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The United States of Poo

19 Oct


One of the many things they don’t mention in parenting books is the normal circumference of a two-year-old’s poop. Why should this matter? Well, my two-year-old, Phoebe, was laying poop pipe with the diameter of an adult-sized turd. No wonder her little bum started to bleed. It wasn’t anything drastic, just a little red smear on the toilet paper. But it was enough to make me panic. After collecting a stool sample for the doctor, an interesting task in and of itself, I was apprised of my daughter’s unusual poo girth. The temporary solution? Miralax stool softener.

The downside of a Miralax regimen for a toddler is that it often narrows the already narrow margin of error for distinguishing between the urge to fart and the urge to defecate. A few days ago, Miralax blurred this distinction for my potty-trained daughter at her most vulnerable: the haze of sleep.

The diarrhea hit her during the tail end of her nap, and she woke up while she was already in the process of polluting her pants. All I heard from her room was a violent outburst of “Oh No! I’m pooping! I can’t stop! Mommy!”

I opened the door and she was standing in the middle of the floor with butt sludge oozing out of her pants and running down her little legs. The look on her face was completely indignant. She was standing on her tip-toes and struggling to keep her balance.

“Why is this happening Mommy?”

It was so pathetic. I scooped her up hastily because I feared that if she fell, the overloaded pull-up would literally explode and send the poop soup spraying in all directions.

I made a bee-line for the tub. We needed a space with water and a drain. The smell was awful, and I recognized it as that fetid brand of dog shit that occurs when the dog eats something it shouldn’t have. I peeled off the clothes and put them in the sink. They were sopping wet. The pull-up pants were bloated and nearly bursting at the seams. When I pulled them down…well, let’s just say that Willy Wonka would have been proud.

I handed the shower head to Phoebe and instructed her to sit down while I ran to the kitchen to get some grocery bags. The shitty pull-up needed to be triple bagged and removed haz-mat style. Phoebe has never had a bowel movement so foul, and I pray she never does again. It was a diabolical combination of a black bean quesadilla and left over falafel.

When I returned with the grocery bags, Phoebe was standing in the tub directing the spray at her belly and watching the thick clumps of black bean-falafel paste make their way towards the drain. She was laughing and pointing at the clumps as casually as if she were cloud watching.

“Look Mom, that one looks like South Carolina.” I peered into the tub.

“Well what do you know,” was all I could muster between belly laughs.
It really did look just like it. Is it weird that I felt a little proud?

It’s a Crappy Job, but…

19 Oct



I take my daughter to a beautiful children’s garden in Columbia, South Carolina. It is an idyllic piece of land on a hilltop overlooking a lake. Butterflies flit about, bumblebees buzz from flower to flower, birds sing from pine trees and swoop from feeder to feeder. We love everything about the garden, except the facilities. There are two port-a-potties. Those are the facilities. The garden’s proximity to a major shopping district makes it the perfect place for my two-year-old to blow off steam after a morning of errands. The downside is that after a morning of errands and a lunch at Moe’s Tex-Mex, the toddler pipes are usually ready to dispatch something that for some reason couldn’t manifest itself in the immaculate restrooms of Target just thirty minutes before.

I’ve been frequenting the children’s garden since I was pregnant. Never in those three years have I seen the honey pot service that empties the port-a-potties. Until last week. My daughter, Phoebe, had just informed me that she had to pee and she couldn’t hold it much longer.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart. You can go in the port-a-potty here at the garden.”

As soon as I uttered, “garden,” a noisy truck rounded the bend behind us and cut across the grass to where the port-a-potties stand sentinel near some large shrubs.

“What is that Mommy?” asked Phoebe.

“Oh, no! That’s the truck that sucks the poopy and pee pee out of the toilets. If we hurry we can get to the potty and ask the nice man if we can go pee pee before he cleans it.”

Why I assumed that a man whose sole employment consists of toting around an enormous vacuum cleaner for strangers’ shit would be nice, I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that he seemed intensely bitter about his lot in life. Phoebe and I were dashing towards the port-a-potties when his glare stopped up in our tracks.

“ ’scuse me, I need to pee pee,” my daughter offered meekly, doing the proverbial ‘gotta-go’ dance.

“Sir, we would really appreciate it if we could use the bathroom before you clean it. She’s two and, well you know how that is. I don’t know how long she can hold it.”

He looked right at me, hard lines around his eyes squinting with disapproval. The man was only three feet from us. He had to have heard us. He looked at my dancing toddler who was holding her crotch; he looked at me. He made a decision. He turned his back to us and grabbed the crap-encrusted nozzle of the shit sucker and thrust it into the first port-a-potty and planted himself between the first and second port-a-potty so no one could access either ‘facility.’

“Mommy, I really have to go.”

“I know sweetheart. Maybe it won’t take too long. Excuse me, sir? How long before we could use the toilet?” His reply was to take the hose out of one shit pot and plug it into the other, stare at me menacingly, then turn his back again to grab a bucket of chemicals from the truck which he proceeded to chuck into the first port-a-potty, presumably to disinfect its floor.

“He’s not listening to us,” Phoebe pleaded.

“No, Phoebe,” I said loudly for his benefit. “He’s not. So, you know what?” You can go right here.” I yanked her pants down while returning the glare of the disgruntled honey pot dumper. She squatted while I supported her, making a wide puddle of piss that trailed off in a winding yellow river that stopped just short of the angry man’s boot.

“Ahhhh,” said Phoebe, relieved. “You know Mommy sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Not everyone is nice.”

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