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Is It Poop or Is It Not Poop?

So many times in parenthood, you find yourself asking one very important question: Is it poop or not? When you have a toddler-aged child who is on the verge of being potty trained, this question pops up A LOT, sometimes on a daily basis. The general rule is to treat everything that looks like poop as if it were, in fact, poop. But sometimes different scenarios present different measures, and the conclusion is always the same. Parenthood can be really gross. Here are five is it poop or is it not poop scenarios that I myself have faced along, with my complex deductive reasoning tips.

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1. Poop or Tapenade?

You sit down to take a five-minute breather between play dates and work assignments, and you notice a dark and brown Rorschach-looking spot on the thigh of your pant leg. Your daughter was sitting on your lap in a diaper just 20 minutes ago, but then you also sampled some olive medley tapenade earlier this morning on your Costco run. Poop protocol would dictate that you just go change, but you are thin on clean laundry, as you are most days as a mom. So maybe take the next step. And smell it. Hopefully that tapenade smells different enough from poop for you to make a judgment call. Orrr, just rub it out with a damp washcloth and carry on. Just maybe don’t eat off your jeans for the rest of the day.

2. Poop or Lamb Kofta Meatball?

Call your husband (who owes you) to deal with the floater.

You look up from your iPhone, where you have been looking at Instagram while you muster up the energy to drag your daughter (who won’t get out of the bath) out of the bath, and you see something floating in the tub. Mother Effer. It looks like poop. Is it poop or is it not poop? No real room for debate here. It is poop. Definitely poop. What else could it be? A lamb kofta meatball that your daughter brought with her into the tub for a mid-bath snack? Don’t waste time asking or wondering. It’s poop, dude. Get her out of the tub. And call your husband (who owes you) to deal with the floater.

3. Poop or Raisin?

You see a dark, circular pebble on the floor next to your child at Target. Upon first squint, it could be a raisin or a dry bit of dark-colored Play-Doh. But, it also could be a dry, rogue nugget that got loose from the side of a poorly fastened diaper and escaped out the leg of your daughter’s baby palazzo pants. You pray to heaven above that it is a raisin, but deep in your gut you know it is not. Find anything disposable in your purse—a baby wipe, a used Kleenex, an old receipt. Just act quickly before anyone sees or walks along and kicks it toward the snacks aisle.

4. Poop or Nutella?

There’s a smear on the cushion of the couch. First ask the vital question, “Did anyone recently have Nutella?" Which is not likely to be the case because you have not bought Nutella since the “Nutella incident of 2012.” So then you quickly conclude that it is poop that is still on your 2-year-old’s hands after she tried to wipe herself without telling anyone. And without toilet paper. (gag noises)

5. Poop or Your Husband's Dinner?

Before you start unleashing a string of F-word variations, take a moment to assess.

You emerge from your bedroom only to smell a fierce odor, one that causes you to make that really ugly “What’s that smell?” face. It is getting stronger with every step you take toward the living room. You know that smell, and it’s not pleasant. The young culprit is in the other room, so why does it wreak in here? But before you start unleashing a string of F-word variations, take a moment to assess. Stand up straight, let your nostrils lead you to the truth. Sure, it could be a steaming pile in the corner behind the exercise bike, but it could also be broccoli that your husband is probably steaming on the stove as a part of his, “Surprise, I’m making dinner tonight (because I want to go to a pub and watch rugby later)” efforts. Turn the corner into the kitchen. Is it broccoli? No. Then, it’s poop. Start searching.

6. Poop or Prank?

You go in to check on your daughter, who is sleeping like an angel on her back. As you get closer to kiss her chub little cheeks, you notice that there is poop coming out of her pull-up. So many questions run through your mind. How did she poop without waking? What the hell did I feed her today? How am I going to change her without waking her? Why doesn’t it sm…. Ah-Hah! Your son got you! He got you good! It was the fake dog poop pile he bought from the Magic Shop in Vegas three weeks ago. Not poop. So happy.

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7. OK, Sleep > Poop Debate

It’s the middle of the night. You are tired and angry that your daughter has woken up on this third night in a row. She is poopy. It’s a fact. You change her stupid Pull-Up and hastily throw her back into her bed. As you go to lie down, you notice something that looks like poop on your wrist. You wipe it on your sweatpants and get back into bed. Who cares if it’s poop? You are balls tired. Poop will not get in the way of the five more minutes of sleep you may get by not taking the appropriate measures just to make sure you don’t wake up with Pink Eye. You’ll take that risk.

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