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


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.


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.


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!

 Subscribe in a reader
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. wait, are americans actually Purell-ing their butts? thats hilarious

  2. Some years back, I was driving my (then) five kids to the beach for a summer getaway. It was Friday, and the highway leading to the beach was bumper to bumper hell. We were only a couple of miles from our turn and I did not dare get out of line for any amount of blood or money, so there we sat. At this time one of my little boys who was about four, HAD to pee like he was having some sort of medical emergency. Eventually I passed him a ziplock bag from some chips we'd polished off and told him to make use of it. While he's agonizing over peeing in the ziplock and I'm driving two miles an hour, the other peeps in the car (except his brother right next to him, lucky guy!) are wondering what he's doing with that bag. So when he decides to get rid of the evidence and pass the bag back to me *nice* the girls lose all kinds of schmidt about handling a bag full of pee, only so I could hold on to it for the rest of our ride. It was awesome!

  3. My two fave blogs have melded into one happy coffee-snorting experience today!

  4. I was a librarian until recently and one day I was hanging in our community room with the teens (cool job!) and smelled something. It was coming from the trash. Now, the weird thing is that our community room is only used a few times a week and we have a janitor that empties the trash a few times a week. On this particular day there was no reason that ANYTHING should have been in that trash can. But, low and behold, there was a diaper in there!! A DIAPER! Someone had decided to leave the children's library to sneak into the community room and change their baby and leave it in the trash there, not in a bag. Of course it was not a poop diaper, but it was warm in that room and a really swollen pee diaper in a warm room, unbagged, STINKS!!! I couldn't believe it. Yuckers.

  5. I remember that poopsident - you really did have a look of absolute horror on your face when you exited the bathroom. Also, given the number of times per week women head to that particular restaurant with nursing babies I bet the cleaning crew deals with trashcan poopspolsions on a regular basis.

  6. Those were the days, eh, Jenny? Yes, all the restaurants near the breastfeeding Center of Great Washington are probably accustomed to poop. And boobs. Because nursing babies, poop, and boobs all show up together after Mons Groups over there. My favorite part? That it all happens on K Street where lobbyists dwell. Teehee.

  7. My daughter was mostly potty trained. However, it seemed she would most often lose per potty trained bowels at Barnes and Noble. What in the world? The smell of books triggered something? You know that spot where cars drive past the store front to see the hours of operation? *hanging in head in shame with painful remembrance* I did the best I could, totally grossed out, frazzled, and humiliated. I cleaned her, got her strapped in, and all commando like sneaked to the poop pile at THE STORE FRONT to remove the filth.
    Worst one ever though- A certain maternal egg supplier, who is one generation removed from my daughter was babysitting. Lest you be confused, this woman is like the Elizabeth Taylor of the non-Hollywood world, minus the alcohol problem. Not a ghetto thing about her. They were grocery shopping. Said daughter was dressed to the nines in an adorable little summer dress. She dropped a load in the cracker isle! How it fell out I have no idea. Maybe she dropped her princess panties first. Either way Elizabeth Taylor LEFT! She booked it out of the store, child in tow without telling a soul! I am so very sorry!! I hope the poor soul who was stuck cleaning the crap is rewarded with...I can't even think of a just reward without doing harm to myself or Elizabeth. It's just so wrong. Please don't hate.
    p.s. I did bag diapers and had rather refined poop etiquette. Potty training and venturing into public is a whole other animal. I did much better with the subsequent children.
    p.s.s. Does anyone really Purell their hiney?

  8. LMAO. Oh Rebekah.... how I love you. :)

  9. Well said and totally true (although I still don't know if a courtesy flush really works, a point of much debate between DH and I).

    Since we are apologies to the poor waitress at the Dodging Duck Brewhaus in Boerne, TX. We didn't realize that our little one had a diaper explosion of disgusting proportions until DH noticed something slimy in his arm hair after toting her out to the car. I hate to think what that high chair looked like/smelled like/etc. when the waitress dragged it back inside. We swear that DH came back in to clean up the mess, but alas, the chair was gone when he went back to the table. I hope we can show our faces there again someday.

  10. My mom, dh and I took our then 2 yr old and infant to a Red Robin for dinner one night, and everything was going so well (child using manners, not trying to run off with strangers, infant cooing adorably in carrier) that I wondered why I had been so hesitant about outings such as this....until we were getting ready to leave, and in the entry way I smelled something that could only be bottled and used for warfare. I sniff-tested the baby, and then my mom pulled back the edge of older child's diaper and found the culprit. Soooo, I scooped the boy up and ventured back to the bathroom with child, wipes and diaper in hand. I get him on the pull-down table and get his pants part way down when, oh. no. you. didn't. It was clear down into his socks. I begged one of the employees (doing her hair in the mirror) to please go get the woman in the entry way and tell her to bring the bag... needless to say, the socks went into the trash, pants got bagged, I had to carry the child wrapped in my rain coat out to the car, pretty much naked except for said raincoat, diaper and shoes. The walk of shame was made even better when I stopped and let the hostess know that the trash bag in the women's room was now biological waste. Fond memories!

  11. Hilarious--for me, though, poop + noxious chemical air fresheners is worse than poop alone.

  12. I went out to dinner with my mother-in-law, my 2 year old, and my 9 month old. Everything was going fine until I noticed my baby girl with the grunt face that only means one thing. So I pick her up and see a pile of yellow, semi-soft poop just sitting on the chair. And I feel the warmth on my bare-naked arm, so I hightail it to the bathroom literally dry heaving the whole way. It took 10 minutes to clean the baby, 10 minutes to clean my arm, and then another 5 minutes cleaning that bathroom changing table like it was my job. Okay, so I get back to the table, and see my 2 year old son was now sitting in the pile of poop because my mother-in-law had just left it in the chair, and then let him climb right into it. I got to take him to the bathroom, clean him up, clean my arm (it was almost raw and bleeding at this point) again, and then re-clean the changing table. I didn't even eat dinner that night, or for a few nights after that. And I've never gone to dinner with my mother-in-law again because she sat there and did NOTHING to help. I digress.

  13. Side note to those who are in the bathroom while you are changing your baby. DO NOT TRY TO TOUCH MY CHILD AS YOU EXIT THE STALL YOU NASTY THING!!! WASH YOUR HANDS AND LEAVE US BE!! An "oh, cute baby." would have sufficed.

    Mom In A Million, you rocked it as usual.

  14. Poop is running my life right now. Does it ever end? Between toilet training and constipation it's been an all day event over here. Thanks for the tips. Can we print these out poster size and just start posting them in every stall we go into?

  15. Great post! It's so true, poop happens ... and when it comes to kids, it seems to happen when it's LEAST convenient!

  16. I found the best little bags at the dollar store of all places. They are "lightly scented" and are the perfect size to fit those toxic diapers. I keep some in the diaper bag at all times.

  17. OMG JAC!!!! That happens to me ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME! I love going to the library, but whenever I go, I need to know where the bathrooms are, pronto. Because it doesn't matter when I went last, I'll have to go as soon as I enter my sanctuary. It's a cruel irony, it really is.

    And now, I'm the weirdo sharing her poop stories... *sigh*




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts