I’ve been checking it, prodding it, poking it, sniffing it, sizing it, colour-charting it, weighing it, questioning it. Poop, that is. I’ve become a veritable poop detective a la the 1980’s – a Columbo of crap, a Magnum PI of merde, a Jessica Fletcher of jobee. Who knew excrement could be so taxing? I’m pooped from all this poop....
I write of course about my toddler Eliza’s business, not my own. She had been badly constipated for the past two weeks – it had been all pink-faced, grunting, wheezing, squealing effort for a few deposits of lumpy, rabbit-like poop in her diaper every three days. This coming from a child whose newborn poop record was 15 times in a day.
In efforts to seduce her poops out, I tried all manner of slinky foodstuffs – beans, peas, lentils - including of course the Barry White of the sexy fibre world – prunes. I tried them pureed, in juice, you name it but I’d have been as well trying to snake-charm them out. The bowels it seemed were not for moving.
After consulting the paediatrician we tried a mild laxative and thankfully her nappy contents have now graduated from pitiful hard lumps to voluptuous, smooth, artful mounds. I’ve been in my diaper inspection element, deciphering the evidence and separating the good guys from the bad. But come today, there really was no need for further scrutiny. Things are as good as back to normal. They were yesterday too. I told myself to step away from the dirty diaper but it had real pulling power. It took every effort to slip it into the blue, crinkly abyss of the Diaper-Genie, never to be seen again.
Oh how I’ve progressed! A few years ago, I used to dry heave watching my goldfish poop and don’t get me started on picking up dog crap. The thought of bagging a still-warm canine poop – who’d do such a thing? Looking back, how easy is that compared with de-pooping a baby? There are no wipes involved and no need for renditions of ‘Round and Round the Garden.’
Before Eliza was born we attended parenting prep classes involving Nappy Change 101 amongst other helpful workshops. I’d never changed a diaper in my life so there was no surprise when I put the doll’s one on back to front much to Husband N’s amusement.
Except no workshop prepares you for how much newborns poop. Like, really poop. The hospital handed out a card showing how we could expect her poop to change over the first seven days. It was like a colourful paint swatch from the Home Depot – tar black, green, green-with-a-hint-of-yellow, mustard yellow etc. Is this what my life had come to? Poop charts?
I was a dreadful novice nappy changer. Newborns need changed regularly and I left Eliza festering in dirty nappies for hours because I was so scared of changing her – and scared of what I might find. Nurses suggested we use cotton wool balls and water rather than wipes and on one memorable change in particular, I remember emptying three quarters of a bag of balls before she was finally good to go.
But then finally something clicked. I realised this wasn’t Dancing With the Stars – my nappy changes weren’t subject to scrutiny or, god forbid, votes. As for the contents of these nappies – it belonged to my baby therefore it was to be cherished.
And so began my love affair with Eliza’s poop. As we moved through the various colours on the chart, I applauded its efforts. Go the poop! I saw it for what it really was – a means by which I could tell my baby was okay when at just six days old, it was very difficult for her to tell me herself.
Even after they passed from those cuddly, breast-milk-only poops into the murky, less-easy-to-love world of solids, my fascination with them has continued. Oh, the stories they tell, the places they’ve been.
But although a great champion of the poop, one does get used to them becoming less frequent as your baby ages. Even still, I’ll take newborn poop changes 15 times a day rather than deal with a toddler’s three-day poop strike.
Soon I’ll be returning to those frenzied poop days with baby Number Two but with the additional plus of toddler nappies to change too. I’ll need to remember and carry two diaper types with me, extra wipes etc. Maybe I’ll require a diaper bag upgrade to a bigger model. There I was thinking it was new cars, cribs, car-seats and carriers we should be focussing on. I hadn’t considered all the extra crap – the literal stuff, not the figurative. The Diaper-Genie will have its work cut out. Once the poop detective has been through her inspections of course...