Parenting Magazine

In Training…

By My_writing_life @my_writing_life

We do it every day (recommended), sometimes two or three times a day (wow!), and yet it’s the one thing we don’t talk about very much, unless you’re Oprah (this might be one of her favoritedaily things), or you find yourself with two children who haven’t been potty trained. If you guessed “poop” then you’re absolutely right. If you guessed something else then you haven’t raised young children (or it’s been a while since you have) or you’re not an Oprah fan as “poop” has been a topic on several occasions…Is it shaped like a “C” or an “S”?

My first “hands on” experience was with Humphrey, the shepherd/lab dog I rescued in June 2007. I was living in LA at the time and had to drive out to Santa Monica to meet Humphrey and then take him home with me. My friend Lisa and her eleven year old son, Lyndon, came along with me because Lisa was interested in meeting another dog, who she ended up adopting the following week (a Chihuahua she named “Peanut”). The rescue worker told me that Humphrey had been experiencing some diarrhea recently, which they attributed to nerves and him having a sensitive stomach. So before the four of us piled into my VW Jetta I thought it was prudent to take Humphrey for a walk around the block just in case he had to go, which he did.As we’re driving back to LA Humphrey is pacing around the back seat and trying to stick his head out the window. We all did our best to try and calm him down thinking that he didn’t like riding in a car. Since Lyndon was sitting in the back seat he ended up taking the brunt of all of this and did his best to try and put this 75 pound dog at ease.

About forty minutes later we finally arrived at my apartment. Before parking my car into my narrow parking space I let Lisa out first and suggested she get Humphrey out of the back seat, thinking he was more than ready to get out of the car as well. She opened up the back door on Lyndon’s side and Humphrey trampled across him and leaped out of the car. I tended to Lyndon, who was complaining about all of the dog slobber he had all over him, while Lisa took Humphrey to the neighbors’ backyard. After I parked the car Lisa came over with Humphrey and said, “This is one amazing dog you have here! As soon as he found the grass he vomited and had explosive diarrhea.” I was trying to figure out what exactly was amazing about this feat when she chimed in with, “There aren’t many dogs that would have held all that in for that long.” I looked over at Lyndon and said, “I guess dog slobber doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?”

Humphrey’s diarrhea continued for about two weeks, which only involved one accident in my apartment, easily keeping him in the “amazing dog” category. But when I would take him out for his daily walks around the neighborhood (at least three to four times) there was no way to be a responsible dog owner and “pick up” after him given how lose everything was. The neighborhood I lived in was very dog friendly, but they didn’t look kindly upon dog owners not picking up after their dogs. So I devised a plan that when Humphrey began to squat I would slide a folded piece of newspaper right underneath him that his poop would land on (okay, sometimes it sprayed so I made sure to keep my distance). Then I would pick it up by the four corners and place it in the plastic bag, tie it off (holding my breath) and toss it in the nearest dumpster or trash can. I continued to do this with Humphrey from then on, even after the diarrhea had passed (so-to-speak), as an efficient and sanitary way of picking up my pooch’s poop. At the time George W was President so it was fun seeing how good Humphrey’s aim was!

When Jim and I were in the process of becoming foster parents we were eventually informed that both children were still wearing diapers and hadn’t been potty trained yet. Let me just say right now, I would deal with Humphrey’s diarrhea issues any day over poopy diapers. At least I didn’t have to wipe Humphrey’s ass or deal with poop caked on his butt or oozing out of the back of a diaper. At some point you begin to accept this as the norm — there isn’t a defining moment, it just happens. From then on it became a challenge to see how quickly I could do a diaper change, from snapping on the rubber gloves to tying off the diaper bag. I never officially timed myself (that would have been too anal), but when your own kid looks at you in amazement at how fast they’re out of a dirty diaper and into a clean one, you know you’ve set a new record.You’ve also just reinforced to them, in your own efforts to be efficient, that this pooping in the diaper thing isn’t so bad after all.

And just when you think you’re mastering the whole poopy diaper dilemma there comes a day when you don’t find the poop in the diaper. Don’t get your hopes up because it wasn’t in the potty either. Hmmmm, where could it be?

One Sunday morning I came home after playing tennis and saw Angelica gleefully running naked from the laundry room and through the kitchen. At that precise moment I hear Jim yell, “ANGELICA, get back in here!” I dropped my tennis bag to the floor and immediately found myself torn between chasing after the naked cherub and searching for my husband. Before I was forced to make a decision Jim appeared with a rubber glove on one hand and carrying a plastic bag in the other – not a good sign!

Your daughter just pooped on the laundry room floor.”

“You can’t be serious,” I replied, channeling John McEnroe (fitting since I was in my tennis clothes). (If you’re not a tennis fan, or even familiar with tennis, then this reference probably won’t make any sense to you. Sorry.)

“Oh I’m serious all right. She took off from their bedroom and when I finally found her she was in the corner of the laundry room taking a dump!”

Sure enough, there it was in the corner (thank goodness the floor was linoleum). At least she didn’t have diarrhea. But some newspaper would have come in handy!

To be continued (oh yes, I have plenty of material)….

–Thomas L-L

In Training…
In Training…
In Training…

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