Now here’s a conversation that I never thought I would have with anybody or anyone, spoken or written. Why am I sitting here thinking about poop? And more importantly so, why am I thinking about my son’s poop in particularly? One can only guess, but I’ll try to explain.
As a parent, you never know what you will have to deal with from one day to the next. Everything can be going smoothly and you’ll look at your child…his or her perfect, little face…your heart bursting with unconditional love. Next thing you know, your child has this attention-grabbing and alarming look on their face. The newest love of your life has just turned into this unrecognizable ogre, grimacing and growling at the entire world…and unfortunately, you are now the ultimate focal point of their hostility. From my personal experiences (now that I can gracefully look back), it was always more accentuated when my very own child could or would not go to the bathroom. Poop, pee…it really didn’t matter. Someone had their Mr. Poopy Pants on and wasn’t taking them off for nothing!
Never in a million dreams would I think that in the very beginning stages of parenthood, I would have to keep track of all things pee and poop where my son was concerned. You can dream of the fairy tale parenting scenario…picturing this picturesque, angelic face sleeping all hours of the night for you and consuming every meal that is presented to them.
And then reality kicks in. And it kicks really, really hard sometimes…trust me.
Failure to thrive, severe stomach problems, vomiting and constipation, black stools, endoscopies, biopsies…it just went on and on for what seemed like an eternity! I still have the Excel spreadsheets that I personally typed up to remind me how much each of his diapers weighed, if there was pee or poop in them and what color it was. And thank the stars for my pediatric gastroenterologist (Dr. Peri Millman of NYHQ), as she was there to guide me through it all so effortlessly and brilliantly…she is truly someone that I will be forever indebted to for all eternity.
Needless to say, I guess you can officially call me the resident “Poopologist” of NYMW. And I will wear that badge proudly for the rest of my life…it was definitely earned.
Let’s skip forward a couple of years…I’ll save you from all of the intermittent, mundane and monotonous drone we call life’s every day existence. All of the gastrointestinal problems had subsided, his premature stomach muscles had matured and everything was hunky dory. It’s now time to start kindergarten…and with kindergarten comes hot lunch. Now it’s time for me to let go and let someone else take care of what was going to be served into his little belly. Could I handle it? Sure!
Well, not exactly. Mommy’s not happy again because little man can’t go to the bathroom again.
What to do now? A good, well-balanced and healthy diet was one thing that I could control. And truthfully, I got really good at it. And yes, I’ll totally admit it…I did become a bit of a control freak about it, considering all that I had gone through.
So now I had to resort to all things that I had forgotten. But fortunately, it had all had come back in a quick flash, thank goodness. It really was like riding a bicycle again…one you learn, you never really forget.
Let’s just say we started checking the poop again for color and consistency. Poop’s too hard? Make him drink some prune juice, eat some fresh papaya and cut out the vitamins fortified with iron. Poop’s too soft? Bind him up with some bananas…banana pancakes, banana smoothies and fresh slices of banana. My kid is totally on board with this too…he looks at it as if it were a game (which is kind of gross when you think about it actually.) His favorite book now? “The Truth About Poop” by Susan E. Goodman. An excellent science read for kids that want to learn everything and anything about all different kinds of poop and its uses.
Somewhere in between all of this nonsense, there really is a balance. A traditional and authentic balance between healthy poop and ailing poop. If you can, try to keep track of what your kids are eating should they be having some digestive discomforts and definitely don’t disregard the simplest of stomach aches. Your kids will thank you…and their poop will thank you too.