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I Was in for a Surprise

I’m not ashamed to admit that I consider myself to be a pretty awesome mom. As a single parent by choice, I solely take on the parenting duties most people have a partner to share with. I’m the only one who got up during my daughter’s sleepless infant nights, the only one who has snuggled her on those inevitable sick days, and the only one dealing with her tantrums now that she is entering the toddler stage. And you know what? I do a pretty phenomenal job with all of it. My kid is happy and healthy and so completely and totally spectacular in every single way. I would like to think I’ve had a little something to do with that.

But if there is one area I still struggle with, maybe even more so now that my daughter is older, it’s the poop.

Particularly where that poop winds up.

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I should probably admit that I have always been a bit adverse to poop anyway. I never wanted a dog of my own, because the idea of picking up animal feces horrified me. When I was pursuing IVF and hoping for a pregnancy, the scariest part of labor to me was the potential of pooping on the table in front of a room of people. And once my daughter arrived, those dirty diapers became (and remain) my least favorite part of parenting.

But at least when that poop is in the diaper, I know what to expect. I had changed plenty of diapers in my life before, and I’m perfectly capable of changing hers as well. (Even as I not-so-secretly pine for the day when she is miraculously potty trained and those diapers become a thing of our past.)

What I hadn’t been prepared for, however, was what would happen when that poop found its way outside the diaper.

No one warns you about this. No one tells you that your kid may one day decide to use her poop as war paint or that daycare might begin insisting you put pants under her dresses because she’s been caught one too many times “digging for nuggets — and trying to eat them.” Not that my kid’s ever done that. No, not my sweet little princess. (Or if she has, I’m certainly not admitting it publicly.)

But do you know what my kid has done? What I had never in a million years prepared myself for her to do? Pooped in the tub.

We can keep those diapers on for as long as she needs. I would just appreciate it if she would actually use them, rather than finding creative ways to dispose of her poo.

On multiple occasions now there have been little floaters in the water – self-made boats that I have to scoop out by hand. Yes, it's disturbing and gross on every single level.

For some reason, it never occurred to me that pooping in the tub might be something we had to worry about as parents. It wasn’t until my daughter was about 2 months old and a friend’s son dropped a duce in his own tub that I realized ... that could happen to us. And I began to fear it with every ounce of my being (particularly because I often bathe with my daughter, and I just knew I was not up for getting shat on in the tub).

So of course, it had to happen. No, not on me. But still, when my daughter was about 8 months old, she clouded up those tub waters for the very first time. Thankfully, we were actually traveling and staying at a hotel — so I didn’t have to contemplate burning my house down in response (because who wants to bathe in a tub someone has pooped in?) And since my dad was with us, I was able to con him into dealing with it (while I rocked back and forth in a corner, trying to pretend it hadn’t happened at all).

I thought I was at least in the clear. She had done it now, I had paid my dues. Surely it would never happen again, right? Oh how naïve I was.

Two months later, she dropped another turd in the tub. This time, I was the one who had to clean up, bleaching her bath toys in the process. And again I thought, “It’s done. That milestone is over. I’ll never have to deal with that again.”

I’m an idiot.

Twice in the last week, my now 17-month-old daughter has stood up in the tub, looked me in the eye and dropped a few floaters behind her. Both times now, I have somehow developed the nerve to quickly scoop them out with my bare hands, drain the water and shower her off without completely freaking out.

So at least there has been progress in dealing with my phobia.

But the fact that she is doing this now, when she has otherwise been developing an interest in using the potty, is not lost on me. I swear this kid is just doing her best to make it clear to mommy that the end of diapers is not yet in sight. She poops in the tub as an act of rebellion, rather than one borne of necessity. You know, whatever. I’m not in a rush. We can keep those diapers on for as long as she needs. I would just appreciate it if she would actually use them, rather than finding creative ways to dispose of her poo.

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Nobody warned me about this. I wasn’t prepared for poop in the tub. Or her hands. Or her mouth. (Again, not that she’s ever done that.)

So consider that my warning to all you new parents now: No matter what you may think, diapers aren’t the only place your kid will find to poop. And if you’re getting in the tub with them, just know that you are bathing at your own risk.

Because you never know when that kid of yours will decide that the one thing that bath needs is a new boat.

And you don’t want to be under their little bums when they decide to drop that floater.

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