If you can swing it, let him think he's won the war...tell him, yep, he's right, diapers are better, that's fine, you're done. See what happens.

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    1. I absolutely love this advice. It totally fits in with my lazy parenting philosophy! ; ) And I think we could both use an excuse to relax about this whole thing. THanks so much for sharing this. It really does make me feel better!

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  26. Just to be clear, i fully support poop posts (that sounds wrong. but you get me.). This was freaking hilarious. I do so love the idea of a "poop doula" - so many possibilities! Thanks for sharing, you cracked me up!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this. I'm loving your blog by the way!

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  27. Oh there is always something with potty training, isn't there!? I have also held hands with my daughter on the toilet - feels so strange to be doing such a thing! A breakthrough is a breakthrough though - even if he did poop in the diaper the next morning, I think (hope!) you're on your way to diaper-free!

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  28. Haha! Oh, this is quite the first post to read as a new visitor to a blog. ;) Your blog intrigues me...I'll be back. Right after i poop.

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  29. HILARIOUS! Thank you! I needed to laugh today! :)

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  30. If there is one topic I love to read about, talk about, and write about, it is pooping.

    My favorite was when you "pulled off his diaper and demanded some defecation."

    Truly funny post and I literally laughed out loud.

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  31. Ah, the bribery, the forcefulness, the demands "YOU POOP NOW!" Been there, oh yes, been there! Daughter 2 peed on the potty for the first time last night. While I should be doing the happy dance, I'm more dreading the process. Diapers are just easy!

    And as for you, DRINK YOUR WATER!

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  32. I'm right there with ya sister. My son went 9 days without pooping once when he was little. Then, when he got older, and this only ended VERY recently (he's almost ten) he would have to be completely naked. There could be no towels hanging on the towel rack or bath mats on the floor. Everything near the toilet had to be put into the tub with the curtain closed around it. I asked him one day "where do you think it's going to go!?!" Oy.

    But we're past it now.

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  33. I have never, in my entire life of ups and downs, never suffered the emotional trauma and feelings of inadequacy like that of potty training my son. This post is awesome! I feel your pain, sista.

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  34. Funny stuff! Made me think of this scene from Austin Powers:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTBHaSn8bmA&feature=fvwrel

    Good luck to Caleb. And you!

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  35. Oh my gosh!! I laughed so hard! I didn't know poop could be this funny. Awesome.

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  36. From the Thelma & Louise reference to, "The policeman called and told me not to poop," I CRACKED UP while reading this post. And haven't we all had that poop that felt more like labor than a bowel movement?

    BTW, we're currently potty training and while the plumbing and the wiring seem to be connected for going #1, my daughter also still poops in her diaper. Every. Damn. Time. And she also runs off to a semi-private place to do it in a dignified manner - I mean, as dignified as you can be when you're crapping your pants.

    Also? We love The Napping House. :)

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  37. This is a fantastic post! A doula for poop!! HA!

    I'm guessing Caleb is now good with the potty, but just in case, for Emmet, if you don't already know these ones, our son loved two books in particular: Potty, by Leslie Patricelli, and Everyone Poops, by Taro Gomi. A good book can help a lot.

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