Part 4 of 6
Doing the Do-Do
If you’re reading this over your lunchbreak, you might want to put down that sandwich or step away from the jacket potato because this blog is, I’m not ashamed to say, all about poop.
Until I became a parent, discussing toilet habits was not something I imagined my husband and I would spend breakfast doing, but since Izzy came along it seems to be the number one topic of conversation. Why do we become so obsessed with the contents of nappies?
In the parenting classes we took before birth, the reedy teacher lady impressed upon us the importance of paying attention to the early comings and goings and that our health visitor would want to discuss (at length) wet and dirty nappies. We were taught about the various colours and consistencies (with visuals of marmite, mustard and mint sauce – I kid you not) and specifically about how difficult that first meconium poo would be to clean up. Thankfully, I suppose, both my husband and I managed to avoid that one – me, because I still couldn’t feel my legs after my emergency c-section (and it was hard enough holding my baby, let alone changing her) and James because he’d been sent home from the ward to get some sleep after visiting hours. After watching the teacher struggle to clean up a plastic doll coated in marmite using only cotton wool, water and will power, I couldn’t have been more grateful that the responsibility for Isabelle’s first poo fell to a trained professional.
And the poonamis? For the love of all things Already-Parents, warn us about the poonamis!
But after those three early poopy stages things begin to shift and no-one talks to you about that. There are no classes that cover the way the food you eat will affect your baby’s poo if you’re breastfeeding, and nobody discusses how to google for baby poop charts to decide whether you’re being a nervous newbie or should be calling 111. And the poonamis? For the love of all things Already-Parents, warn us about the poonamis!
Until that first explosive poop, I had no idea why some of my friends insisted in doing public nappy changes in pairs. Surely there was no need to tag team a simple Pampers swap, when James and I managed perfectly well to take it in turns at home? But until you’re faced with a situation where you haven’t prepped enough wipes, the nappy sack is already over flowing and your little darling still has yesterday’s tea coating her from nape the navel, you will never understand the full horror of the poonami. The sheer desperation of trying to hold your baby’s feet, wipe their bum and look for a spare outfit all whilst stopping them from rolling off the broken change table and shouting through a locked door for someone to send help. The utter exasperation of yelping ‘Don’t put your foot in it!’ at your giggling bundle of joy, who’s clearly feeling much better now there’s a lot less inside her.
On Valentine’s this year, I thought I’d surprise James by swapping Izzy’s babygrow for one that said ‘Daddy, be my Valentine?’ before he woke up. Everything was in place. We’d done the morning feed, had a nice play, I’d done my surreptitious quick change and my smiley girl was back in her sleepbag when Daddy’s alarm rang. He hadn’t even switched it off when I heard the familiar dirty old man laugh my daughter makes whenever she poos. Suddenly my gift didn’t seem quite so cute and funny and when James unzipped the sleepbag he unleashed a tidal wave of hell. To make matters worse the babygrow didn’t even have those fancy shoulders to allow for emergency removal downwards, so not only did I give my husband a luminous yellow nappy change on Valentine’s Day, he also got an emergency 8am bath too!
And just when you think you’ve conquered nappies it’s time to introduce weaning and everything changes again. There’s something so bizarre about moving from those slightly sweet smelling baby poops to proper poos. Actual solid, lumps. Human poos, as my husband calls them. It feels like a first rite of passage for your growing baby and you grieve for their baby poops (and what they symbolise) as having passed, not least because the human poops do NOT smell as sweet.
Nowadays the conversations have moved on to the way new foods affect her movements, which ones make for a good night’s sleep and which lead to a 3am poo and a nappy change in the dawning light. There’s talk of what food gives her tummy ache and what food seems to be the same coming out as it was going in (sweetcorn, I’m talking about you) and on the occasion that it’s my turn to have a lie in, our first conversation is inevitably about whether the littlest member of our family has filled her nappy yet or not. The next stage in our toilet chats will probably revolve around potty training, but at least by that point we’ll be able to include Izzy on our conversations too. What a lucky little girl!