….or, reasons why I need to blog (part 1)
My children are prolific pooers.
I blame attachment parenting. I carried out a (completely non-scientific) study while in the middle of potty training, drawn from comparisons between my friends. It seemed that the children of the huggers, co-sleepers and baby-led weaners were sloppier in their toilet habits. No regular bowel movements for those empowered youngsters. The offspring of the Gina Ford types, on the other hand, squeezed out a regular, well-formed jobbie at designated times. Once, or twice a day, maximum. Usually in the morning.
We’ve always encouraged Austin and Gwen to express themselves confidently, and present their needs to us unequivocally. They’ve responded physiologically by excreting several times each day, whenever the mood takes them. Sometimes it’s a small, tight nugget; others a sprawling mass of devilish ordure. No pattern; no warnings; just total abandon.
This is to be expected of a tiny baby. But Austin is a pre-schooler now, and is still tripping to the toilet at least three times a day. Sometimes there are as many as six or seven visits. His movements don’t seem to be loose. No, these are normal poos. There are just lots and lots of them.
All this made potty training (last summer) a tad difficult. There was one day, in particular, that had me reaching for the sky and mouthing, ‘Whyyyyyyyy?’.
Most of Austin’s training involved him running round the house, nappyless, messing all over the furniture and floor. Some wise soul told me that going hardcore and avoiding namby-pamby aids like training pants, would make for quicker and better results. And, like a fool, I believed them.
So, several times a day, I was faced with clearing turds up off the carpet. I couldn’t be with Austin all the time, and so occasionally he would sneak one out when I wasn’t looking. If I was unlucky, it would get trampled in before I could rush forward with the bucket of bleach.
On poo day, turd number one was a lucky find. It was neat, non-smeary, and on the tiled kitchen floor. Barely a smudge was left after I’d picked it up with a piece of kitchen towel.
Number two (ho ho) was even jammier. Austin did it outside, in the garden. All I had to do was take a trowel and add the poo to the compost at the base of my rhododendron.
But then things took a downward turn. Austin grabbed a handful of our precious CDs off the shelf, and hurling them to the ground. When I told him off, he expressed his displeasure at this dressing-down by taking some more CDs and running out to the garden.
How he managed it I don’t know, as he didn’t even see me shovel it under the bush. But, like some excrement-seeking homing pigeon, he managed to throw the CDs right into the rhododendron fertilizer.
Things became worse at number three. I’d set a ‘pants on for lunchtime’ rule. I didn’t want to have to scrape filth away from the base of the dining table. A minimal layer of protection was necessary.
Unfortunately, although his pants prevented mess number three from dropping to the floor, they also helped smear it across Austin’s legs and lower back. So ten minutes later, I was still in the bathroom, doing the pre-shower wipe that I’d come to know so well.
‘Mummy’ said my two-year-old. ‘You shouldn’t use so much toilet paper. You’re putting too much into the toilet.’
All the potty training books tell you not to get angry about ‘accidents’. All I can say is, they can’t have been written by the parent of a prolific pooer. Seething, I retorted with fury.
‘Austin, you’re only two. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I need to use a lot of toilet roll. There’s loads of poo everywhere. You don’t know best; Mummy does.’
My inner attachment parent recoiled in horror at these harsh words. I was immediately ashamed. But then, nobody’s perfect…..
Especially me. I went to flush the toilet. The bowl filled with water. And filled, and filled, and filled. Right up to the brim.
Austin had been right. I had used too much toilet paper. The toilet was now blocked.
I laughed. Then cried. It was the end of a perfect poo day.
And so I resolved to start a blog. I needed to tell the world that attachment parenting, and the resulting pooing habits, can drive you potty.
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