While many parents in the throws of potty training know that sinking feeling I get when my daughter says, “I pooped” and we are nowhere near a bathroom, so may you recognize the slight yet significant difference inferred when she says “Look, I pooped”. Look means the poop is not in the diaper, instead the poop is somewhere outside of the diaper. Somewhere to be found. She is suggesting I find it. This afternoon that place was under the covers of my bed. Up and down my pant leg.
I had lay down with her to try to get her to take a much-needed nap after having spent the morning at a friend’s birthday party at the zoo. She was so overtired by the time that we got into my bed that she was being a sleep terrorist. I was tired too and she took me hostage. Poked my eyes when they closed out of exhaustion. Picked at the dry skin on my bottom lip. Talked and talked and talked. But she was no match for “pregnancy tired” and I fell asleep. Until she said the magic words, ”Look…I pooped”. I sat straight up and asked where. Not because she had ever actually removed turds from her pants as she did this afternoon, but because I have only her heard preface “I pooped” with "look" the two times in her life I forgot to put a diaper back on her after a change and she dropped a loose log somewhere in the house. These times she had come to me as if to say “Hey buddy, something fell out of my butt back there and I am not 100% sure what’s going on but I don’t want to get blamed if the dog eats it before you find it so let’s go”.
This afternoon when she said, “Look, I pooped” it was in the same exact tone she uses to say, “Look, I baked you a cake” before she hands me a pretend chocolate cake from behind her back. She does this when I put her in time out in her room for something. She thinks if she can distract me with cake (which, let’s face it, is a fair assumption) when I come into her room after the duration of timeout to discuss her wrongdoing I will skip the lecture and just enjoy playing with her. This is classic avoidance that she has inherited from both her father and me. She is so pleased with herself when she hands me that fake cake. She is sure that she can undo whatever terrible thing she did to the dog that got her put in timeout in the first place with a little fake cake. She was pleased this afternoon too. Not because she expected that I would wake up pleased that she had smuggled shit pellets into my bed and onto my pant leg, but because she knew this meant we would be getting out of bed. Sleep Terrorist.
I did what any mother would do. I asked her over and over how the poop got out of her diaper? Did she touch it? Did she actually touch poop? I ran a bath and stuck her in it. I called Dan and yelled at him for something that was in no way his fault. I had to yell at him like it was his fault because I was so mad I could not yell at her at all. Instead I got all Joan Crawford if Joan Crawford has issues with avoidance, and told her, “Well, this means you are no longer sleeping in mommy and daddy’s bed”, “if you are old enough to dig around for poop in your pants you are old enough to sleep in your own bed”, and “Well, I really just hope you don’t get sick, because touching poop that came out after eating at the zoo can make you very very sick”.
Effective? I had to walk away. By now Dan was home and sitting with her while she finished her bath. Her response from inside the tub had been, “Yeah, and I don’t eat poop. Little girls who eat poop die, right mom?”