It would have been nice if someone had warned me. Knowledge is power, and there really is no way to truly understand how much poop is involved with parenting. We do a disservice to new parents by keeping quiet on these big questions: How can I survive changing diapers for that many years? Will My heart still swell with love and affection when my baby is covered in excrement? It’s time to break down the truth about the brown.
They ease you into the poop, the babies. And it’s conceptually easy, “yeah, I’ll be changing diapers, but look how cute and tiny the diapers are! And they have Elmo on them!” They start you with the tiny smear poos; they don’t fill the diaper but leave an odorless-mustardy-liquid streak and you think, “I can definitely handle this!” You don’t want to brag, but two weeks in and you’re nailing his parenting thing.
Then a few weeks later, it really hits the fan. Suddenly it’s escalated and you’re dealing with blowouts, which you’ve heard veteran parents laugh about all the time. But then it happens to you and you wonder, “WHY WERE THEY LAUGHING?!” Your baby is covered in feces and removing the poop covered outfit (that you just put on five minutes ago) only makes it worse. You’ve managed to spread the poop, literally from head to toe, undoubtedly necessitating a bath. And you best hope baby is done for the moment, lest he grunt and fill your bath with a mustard-toned cloud, slowly spreading beneath the surface of the tub.
You start solids and enjoy the new routine, watching baby experiment with new flavors and textures. Now you’re also inevitably experiencing some new flavors and textures during diaper changes. Overnight, the innocuous baby manure transforms into straight-up human feces. It’s foul smelling and distinct. Somehow your diaper pail (regardless of how much you spent on it) stops working and walking into the nursery smells like you’ve walked into a port-a-potty at Rib-fest in the dead of summer. You come to terms with the fact that you keep a bin of human waste in the same room where your precious child sleeps.
That sweet baby becomes a toddler and the “number twos” persist. You convince yourself that once your little one is potty-trained, your face-to-face interactions with other peoples’ feces will decrease. Don’t believe this lie. You’ll still spend just as much time cleaning bottoms. And should your ambitious little toilet user decide to attempt wiping themself, you can add walls, clothing, floors and fingernails to your list of surfaces you’ve sanitized due to poo-contamination.
If you’re lucky, your child will be regular. Of course this means wiping multiple butts daily before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee. At least you’re not stuck along side the less fortunate parents of irregular children, who spend much of their time using assitive methods to help their poor child pass a bowel movement. The supplements, the dietary considerations, the enemas; Suddenly the waste basket full of soiled pre-moistened toddler wipes doesn’t sound so bad.
You send them off to school, out into the world, off to wipe their own rears. You enter the “skid-mark” years and you constantly revisit proper wiping techniques to avoid the hamper full of brown-streaked undies. At this point all the poop becomes one big crass metaphor for parenthood in general: You wade through all the early poop-proliferated years, trudging through the feces-filled trenches and then suddenly your little skid-marked birdie has flown the nest.
You surprise yourself and disprove what you had believed all your life, that poop is a real relationship deal-breaker. Ends up, the relationship involving the most fecal matter is one of the most precious relationships you’ll ever have. Despite the truly immense quantity of poop you end up handling, (multiplied by the number of children you have) it’s just a phase.
So I won’t tell you to enjoy the turd-trodden years; That just seems cliche. It is helpful to prepare yourself, at least mentally, for the massive amounts of waste handling that parenting requires. While knowledge IS power, so is love. Love, especially in parenting, means rolling up your sleeves and getting elbow deep in that $#£%.