Just when you think you’re getting the hang of things your kids just want to throw you a whopper. And I’m going to start this with a warning. If you get squeamish with talk of poop and bodily fluids this article isn’t for you. But if you wanna hear my story of overcoming a parenting fear than I invite you to come along 🙂
I remember when I was younger, I would help change my nephews and niece’s diapers. But somewhere between their toddlerhood’s and my growing up the idea of changing poop diapers disgusted me. As much as I wanted kids one day I wondered how would I ever be able to handle it. I can barely even handle myself when I have to vomit, how am I supposed to take care of someone else’s?
There was one particular evening; I was at my brother’s house. One of his kids was having some potty trouble and was having a hard time going. We were sitting around the dinner table when suddenly they told us they needed to go and couldn’t wait. Next thing we know there is just liquid poop erupting from out of their high chair all over themselves and all over the floor. My brother and his wife jumped into action to clean them up and clean up the dining room. I just sat there in horror. The smell took away my appetite (which really saddened me because it was one of my favorite meals). I sat there nauseous from the smell and the liquid that I saw come out of the child. They finished cleaning and just continued life like nothing happened. I found myself sitting there once again wondering how in the world am I supposed to take care of my own kids one day if I can’t do it now? I am going to be such a horrible mother.
You hear people say all the time “When it’s your own kids, it isn’t disgusting anymore”. I would hear this and still think. Nah… puke is puke and poop is poop. Just because it’s your own kid doesn’t make it suddenly not disgusting anymore.
Well when Riley was born, Tony did an amazing job in taking the first diapers while I get into the practice again. Soon diapers didn’t matter. I mean every once and awhile when they do those super weird seedy ones that sometimes look like they have spinach in them even when they didn’t eat spinach and smell foul, those still gross me out. But I can do it at least.
Through Riley’s little life so far, she’s been a pretty easy baby when it comes to her bodily functions. She never really drooled too much, she spit up a normal amount since she didn’t have acid reflux, peed and pooped quite normally. We dealt with some constipation when we started solids and learned about how awesome prune juice is.
It wasn’t until last week where I had I guess my Mommy Poop Trophy was handed to me.
Riley woke up at 4 am as she sometimes does when I work at nights. When I woke I thought I smelled a faint smell of poop but figured it’s probably nothing. I mean I’m sure I’m not the only one who smells phantom poop only for it to be nothing. She never poops at night anyway so it was very unlikely. I picked her up, loosely swaddled her like she loves and nursed her for 10 mins rocking back and forth in the rocking chair before going back to bed.
When morning came, I was greeted with a pretty terrifying picture. When she woke up I remembered the phantom smell, I decided to change her right away. When I picked her up, she was wet… very wet. I lay her on her changing pad and start taking off her pants to find poop just caked all up and down her legs and going up her back. I was horrified. Opening that diaper released a stink bomb like no other. I don’t think I had ever smelled anything like it. I glanced over my shoulder into her crib to see all the poop on her sheets, blankets, and over her two toys. I started trying to wipe Riley down but it was so caked to her and only leaking more up her back making more of a mess I decided I needed to get her into the bathtub. I was alone at this time cause Tony had already gone to work. How go I get her to the tub without making more of a mess?!
I had her stand on the only clean spot of her pad, gave a quick wipe down and throw her in the tub. At least I can easily wash the tub right? I told her just to wait there while I ran back to the room with the intention of cleaning up the diaper mess so after the bath I can lay her back on the pad to change her. Except, upon running back into the room, the smell was so bad and there was so much wiping to do I decided to ditch the effort and just bathe her first.
I go in and she is crying. I turn on the water so she can play but she wasn’t interested in such an early bath before even being able to have her morning nursing session. I try to give her some toys but no avail. I continue to just scrub her down and wash her hair while she is crying the entire time. My poor girl.
I get her out and dry her off and take her back to the room and just let her lay on a towel. I change her and take her downstairs and pop a waffle into the toaster and turn on her cartoons. With some tears still in her eyes, I sit down and nurse. When we finish, I gave her the waffle and left her in the living room so I could go figure out the mess that is still sitting in our room.
I get upstairs and it just reeks. I don’t think her poop has ever smelled so rotten. I get a plastic bag and throw everything diaper related away. I wasn’t gonna let it sit in the house all day. NOPE. It was going straight outside to the trash. I grab everything and toss it into the wash. I scrub out the tub with Clorox and washed the few toys I gave her thoroughly. Then I sprayed soooo much fabreeze throughout the room. I decided I would just peak in every hour or so and spray a little bit more.
Finally the mess was done and I had some time to reflect on the experience.
I did it.
I actually did it.
All those years of fear thinking that I wouldn’t be able to handle a massive poop or vomit situation had disappeared in that moment.
I came to realize that when people say “It’s different when it’s your own kid” doesn’t mean that it’s somehow not disgusting because it still totally is, but rather as a parent, you realize it’s not their fault. It’s not like they did it on purpose. It is more of a moment where you just feel bad for them. They are covered in whatever technically disgusting liquid but you just feel the need to get them clean and help them feel better again. Yes it makes a huge mess, it may smell horrible, it may happen at the worst possible time, but no matter what it is. You just want to make them feel better and you’ll do whatever you need to do to get them there.
Yes, that poop mess was horrible but the only thing I cared about at that moment was WHY did she suddenly have diarrhea? Was she not feeling good? Does she have a fever? Did she eat something bad? What do I need to do to make her feel better again?
It’s moments like these that leave me pleasantly surprised at the way parenting really changes a person. Before you become a parent you think about a list of fears you have. You think of so many situations and how you think you’ll deal with them. But when you actually become a parent, you become worried about things you didn’t even think about. Some of the fears you thought you had (like mine being about cleaning up a massive bodily fluid mess) suddenly don’t matter as much. I didn’t think I would worry so much about poop and sleep as much as I do now. It all becomes less about you and all about them. You just want to make their life better and watch them grow. Every time they smile and laugh makes it fulfilling and affirming you are doing the best you can.
Even with the bad days, this is definitely the best ride of my life.