Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SGW: Poop Happens

Today's Special Guest Writer is Rebekah from the amazing blog Mom In A Million.  We just love her and (gasp) we actually know her(!).  She came out to Kate's house and drank T-boxes in the driveway with us one time.  And she was as hilarious and cool in person as the great stuff she posts on her blog.  Plus she's always willing to help us when we get confused, which is a lot.  Thank you so much Rebekah, being awesome sauce and also for writing this guest post on the all-important, ubiquitous maternal topic of crap

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Poop happens.

It does. Any parent who’s ever obsessed about an infants pooping schedule can tell you that it’s true. Except when it isn’t true and the baby doesn’t poop for three days and you frantically phone the pediatrician with a copy of What to Expect in the First Year in one hand and a bottle of prune juice in the other wildly begging for a poop solution. Meanwhile, the baby is probably happily playing with your car keys and not worrying about poop at all.

Anyway.

Poop happens to all of us. Preferably, it happens in the privacy of our home bathrooms where strangers, co-workers and in-laws can remain blissfully unaware of the workings of our GI tracts. These little poop sojourns can be blissful time for mommies because when else can you sit down and flip through InStyle for a few minutes? OK, never if you have a toddler because no doubt the little ingrate will barge right on in and peer at you as you sit, pants around your ankles, and cheerfully ask “What are you doing?” as you close your eyes and pray to Maude to get him out of the freakin’ bathroom so you can poop in peace!

But sometimes we can’t control where we are when we have to poop. Sometimes, we have to poop in public. It’s never ideal. No one wants to do their business where they do business or at the mall or, heaven help us, someplace like Union Station where the bathrooms are so gross that it would take a nuclear weapon to eradicate the smell. Seriously, the restrooms there are the world’s Strategic Repository of Fart Smell. I think we’re eventually going to use that smell to bring a dangerous rogue nation to its knees. Which is why I threw up in my mouth when I found out that a US Senator was soliciting anonymous sex in the men’s room there a few years ago. ::dry heaves:: It still makes me sick. I mean, who can get turned on in a place that smells like the inside of Fat Bastard?

Because we do sometimes need to poop in public and because none of us want to be responsible for contributing to the Ick Factor that makes finding a clean stall in Target feel like a game of Whack-A-Poop-Mole, we should all engage in some Pooping Etiquette.

Courtesy Flush: Sometimes, when you’ve had a lot of fiber for breakfast, pooping is more marathon than sprint. In cases like this, it’s only fair to the others around you to flush repeatedly during the process. Get rid of the evidence while still committing the crime, as it were. Yeah, I know, flushing while you’re still stilling on the pot seems like a recipe for getting your butt sprayed with toilet water but you can Purell your butt when you’re done. Other people can’t Purell their noses.

Follow Through: Not all flush mechanisms are created equal. Some are deliberately created to be less equal. In my office we had low-flow flushers installed to make our bathrooms greener by using less water. That means the flush is ineffective about 50% of the time and often leaves things in the bowl that no one needs to see. Keep your diet secrets to yourself, please, and just keep flushing until the water runs clear. I know it’s not as environmentally friendly but at the same time, it’s friendly to those in your immediate environment and they will thank you for it.

Spritz: If there’s air freshener available, use it. ‘Nuff said.

Wipe: Wiping is not just for your tush. Wipe down the seat if there’s anything on it. Even if it’s just water from repeated flushing. Even if it’s the Purell you dripped on it while trying to disinfect your butt. Wipe, wipe, wipe because no one else wants to wipe up your mess, including the people who clean the bathroom and get paid far too little to be responsible for your mess!

Now, those of us with little children often have to manage poop that comes out of an entirely separate person when we’re out in public. I cannot speak to the situation of having to put a small child on a potty and deal with that sort of pooping because my son is 2-and-a-half and only wants to get near a potty when he thinks he can throw something in it. But diapering in public? I’m quite familiar with all of that. The big etiquette point I offer to everyone traversing the world with small poop machines is please, please, please remember plastic bags. I like plastic grocery bags for sealing up a stanky diaper before tossing it in the trash can. (Actually, I like the small black bags that the liquor store gives me when I buy a bottle of wine or six-pack of beer. Stop judging me! I am reducing, reusing and recycling! And it’s not like I’m trying to get my kid to pee in an empty beer bottle to avoid the whole public bathroom thing! Jeez!) (What just happened there?) (I don’t know. Moving on.) You don’t need to go so far as to take the diaper with you when you leave the bathroom but please don’t just leave it unbound in the can to let it fester and emit hideous odor into the air for all others to breathe until some poor cleaning person comes and takes it away.

I need to use this space here to issue a poop apology. It was 2008, my son was about 3 months old and I was finishing up lunch at a chain restaurant in DC with other moms from the nursing support group I attended every week. My sweet baby boy was snoozing against my chest in a carrier while I chatted with other moms and pretended like I was well-rested and sane. Slowly, steadily, a familiar scent rose up from the bottom of my son to my nose. I excused myself and headed to the rest room, which, fortunately, had one of those pull down changing tables. I removed my baby from the carrier and OH THE HUMANITY! The poop – it was everywhere. It was an up-the-back blow out and the positioning of C in the carrier had allowed it to defy gravity. There was poop up to his neck. I assessed the situation as best I could in my sleep-deprived state and made the only decision I could: the onsie was a total loss. It had to go. I stripped it off C and stuffed it in a bag along with the diaper and the pile of wipes I used to clean C and the inside of my carrier, which had not escaped the poop. I left the whole mess in the trash can and returned to lunch with C in a new outfit. So, to the poor underpaid staff person who had to change the trash that day, I am heartily sorry. You did not sign up for that and I really should have taken the whole bag with me and burned it in my backyard. But I was really tired that day and it’s better that I did not play with matches.

Basically, the Poop Rules are simple: treat every bathroom as if it were your own and don’t make your poop a public affair.

Many thanks to Kate and Lydia for allowing me to write this guest post for them except that I’m afraid that they’re never going to invite me over to drink t-boxes in Kate’s driveway again after finding out how much thought I’ve given to poop.

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You can totally come drink with us!  Just, um...
Maybe don't read Lydia's post about why she can't go to back to Five Guys, mmkay?  Because you may not like her anymore. 

Thanks again Mom-in-a-Million!  You're the schmidt!

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