All misses no hits

We’re all on holiday this week. We’ve decided much to the scepticism of our child minder to potty train our little boy. We could have gone away or taken a break.

The plan is a simple one. Toddler spends the day without pants or nappies. As soon as he pees or poos you go wee wee or poo and plonk him on the potty which you have reinforced with telling him it’s for wee wee and poo. Eventually he associates the feeling of a wee or poo with the word and action and toddles off to the potty announcing his intention before he does anything.

This we have read could take about three days. You give it a few more days in clothes without nappies to make sure no accidents and then move on to night time because he’s back in nappies for sleep and naps until you’re ready.

Simple. We are energised by successful tales of potty training eighteen-montholds and stories of how being ‘ready later’ is a fallacy created by nappy manufacturers which I’m quite prepared to believe.

Day one has nothing to do with baby and is all about parental acclimatisation. Our first major lesson is that it is extremely important not to scream “NO!!!!!!”, the moment you see baby pee all over your furniture. Remember you are aiming (if you’ll pardon the pun) for a gentle “wee wee” or “poo”, not to make your baby burst into tears. You do not want baby to feel naughty or bad or ashamed or in any way frightened of the potty.

Apparently, however, our gut reaction is not as tolerant as we would like it to be nor mindful of the process we are following.

Furthermore; no matter how prepared you are it is quite unnerving to realise you’re staring at a nice new shiny poo on your living room floor. And it does take a moment to realise that’s what you are staring at. It’s the first time I’ve ever found a poo on my living room floor and no matter how much I felt I was prepared for the very likely possibility there would be poo on the floor, I still found myself momentarily perplexed as to how this poo has got there followed by a split second of thanks that a) the poo was firm not sploshy and b) it was on the floor boards not the rug.

I was also extremely annoyed that for the third time in a row baby had picked their moment just as I was looking away. You have to blink,  even turn your head at some point but I thought a poo might have taken a while, been preceded by a poo face if nothing else. Nope that poo just fell soft and soundless to earth.

Third lesson; if this is going to work tomorrow it’s going to have to be eyes on for the entire time he’s up. I have visions of myself creeping ninja behind his every step, potty ready to fall in place with the whisper and swiftness of a katana dividing rice paper.

And if we are locked to baby’s every move then we need more bottles of water around the house because it’s cold and we need the heating on and now we’re both dried out.

Still, at least we have a few new clean patches on the floors.

“We must all have a poo face I suppose”

Your toddler’s poo face is a thing of beauty, a facial ballet, muscles stretching and squeezing top and bottom in perfect focused synchronicity and expungent force. 

A good poo face will quite literally stop your toddler in their tracks. A tilt of the head and a brief quizzical smile washed over with two parts utter concentration, two parts total befuddlement. If you do catch the look in your little one’s eyes you’ll see a glassy eyed WTF…

A really good poo face comes in stages: either an iterative step up through the squeezes each one more focused and intense than the next, or simple variations on a theme of confused straining, each one morphing seamlessly into the other like an expensive special effect.

Remember too you once pulled them in your infancy, and still do. No race,  religion, class,  caste or social ordering or background of any kind absolves you from the poo face. It is the leveller, the equaliser of all human kind. Take the time to love your toddler’s poo face and marvel in the beauty of our great shared experience.

Scatalogical nomenclature

So before we get too far in, a word on why stickyyellowpoo is called stickyyellowpoo; if you’re already a parent you know this.

Your child’s excretal behaviour is a sign of their health and well being. After baby’s birth we were given a chart with which to map and describe his movements over the first couple of weeks. Those first poos are really important in indicating everything’s ok. In those early days baby’s poo is a sticky, tarry, greeny-black gloop called meconium. That’s the last time green poo will be a good thing in your life.

I was pretty shit scared of dealing with the poo before he arrived. But the fear vanished like a problem that never was the moment he was there and you just switch into the latest upgrade of you with an embedded Dad app. Suddenly you’re like the only good bits in the Matrix: “I can change nappies!”. But I would never want to do one for any other baby than mine, that’s a thought that makes me queasy.

As the milk takes hold baby’s poo becomes a wonderful mustard yellow splurge. That’s a good sign. Bottle milk gives a slightly brownier tinge I think and a different smell. You know what I don’t even remember the smell anymore, I never thought it was that bad. There’s some good shit on good shit as always at the babycentre. And don’t forget to study the pics. If you go to ante-natal classes you’ll likely get a handout which is worth reading on the commute into work just to see if anyone’s reading over your shoulder.

So our rule of thumb was browny-yellow and splodgy good, anything else was checked out pretty quickly.

A hands on parent is going to get sticky fingers at some point. Hell, everyone’s got a poonami story; your baby’s digestive system is a force of nature. The smell, the stains, the squelching oozing up the back, the stains on the far wall, the superglue properties that defy chemistry, the catastrophic poomageddon wrought when Pampers’ finest fails to hold back the tide – when volume exceeds capacity and you’re cutting baby our of their clothes like Dr Ross in a series finale pile up.

And I say to you my fellow fella fathers to be: “EMBRACE THESE TIMES OF STICKY YELLOW POO!” Because these are halcyon days indeed. Whatever you thought might be nasty, toxic and smelly before is like heaven’s nectar once baby starts on real food. That’s when the Mr Hyde of your baby’s bowels starts to make his appearance and he stinks in ways that defy your understanding of the human condition. You won’t need to see a poo face to know baby’s filled their shorts oh no, you’ll just need to be in the same room. Sometimes even next door will do.

Oh, and one day you’ll find yourself sifting nasty nappies for days on end waiting for the evidence of the beads or bits or whatever non-edible items they’ve managed to consume in the space of a blink to reappear. This I guarantee you.

So love your baby, love their poo my friends; it’s a bonding experience in every possible way.

Text from Wife

Oh my god!!!!!! I heard squelching sounds from the bumbo but thought it was him moving round…. No it was poo! All up the back, down his legs,  on his feet then his hands then heading to his mouth, I totally lost control and his wriggling meant poo went everywhere! I had to bathe him. To run the bath I left him naked on the bathroom rug. He promptly pissed on it. Fiend!! Xxxxx