DISCLOSURE: I’m going to creep onto a proverbial limb here and continue exposing myself as a true mommy blogger. This is a post about poop. Flailing mylar slinky limbs! Danger Will Robinson! If the subject matter of this stereotypical mommy chatter offends you, read no further.
As a culture, we do not discuss poop. Like the bodily expulsion itself, this repression has a way of working its way out regardless. Potty humor seeps its way into lewd juvenile movies and playground snickering exits in stifled guffaws. But something happens once we become parents. We cannot stop talking about baby poop.
From that first tarry black splash of meconium to the barn fresh scent of mustard yellow poo, we begin to obsess about baby’s bowel movements. Each serves to measure the intake of mother’s milk, to insure proper nutrition and measure thriving babies. We become expert Coprologists, each of us. A floodgate opens and all our restraint from poop talk suddenly gushes out in waves of socially oppressed diarrhea. This poop talk continues up to potty training when it is no longer acceptable and we must teach our children to stop.
Like their big sister Ivy, both Tavi and Bea have learned the sign for poop. The thumb of one hand is held in the fist of the opposite and released with a pulling motion. Poop. They tell me when they poop and need a “chen-je”. While such encouraging awareness indicates potty training readiness, we still have a way to go. Recognizing the act and getting to a potty before the need are worlds apart and I’m not placing any pressure. And when the contents of my babies’ diapers start creating medical mysteries, I have to talk about it.
Even though we lived in a lead infested 1911 Craftsman Bungalow when Ivy was crawling, her blood levels were low. Although I Hepa vacuumed compulsively, I did not have to worry because Ivy was not what one would call a “mouthy” baby. But Tavi and Bea are an entirely different genetic mutation of the mouthier variety. The pair explore their world one taste at a time. And as what goes in, must come out; I have found some rather interesting surprises at the other end.
The first puzzler arrived in Tavi’s diaper. Wiping front to back as is the medical custom, I noticed something pulpy and white that I first mistook as part of the Huggy's moistened material. It was not, unless the cost per single unit is $18.00. Scrunching my face for closer scrutiny, I realized I was looking at a price tag. What was eighteen dollars? I made no such purchase. But we had been to the store earlier where apparently, in a scant unsupervised moment, Tavi had shoveled a piece of consumer floor debris into her pie hole. Well, no harm done, it came out intact as a humorous anecdote to tell Daddy after dinner.
A few weeks later I was working on daily diaper change number 1,004 (this time Bea) when I discovered what appeared to be a small, spherical, purple lump. I shuddered just a bit and chose to ignore it. But sure enough, during diaper change number 1,005 there it was again. And this time there were more of them. Fearing infant intestinal polyps and months of horrid medical procedures under protest, I steeled myself for a closer inspection. They looked like grapes! Little deflated grapes. Because I am not a first time mom, my parental concern level is often considerably diminished. Having twins also lowers one’s hysterical reaction bar but I am still cautious when feeding my babies food parceled in chokable morsels. I know I had not fed my children any grapes. Nor were there any grapes in the house. And, even with three lap urchins, I pride myself on being a somewhat fastidious house cleaner. I know my babies like to glean the ground for scraps but I quite literally clean my floors once a week. By hand. Down on all fours. I am not kidding. This is the number one reason I do not allow the wearing of shoes in our house.
So when did Bea eat not one, but several grapes? And why were they now whole in her diaper? As daddies are known to disregard all manner of technical motherhood prevention rules, I assumed him the culprit of the forbidden food size. When Daddy later denied any such doing, I believed him because he usually shrugs and eye rolls me in protest of scolding. This was proving to be a head-scratcher, but hopefully not a medical journal article.
The next day I had a Nancy Drew moment. Bea and Tavi were sitting at the kitchen island counter where I usually scatter crumbs and tidbits for them to eat while I drink coffee and read my email in peace. “Mo. Mo.” Bea was pointing to her palm in her version of the ASL for “More”. I reached for the cardboard container of raisins when it occurred to me. No way, it couldn’t be. But oh yes! Sure enough, later that evening there in Bea’s diaper were three plump reconstituted raisins. The case of the suspicious diaper polyps solved!
Just when I was starting to look forward to potty training and avoiding any more poop treats, Tavi struck again. (Twins like to tag team in many pursuits, although, unfortunately not when sharing butterfly bubble wands in the back yard.) I was stripping the girls down for their evening bath ritual when Tavi, smelling foul, signals for poop. I laid her down for a butt wiping when there in her diaper a tiny arm protruded from an intact baby turd. At first I thought the missing doll part had fallen down the front of her shirt and landed unfortunately into her diaper contents. But no, drowning not waving, in the fetid fecal matter was the desperate hand of Astro Boy, like a lost miniature hitchhiker waiting for rescue. I could not contain my disgust. “Eeeewwwwww! Gross!” Nonetheless, I also could not keep from laughing. I cautiously removed the discovered limb and dropped it into a barely diluted, toxic bath of Clorox. We bought that doll in Japan and I had no current plans to go back for a replacement.
Astro Boy’s prosthetic limb soaked in that cup of bleach for days while I mustered the courage to rinse it off. There it sat next to the shampoo shelf until Tavi discovered the cup and curiously dumped it into the bathwater containing my three girls. I was flipping through my newest Bust magazine arrival when I heard Ivy tattling on her baby sister. “Mom, Tavi is blah blah blah…” I respond “Uh huh” and reluctantly looked up in time to see Tavi handling the crap encrusted arm and drinking the dregs of the fecal bleach and water stew. It doesn’t stop with this kid. I yanked the cup and the body part away from Tavi and immediately pulled the plug. “Everyone OUT!” I was definitely more disturbed by the bleach exposure than the smidge of poop flakes floating in the draining water. In my best Freudian moment, I washed out the tub, reinserted all three girls in a fresh pool and inspected Astro Boy’s reappearing arm. It looked ok, but I delicately placed it in a plastic bag where it is still awaiting reattachment.
I’m not sure I will be able to make Astro Boy whole again and allow my kids to play with him without feeling a little disgusted. Maybe I’ll pack him away and wait for the recommended age of three when Tavi should be over her oral fixation and I’ll have forgotten the whole sordid incident. Or perhaps I should erect a shrine to the Roman goddess, Cloacina, in the bathroom and offer all my scatological findings to her cause.
I warned you!