Did you ever think you would care so much about poop?
I work in geriatrics, yet I clearly missed all of the warning signs that my life would be defined by poop. I thought, maybe when I get older I will understand how pooping (or not pooping) will affect my day, but never did I believe it will happen at the ripe age of 35.
I should back-up a bit. My first date with my husband began my journey down this poopy road. On our first date, we went to a pizza joint. It was awesome. I love pizza with a deep passion. So, like the gentleman he is, he let me order…. “I’ll have a large meat lovers pizza and a side of bread sticks.” That evening, my boyfriend (now husband) watched as I ate over half of the pizza and most of the bread sticks. I think he was worried that I would feel self-conscious, so he tried to keep up. He failed, and I didn’t even notice.
Later that evening, as we were watching a movie he felt sick and disappeared to the bathroom multiple times. I asked him if he was okay, and he reported to me that he felt better now that he took medication for his stomach. I asked him what he took (nurse nancy), and he told me 8 tablets of Imodium. WHHHHHHHHATTTT? He had no clue, he just saw that it said “for stomach relief,” and well, that’s what he needed.
I spent the next 2 weeks asking him (about every 4 hours) if he had pooped yet. He couldn’t have been more embarrassed and changed the subject every time I asked. (He’s okay, for those of you wondering… but I still don’t know how long it took him to have his first poop.)
Fast forward to today. S, my three year old, pooped in the potty. On her own. With no prompting and no medicine. It changed my day. Who knew it would be so life changing?
S started to have a desire to potty train around 18 months old (I was 9 months pregnant with A, great timing kiddo). She wanted to be like a big kid and use the potty. So began our journey. She did VERY well with peeing. She had accidents but her mantra was “no pee in the undies” and she mostly stuck to it.
Pooping… an entirely different story. She pooped on the potty for the first (and pretty much last time) last November (2016!). My husband and I were out that night and we got a photo from the sitter with a very proud S standing next to her poop-filled potty. WOOOOO HOOO party on girlfriend! She got a special baby doll and we thought we were through the woods.
For the next 10 months, S would only poop in a diaper. She wore diapers for nap and bedtime only, therefore she only pooped during those time. So, 2 months ago we took away all diapers. This led to 2 loads of soiled-linen laundry a day, as well as a poop strike. S would hold her poop for 5-10 days at a time, and would only poop when given medicine “in her bum” (i.e. suppositories).
We were desperate. I took her to the doctor. He told her she had to poop everyday, that night she came home and pooped…. then again, back to the poop strike. She pooped during her swim lessons, and let me tell you, a weeks worth of poop is NO MATCH for a swim diaper. The entire pool had to be shut down, thanks to S’s poop-gate (not the first time, by the way… if you live local and would like a list of pools to avoid, let me know).
We tried gifts- princess barbie dolls, to be exact. We tried sticker charts. We tried treats. NOTHING. Like most “strong willed” children, S had to figure this out on her own.
This week, S pooped in her undies 2 times, once during nap and once during bedtime. I stopped being surprised. I just figured this was my life… forever. I stopped getting mad at her, seriously, what’s the point? I stopped giving her medicine.
Today, while she was “napping” I hear, “MOM! I have to go poop!” Like the great mom that I am, I scream from my bed (unwilling to pause the “One Tree Hill” re-run on Netflix) “go ahead kiddo, you know where the potty is.” I figured, one of two thing is occurring: 1- she already went and I have a huge mess to clean up, so I might as well see if Nathan and Haley are going to get back before I start the disinfecting or, 2- she’s bluffing and is just trying to avoid nap time.
So, imagine my surprise when I go and check on her and she has POOPED IN THE POTTY! No assistance from me, no potty chair, no crying, no bribes, no medicine. She did it. She got up, announced herself, and pooped.
It’s been almost a year of me pushing her, asking everyone I know for advice, and finally giving up. It turns out, she needed nothing at all. S just needed some freedom to make her own decision.
Sometimes it is so hard to be patient as a parent. From the outside looking in, I see this situation and go “yea, duh?!” But living it is an entirely different beast. You question yourself, your techniques, your patience, your parenting, and your child. In the end, it all comes full circle.
The mom in me says “give it time” but the nurse in me says… OH NO SHE’S GOING TO NEVER POOP AND SHE’S GOING TO GET A BOWEL OBSTRUCTION AND END UP IN THE HOSPITAL!
That, and the idea that she’s going to poop her pants forever, were the driving forces behind my anxiety. But today I learned to back off. Much like my first date, not everyone wants to discuss their poop in detail. And, not everyone poops, or learns to poop, the same way.
I am not a bad mom, and I am not a great mom. I am average, and with that, I will relinquish my poop obsession until I am at least 65 years old, when pooping truly will define my day.
Hooray for being a big girl today, S. ❤