There has been too much depth and intensity around this blog lately. I figured it was time to lighten things up a bit with a topic near and dear to my heart, a topic that exposes my crazy like none other: feces.
I could just be feeling sorry for myself, but I feel like in this household, we have shouldered much more than our fair share of poop over our parenting tenure.
We’ve had constipation issues. There was a period of time where we should have bought stock in Miralax. We should have marketed our awesome homemade baby food concoction that we lovingly referred to as “poop cubes.” We had an ER visit for suspected rectal prolapse. We’ve had children crying when they even thought about having to poop.
We’ve had years of diarrhea issues. We’ve had two children with milk protein allergies throughout the first year of life, which involved all kinds of fun, including diarrhea 10-12 times a day with giant, weeping rashes wherever the poop touched their skin. We found a child who, having gotten up in the middle of the night with diarrhea, was fast asleep on the little potty. We’ve had an entire month where diarrhea was so bad, we couldn’t travel, had to plan trips around town based on proximity to bathrooms, and supplement with electrolytes daily. Our toilet paper use to date could probably supply an elementary school.
We’ve had issues we didn’t even realize were bowel related, including migraines, excema, years and years of night screaming and fatigue. I have been that parent who took pictures of poop and showed it to the pediatrician. I discovered an amazing app called the “Bowel Mover.” I’ve collected poop samples for lab tests. I’ve discovered that I have friends who love me so much that they will collect a poop sample of my kid’s poop to take to the lab (I love you, Sharon!).
In short, we have been dealing with a lot of crap in this house.
But, as I’ve been thinking over the common things in my life, looking for the fabulous, I realized something unexpected and completely ridiculous: our family poop saga has actually been a beautiful gift. Here’s how:
Less embarrassment. Because we’ve had to be such close monitors of private bathroom time, we have been able to have lots and lots and lots of conversations about bodies and bodily functions. We’ve talked about what is “normal.” They have been able to see why it’s important to discuss and share the “abnormal” with parents and doctors rather than hide it, and how this information helps us find out what is wrong and make it better. We’ve helped to pass on the idea that all these gross things in the bathroom are just a normal part of life and they help us make sure everything is working OK on the inside.
Greater scientific curiosity. Because of the aforementioned conversations, we’ve had LOTS of conversations about how the body works, where everything goes and why things come out looking like they do. We’ve discussed why tortoise and horse poop are great for our garden, but our poop is not. We’ve ventured into the realm of urine and chemistry and gotten urine test strips on Amazon to see how our liquid and food consumption affects the chemicals in our pee. Yup, we’re a normal family.
Closer relationships. While there is still normal kid embarrassment with bathroom stuff, the topic is not taboo and they feel comfortable talking to us about what’s going on. Because we’ve been having these conversations on private topics as they have grown, we have established a respectful, safe closeness. This has allowed us to start to cross into other uncomfortable areas relating to bodies with less push-back. I am hoping this precedent continues into the teenage years. There’s nothing like poop to bring a family together.
I would never choose to have the string of digestive issues with which we’ve had to live. But I can see the glimmer of fabulous in our poop-filled lives.