I can’t remember exactly when it started. 18 months? Maybe even earlier. My cute little kid started finger
painting with his poop. He’d do it alone in his room, quietly canvasing the wall, the crib, the sheets and himself with human excrement while I sat in the living room basking in naptime glory and patting myself on the back for another successful nap in the books.
And then I’d hear a giggle, or spot some movement on the monitor. What. Is. He. Doing?
Oh Christ Almighty.
I would spring down the hall to his room, open the door, and gasp. The sh*t just got real.
Want to know what the worst part about a kid covered in poo is? By default, you are covered in poo. So while you hustle to the bathtub to correct this situation while you’re gagging and cursing this whole parenting thing, poop is being wiped on your skin, nestled in your clothes and streaked through your hair. And while your child splashes and squeals in delight in the warm bathtub, you wonder when on earth you’ll be able to even take a shower, clean up the mess in the room, and get the atrocious smell out of the house. Because, you guessed it, naptime is over. You’re back on mommy duty and these poop paintings, which are starting to dry and harden on your skin, can only be rubbed off with baby wipes to an extent. The shower will have to wait.
What’s a mom to do? I tried intervening sooner — watching him like a hawk on the monitor. But this kid is quick. Before you can say “wipe the countertop” or “fold the bed sheet,” he’s rubbing last night’s dinner through his hair, the blanket, and the crib nooks.
It only took two similar incidents at daycare for the teacher to call us in for a talk. It was time to potty train. Our son was barely two, so he was on the younger side of potty training. But the teachers were even less amused with my son’s artistic talents, and something would have to give. I went to Amazon and bought a book called, “Henry Learns to Tinkle” or some BS like that. I read a blog post on how to potty train your kid in 2 days, and I rolled my sleeves up. This time, we were getting dirty on my terms.
Can I just say, potty training is the ultimate test in parenting? Sleep training, nursing, and weaning off a pacifier can all take a backseat. Potty training will rock you to your core, test your limits, nausea level, and ability to multitask. Your relationship with your spouse will be stretched like nothing else. And the poop. Dear God, the poop.
If you were able to potty train your kid in a weekend, I commend you. That’s so cool. For my son, this was a good six month process. But even a year later, I still find him popping a squat on our backyard lawn, just like the dog. Even now, he still beckons me from the other side of the house to “WIPE MY BUTT!!!” Even still, he sticks his finger in his hole to see if he’s really all done. And then there’s the wetting the bed, which I understand may take years to overcome. Dude, this potty training thing is nuts.
And now, as I raise another little nugget who looks and acts more like his brother every day, I realize we are going to start this whole vicious process all over again. And soon.
But just that fact that I’ve made it this far. That one kid is like 90% there and we are all still alive, healthy, and in good spirits. I’m still married. My kids still think I’m pretty cool. I think, I really think, we passed the test. The ultimate test in parenting. And while parenting entails many tests, each and every day, I feel pretty confident — even a wee bit cocky — to say I made it to the other side.
Good luck on this journey, young warrior mamas and papas. The sh*t’s about to hit the fan.