The Tale of Porta-Potty Poop Boy
There’s only one developmental phase that I’ve been truly afraid of as a parent – potty training. You wouldn’t think a pediatric ICU nurse could be afraid of child poo, and I’m not, not at work where there is controlled chaos – and I don’t do the laundry. It’s not that I’m particularly germ phobic, weak stomached, or even fazed by the natural process of elimination. My nightmares consist of poop streaked slides at the park and birthday party bounce houses full of crap. Historically, my son Noah hasn’t had the most positive of poop experiences.
I like to think that I waited until Noah was ready, but in all honesty I was just dragging my heels. At 3.5 years old I realized that if I didn’t give him a potty training nudge I’d be sending him off to college with a package of Depends. As with so many anxiety provoking situations from my past, I knew I had to face this hurdle head on. So, one morning we packed up all his diapers and embarked upon the “3-day naked-boy” method – it’s just what it sounds like. There was no turning back – Mr. Big Boy was ready to lead a diaper-free life.
Noah took to the potty better than I ever expected – until we left the house on day five.
Two minutes after we reached the park I saw a wave of panic wash over Noah’s face. I know that look of impending poop doom all too well. The cramps, the sweats, the thumping of your heart as you search for somewhere, ANYWHERE, to go.
This particular park came equipped with a Porta-Potty and against my better judgment I rushed Noah towards to the hell-hole.
“IT’S COMING OUT!” “IT’S COMING OUT!”
I felt so bad for my little guy – that loss of control. It defines us as humans. Everybody poops, yes, but the goal is to poop in private.
I barely had time to peel his crap-loaded pants down as he leaped towards the Porta-Potty seat. He jumped up like an experienced poop-pro but what he didn’t realize is that this seat was much larger than the kid friendly inserts we have at home.
I watched as my son started to FALL into the bowels of Porta-Potty HELL!
Luckily, this mama has cat-like reflexes and I saved him from the grips of the vile hepatitis infested chamber. But not before his hands, nails and any open wounds made contact with the soiled Porta-Potty seat.
I retched. I tried not to “go there” – to imagine what was happening on a microscopic level.
Then, as I scraped the thankfully hard nugget out of his pants and tossed it into the depths of the fecal abyss, Noah did the unthinkable.
In an attempt to stabilize himself as I pulled up his underwear HE GRABBED MY HAIR WITH BOTH OF HIS SYPHILIS COATED HANDS!
I now have immense empathy for Brittany Spears and her head-shaving breakdown. If there had been a Supercuts accessible to me at that exact moment I’m certain I’d be a shiny headed bald girl now.
The thing about your regular run-o-the-mill Porta-Pottys is that they don’t contain a sink to wash your hands, hair or your entire body in. I ran to the car for the diaper bag. There’s reinforcements in that thing – sanitizer, wipes, dignity and gum.
I was horrified when I realized my husband had taken the diaper bag out of the car the day before and failed to return it. It’s moments like this that my husband receives random irate text messages from me.
The clock was ticking. I knew I only had moments to clean my son’s hands before he stuck that thumb of his into his mouth in an attempt at post traumatic poo comfort.
SCORE – a half full package of baby wipes under the seat!!
I grabbed Noah’s hands in an OCD panic and scrubbed until he complained. I only had enough to do our hands, my hair would have to wait until we got home. As anticipated, Noah sucked his thumb the entire way home.
“Wipes are antimicrobial” – the lie I chanted to myself all the way home.
I shampooed my hair five times that day. Every time my head itches, I still imagine the petri dishes from microbiology class and wonder if that’s what’s growing on my head.
Ultimately, we’re fine. Exposure to organisms strengthens the immune system.
Potty training is quite the adventure and every parent has their poopy tale to tell. My one piece of advice – avoid the Porta-Pottys. Asepsis over privacy while they’re learning.