The poop edition.

Yes, this is what it sounds like it will be, so feel free to stop reading now, before I even get into it.


Okay, but don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning.

Before my son was born I, like most young people, didn’t spend much time thinking about poop. The times poop occupied my mind were rare and mostly limited to the occasional, yet unfortunate Taco Bell-induced gastrointestinal disturbance. I generally avoided poop as the non-polite, unmentionable discussion topic I was raised to believe it was.

In fact, I was often irritated and disgusted at people who would talk about poop so…crassly, I thought. The sister-in-law who seemed fixated on her son’s bowel movements, the cousin who never missed a chance to comment on having “the raging shits” in a public restroom. I don’t have particularly genteel sensibilities, but these forays into the arena of fecal matter sickened and offended me.

And then I gave birth. (I don’t like to say “Eliot was born,” as it’s far too passive a sentence construction to relay what actually occurred. The child did not just magically arrive into the world of his own volition. I BIRTHED him, by god, and it took a lot of work. And now that we have that issue out of the way, please, by all means, proceed.)

And I soon realized that poop is EVERYTHING. I understood why so many old people and mothers are obsessed with poop. I, myself, am now obsessed with poop. And I’ll tell you why. (“Yes, please, Rachel, by all means, enlighten us on the importance of feces,” I’m sure you’re thinking.)

First, there’s often no other way to tell when something is wrong with your baby other than noting the frequency, consistency, and/or color of his poop. Poop is an excellent indicator of the overall health of your child. Changes in poopage can occur when the baby is sick or teething; I’ve often wondered why Eliot was so damn cranky and driving me insane and not sleeping, only to finally have him take a gigantic hard-as-a-rock crap the size of Texas, thus solving the mystery. When the poop is off, the baby is off, and vice versa. It’s a symbiotic relationship the poop and the baby have.

And this is why when I pick Eliot up at daycare, I get the poop bulletin, which often goes something like this: “Eliot had one poopy pants today. I see he had corn yesterday.” And then Sandy and I will launch into a conversation about how amazing it is that corn can pass through the digestive tract and remain completely intact. And I note that mandarin oranges seem to have much the same ability. “Ah,” she says, nodding her head and making a mental note of this astute observation.

And this, my friends, is why new mothers often talk of nothing but their babies’ dookie. Because they have just made this same realization. They have newly become acquainted with what others (including the elderly) have long known: poop is EVERYTHING. The sooner you admit this to yourself, the better off you’ll be. Trust me. I know shit.

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