Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beyond #2



Warning: Blog rated Mature Audiences Only (for gross content.)

I would like to know why, amidst all the advice I received from family and friends over the years (especially pre-kid years) that no one, I mean NO ONE, mentioned how much time I would spend dealing with poop.

I’m sure you’re thinking I have some fascination with this particular waste product, some type of fecal fetish, or at least a form of obsession. While I do admit to a mild case of OCD, it generally surrounds the abhorrence of germs and a preoccupation with personal and family safety. No poop issues here.

But I have spent the last 9 years of my life inspecting poop and trying to label, describe, and define it. I’ve never been one of those parents who can simply ask their child, “Did you go number one, or number two?” It’s way beyond #2. I can’t be alone in this, and yet, I have never seen an article in any parenting magazine labeled: “Poop Signs and Symptoms: What to look for in your child’s turd.” My son having a variety of lower GI issues, we’ve had to monitor for size, consistency, and regularity. Since there are no poop-identifier-cards (like the tick-identifier-cards we get at the beginning of each summer), we create analogies in order to communicate to the doctors what we are dealing with.

Was it the size of a small cucumber?
Was it in one long piece, or were there many smaller pieces?
Did it look firm, like a zucchini, or was it softer and frayed around the edges, like fresh mozzarella au jus?
Was it made up of smaller poop balls, or did it look formed, like a playdoh roll?
Was it the length of your finger? Your hand? Your arm?

There is nothing like bonding with your husband, both heads pondering the contents of the toilet, monocles in hand.
“What do you think Inspector Vidoni?” I ask in my best English accent.
“Wow, Inspector Vidoni. Bigger than a baby carrot, not quite a pickling cuke, I dare say,” he replies.

With our middle child it was less about form and more about content. As the remains were usually always of the creamy variety, we opened diapers, held them to the light, and examined for foreign substances.

Was there mucus present?
If so, what color was it?
Was it separate from the poop or mixed right in?
Was there blood?
If so, what color was it?
Bright red? (okay) Black? (bad)
How much mucus and/or blood was there?
Less than a tablespoon? More than a dollop? A smidge? A smattering? Enough to butter a bagel, but not enough make a sandwich?

If we found an offending diaper (and we often did) it was saved until the doctors visit, so she could also, examine, inspect and surmise.

Enter child #3. I prayed this one would have no GI issues or food allergies leading to blood in the stool. And guess what? She’s fine. Allergy-and-GI-problem-free. No reason we need to search her diaper for strange substances or try to effectively describe size and shape. Sure she eats it, but still.

No, this child is blessed with bowels that work properly even if her poop-timing is all off. My last child’s favorite time to poop is during her bath. I suppose there is nothing quite so relaxing as relieving yourself in four inches of lukewarm water. I personally haven’t tried this, but perhaps I should. I’m always hoping it’s just a bit of gas—all that grunting and bubbles—but inevitably those are sure signs of doodie. The unfortunate bit for me is that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill poop. There are no floating turds, easy to scoop out of the water with the plastic bath cup. I’m not that lucky. My youngest leaves behind (pardon the pun) what can only be described as…butt vomit.

I know. I’m gagging too. Currently, as I re-live this event that happened only minutes ago, I’m gagging. I skipped dinner and un-tapped another beer because, quite frankly, I feel nauseous.

Because my daughter has only two front bottom teeth, and yet eats everything found hither and yon, quite a large amount of that matter remains in original form and escapes mastication. The good news is that she is able to eat without gagging and choking. Those little toothless mandibles really do their job in this department. The bad news is that what happens to miss the gums, comes out in the same form it went in. Chunky, colorful, resembling goulash or perhaps veggie stew. At least that’s what tonights looked like. After emptying the bath water all that remained was extremely reminiscent of what I find in my sink drainer after I’ve completed the dinner dishes. It took all my strength, a lung-full of air and four (yes I’m wasteful) Brawny paper towels to eliminate her remains.

I’m blogging about this because I’m wondering if I’m alone in it. While I know that my baby is the only one in my town, in my state, in my country that eats fecal matter, I’m wondering if I’m the only parent who has had to dedicate a good portion of their life to poop inspection. And why hasn’t there been an article in Parenting magazines on this? (No one scoop me; it’ll be my first query letter.) Why hasn’t Mike Rowe been to my house to tape an episode of Dirty Jobs? There are days when I could really give those cesspool pumpers and cow inseminators a run for their money.