I didn't ever think that so much of my time as a parent would involve actions, thoughts and strategies surrounding poop. When I reached the blissful plateau of parenthood, the part where neither of my kids wore diapers anymore (except for Henry, who still wears one at night, but doesn't poop in there), I thought I'd pass from poopville to pleasantville.
No such luck.
You see, my daughter, Abby, suffers from self-imposed constipation. She's six. In order to get her to poop, we deployed a stringent poop plan. Three-times-a-day for five minutes each, she's got to sit on the pot. We set a timer. She's got to relax, read and hopefully, yes, poop. And for some reason, she bellows for me when the event commences with poop so I can wipe her. Hubby asked me the other day,
"Why are you wiping her?"
Great question, dear. And I'll spare you the nasty details of my answer. But the point here is that I shouldn't be wiping her! Next time she bellows, I think I'll bellow back,
"You're six! Wipe your own ass!"
Onto Henry. He's three. He poops brilliantly. With regularity and ease. And I, my dear friends, still wipe him. (I'm beginning to see the roots of my problem.) I wipe him because I'm a clean-freak and on the occasions he's attempted to wipe himself, he's been a little bit less than neat. (Again, sparing you the gross visuals.)
There are several occurrences which always act as laxatives for my children:
1. Mommy sits down to a warm meal. Time to poop.
2. Mommy reads Peggy Noonan's article in the Weekend Wall Street Journal. Gotta go.
3. Mommy herself uses the throne. (Even though we have more than one toilet, Henry has a favorite potty. And his pick-of-the-day is ALWAYS the toilet that I'm using, right at that EXACT moment.)
And since I've gone down this disgusting road of writing about poop, I'll share one last thought: why is it an impossibility for me to poop privately? By myself? With no commentary, interruptions or loud house-shaking thuds on the bathroom door? My kids can be happily playing in the furthest corner of the house. I glance cautiously over my shoulders...I tiptoe into the bathroom. I hesitantly, quietly close the door. Before my buns even make it to sitting, they've found me. They're desperate for food, mitigation, hugs or answers. And to prove the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, I'll close with an example.
My mom visited us (just last month, when I was, like I still am, 37-years-old). I decided it was time to start cooking. I started calling for her. "Mom!" Pause. "Mom???" Pause. "MOOOOMMMMM??? Where ARE you?" I escalated and frantically started searching for her. "Where could she be?" I murmured to myself. Louder now, I yelled, "MOM???". I heard a faint voice, rising up from under the bathroom door. "In here honey", the voice said. I profusely apologized to my mother. I sank to the floor, defeated. Apparently this phenomenon spans generations and perseveres through the ages. I'm never going to the bathroom by myself, without interruption, for the rest of my life.