First things first, a disclaimer: this is a post about POO. The giveaway is right there in the title (there are no graphic images, I promise).
IT’S. ABOUT. POO.
Consider yourself appropriately warned.
As adults we don’t generally think much about poo, and we certainly don’t have anything approaching an intimate relationship with it.
Sit, release, wipe, flush. Wash hands. Go back to your business.
Once you have a baby you soon discover that your long-awaited welcome to parenthood involves being elbow deep in shit all day. Every day. You will learn more about poo – and the mechanics of poo – than you ever wanted to know.
Here are five things that I learned:
Meconium is not an element on the periodic table
I had no idea what meconium was. Pre-kids, I would have guessed that it was one of the lesser-known elements on the periodic table, or that it was some sort of toxic nuclear by-product (wasn’t far wrong with that second guess).
Meconium is the thick, tar-like substance that oozes out of your newborn’s backside for the first 24 hours of its life. Its only redeeming feature is that it is essentially odourless, because that shit is an absolute bitch to clean.
The first ever nappy change is a memorable rite of passage that sees frightened new parents flapping about ineffectually with a handful wet wipes and looking around helplessly as their baby rolls around in viscous brown muck. Throw in a chorus of chuckling midwives, and their initiation into parenthood is complete.
Babies can literally explode in fountains of fecal matter
Babies are full of shit. To be honest, I’d never really given it much thought and just assumed they’d poo once a day or something. Like big people. Or dogs. It came as a shock to realise that babies are round-the-clock poo-machines; and not only do they poo all the time, they can literally poo across the time-space continuum.
I still remember lifting the legs of my two month old as I went to change his nappy once: he ripped out a supersonic fart and followed it with a projectile poo that was expelled with so much force that it shot several metres across the room, before exploding all over the wall.
I also failed to realise that babies can evacuate their bowels at such velocity that it explodes out of the nappy and all over their body; literally marinating themselves in mustard-coloured poo from head to toe. These pooplosions almost always happen in public, and mostly on the days you’ve left home without a spare set of clothes.
Poo-spotting will become your exciting new hobby
As your baby gets bigger, smellier, lumpier and heavier – so does their poo – and it soon becomes impossible to ignore the fact that you are regularly cleaning up tiny piles of human shit. This is not the sun-dappled fantasy of parenthood being sold to you in all those Huggies commercials.
You can also kiss goodbye those fantasies of being a “cool” parent, because you will find yourself neurotically scanning the contents of your kid’s nappy before googling phrases like “frothy green stools” and “my baby’s poo smells like rotting barrels of fermented herrings”.
To be fair, baby stools are a lot more fun once they start solids because you can start playing that fun interactive quiz game “What Did You Eat Yesterday?”, with bonus points for identifying as many undigested foodstuffs as you can.
You will dread the “Constipation Countdown”
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Your kid STOPS pooping… And if that sounds like utter bliss, I’m here to tell you that it’s NOT.
Being on constipation countdown with a baby will make you do silly things, like:
- Assigning family members to rotating shifts on “Poo Watch”
- Nervously counting the days between stools
- Racing to check a smelly nappy, only to be disappointed by an extremely potent fart
- Fearing the apocalyptic bowel evacuation that comes after several days of back-dated stools
- Dancing around as you celebrate the long-awaited poo, like a dyed-in-the-wool monarchist celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Teething results in biohazardous bowel movements
Teething is hell: no surprises then, that it’s single-handedly responsible for some of the vilest-smelling faecal matter to ever squeeze its way out of a human colon.
The bowel movements of teething babies are a legitimate biohazard, and should always be handled with extreme caution: full body hazmat suits and self-contained breathing apparatus are essential.
So there you go: time to collect your honorary PhD in Poo.