If I never see another pile of someone else’s poo—never mind. Not gonna happen. At least not for a few years. But it can’t get any more poo-themed than recent months have been for me.
Funny, but poo never seemed so prevalent before. Not when Jackson was a baby or toddler, not during Max’s first few years, not even when William first arrived. But poo has completely taken over. Uncle, I say. I don’t want to have to smell it, I don’t want to accidentally touch it, and I definitely don’t want to have to decide what to do with it.
Of course, there’s a good explanations for the notable rise in the flow of feces in my life: With William well into the food-eating stage, I have more loads to clean up than ever before. Three, to be exact, not counting my own. Yeah, one of them’s a dog—what, like that doesn’t count? And piling on to the, uh, pile, Sarah’s dog from her previous marriage (yes, there are such things as dogs from previous marriages) also makes periodic appearances, and brother, can that dog poo.
Oh, and then there are the neighborhood cats, which, since the day we moved in, have treated our yards as their own personal litter boxes. We went so far as to invest about $1,000 turning our weed-and-dirt side yard (cat heaven!) into a Tuscan themed vineyard, with a stepping-stone and pebble hardscape, only to have the cats poo in the pebbles. But I digress.
At the risk of ruining your lunch, I thought I’d provide a primer on crapping categories by recounting a few of the more colorful poo-poo incidents of recent months, most of which center around Max. (Sorry, buddy: When you read this one day, I’ll owe you.) If you’ve got kids, these scenarios probably sound familiar. If you haven’t had kids yet, well, consider yourself duly warned:
This one’s a doozy. One afternoon, we were at the playground around the corner from our house, and I’d given Max his two-minute warning. As I put William in the stroller, Max began to freak out behind me. I turned, and he was just standing in the middle of the playground—which is crowded, mind you—screaming bloody murder. Which, as the parents of children in the midst of toilet training may recognize, is often a sign that a kid who’s been holding in No. 2 for days is about to let loose. And let loose, Max did. But pooing in his pants wasn’t embarrassing enough, not for my kid. No siree. Instead, as he starts to soil himself, Max decides to pull his pants and undies down and walk toward me, screaming, as poo dribbles down his legs, all over his pants and socks and anything else unfortunate enough to make contact with him. Needless to say, it was a long walk back home.
The Impromptu Outhouse
This incident was much less dramatic than the Scream-n-Smear but nonetheless far removed from a parent’s dream scenario. Max and I were at the amazing Adventure Playground in Berkeley (Google it—it’s a perfect counter to today’s overly hawkish parenting), and Max was having a grand old time playing in his favorite attraction, an old wooden boat carcass. At some point I realized that he’d been very quiet and I couldn’t see him anywhere. I yelled his name, and the top of his head peeked out from the dark of one of the boat’s windows, but he didn’t move any further. Worried, I asked him what he was doing, and he answered, very matter-of-factly, “I’m pooing.” Less than 15 minutes into our outing, and I have to run him to one of the smelliest restrooms in the Western Hemisphere, perform a poo-in-pants-ectomy, customarily tossing the underwear in the process, and head home to recuperate.
The Checkout Challenge
Every parent has experienced some version of the child pooing in line at the grocery store or Target or Costco or Disneyland or wherever. Our most memorable version, which I was not present for, came during one of Sarah’s visits to her favorite East Bay nursery. As they were standing in line, Max began screaming at the top of his lungs, distracting mommy and the store clerk from their appointed transaction. Sareah immediately ran to the nursery’s port-a-potty, and proceeded to hover Max over the “toilet” as he continued to scream loud enough for all of the other customers to hear. Ah, quality mother-son time.
Mayhem at the Memorial
I realize not every one has had a funereal poo crisis. You'll consider yourselves lucky as I describe the 30 minutes I endured at a recent memorial for the father of one of Sarah’s good friends. As the family began to tell stories about the deceased—always the most interesting part of any memorial, if you ask me—I realized we hadn’t seen Max in a bit. I headed off to look, and found him in a room in the house with several other children. Only he wasn’t playing with them, he was standing alone behind the couch, which can only mean thing. “Oh, no you don’t,” I said to him, determined not to let him stand there stinking up a house that was in mourning. I swooped him up and carried him over my shoulder out to our van, where he stood under a tree to finish relieving himself. Fortunately, being aware that he was overdue, we had him wearing a pull-up in case of such an emergency. But a pull-up can only do so much, and this one succumbed to an epic poo that squeezed out of the diaper and up his back. Sadly, I was unaware of this until I actually went to remove said diaper, at which time I managed to get poo all over the floor mats of the van, not to mention Max’s shirt, and part of one of the seats. It was quite a scene, one that required almost the entire large package of wipes we smartly keep in the car. (Thank goodness Mom thought to bring extra clothes.) Naturally, while I was gone, I missed all the of the immediate family’s tributes. Foiled by poo yet again.
Much less frustrating than Max’s public poo melodramas, but certainly the most eye-popping poo William has taken to date. The poo itself was straight-forward enough: As Sarah started changing a dirty diaper, she was unaware that William wasn’t finished. Suddenly, a squeeze, and a stream of poo a foot long came flying out of his rear end, landing in an extended line across the changing pad, onto the top of the dresser, and—what makes this whole incident noteworthy—stopping literally millimeters short of showering my brand new MacBook Pro. No pun intended, but I’d have shit in my pants had that poo rained down on my keyboard.
The Bedroom Bombing
A classic moment of rebellion. Max, whom I’ve no doubt made clear has been less than happy about William’s arrival and the resulting loss of attention, has seemingly been using his bowels to get back at us. One afternoon, he’d been napping in our room, which is always a risk. But he’d been sound asleep, and I’d been working happily in the next room. When I heard some movement, I walked in to find a shocking scene. First, there was the toilet paper that had been streamed all over the room, which looked like it had been the site of a ticker-tape parade. Then there were the various items from Sarah’s makeup bag strewn about the bed. (Luckily, THIS time he didn’t actually apply said makeup to the sheets. The previous time we weren’t so lucky.) As I was standing there, slack-jawed, and was just beginning to come up with the words to react, Max, who’s standing on the floor, points to a spot on the rug and says, proudly, “Look!” And, you guessed it, a steaming pile of feces was sitting there. A present to Mommy and Daddy. Oh, joy.
The Buzzer Beater
This is the latest entry, having just occurred a week or two ago. And I have to preface this story with a side story about how Max has taken to peeing in the morning in the corner of his room, all over his closet door. The pee collects in a puddle that trickles under the door, soaking anything it touches and, now, forming a stain on the hardwood floor. Grrr. Anyway, he’d done that this morning, resulting in much fireworks, as we’ve gone through this a dozen times now. Fast-forward to early afternoon. I’ve picked him up from pre-school and returned home to eat my lunch, give him a snack (he lunches at school), and put him down for a nap. So I let him know it’s nap time and head up to his room to put on a pull-up and tuck him in. As we get into his room, not more than 30 seconds before the pull-up would have been on him, he stops and announces, “I’m pooing,” and proceeds to unleash his bowel and his bladder in his pants. I tell him to stop and carry him to the bathroom, where he proceeds to continue pooing and peeing, the latter all over the bathroom floor. And yes, another pair of underwear found its way to the trash. (That makes at least 20 pairs over the months.) As if all of that wasn’t enough, later in the afternoon, when we came back from a pre-dinner park run, he went in his room and peed on his closet door again.
Needless to say, we’re open to suggestion.