Saturday, November 5, 2011

Everybody Poops

There is something about having a kid that makes a parent want to talk about poop. Size, color, consistency, volume, frequency - it's all up for discussion. It consumes us when they're newborns (in fact, the hospital required me to keep a log of baby's bowel movements. A log.), and toilet training inspires us to post updates in the most public of forums. How many Facebook statuses have I seen regarding someone's kid pooping in the potty? Too many.

It is the primary source for preschool humor, and a strange object of pride. Julia will tell anyone who'll listen about the time her poop looked just like a pinecone! The punchline to most of her jokes involves poop. Why did the tree cross the road? Because it had a pee pee poop tree leaves! Bwahahahaha! Poop is elemental.

Having little kids removes any poop-related shame. If I smell something funky, the first thing I do is pick up the baby, flip him around, and press my nose into his diapered butt. It makes no difference if we're at home, in a restaurant, a store...sniffing someone's rear becomes perfectly acceptable when said person is under two years old. I do not recommend the same approach if you're not with a kid. Turning to your husband and saying 'Do you have a stinky?' is never going to be funny to anyone but you. Especially if you say it right after you've crop dusted the entire area.

Poop binds us together. Everyone has a good poop story, and a few of us will even share them. But most everyone will tell you their digestive issues if given the opportunity. Standing in a line with a friend at a deli, I was lamenting my relationship with the reuben sandwich - I love it, but it doesn't love me back. The woman behind us leaned forward and said, 'It's the dressing. Thousand Island dressing gives me the runs.' She said 'the runs' like my grandma used to say 'cancer'; in an exaggerated stage whisper that made it sound dark and mysterious, like voodoo, or the Masons. Had it not been for the restrictions of a fast moving line, I feel I could have had a meaningful conversation with this stranger about turds. Instead, I just nodded knowingly.

And steered clear of the reuben.

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