I am, and have been for many years, well acquainted with poo in it's many forms. Sick poo and healthy poo. Geriatric poo and neonate poo and all ages in between (all though less well known is the adolescent poo age spectrum, I haven't had much experience with that poo-group). I am, you might recall, a nurse. Squeamishness is not allowed.
But my experience up until now has had a certain emotional distance; I had Fecal Episodes and Educational Experiences in Incontinence. There were no emotional overtones to whether or not the patient in room seven was really constipated or whether she was merely bowel obsessed. My previous run-ins with baby waste; Mother-Infant Nursing and the earlier introduction by my sister's young children; were more academic in nature.
That has now changed. First of all, in the last 3 weeks ( as of today if you wish specifics) I have probably seen more poop than in the 3 years of nursing. The quantity astonishes and amazes. Even more so when contrasted to the tiny size of this poo-making machine.
Second, it matters now. Meconium was expected and so wasn't too traumatic for me. But transitional poop was an unexpected trauma. Was it too late in changing? Did it take too long? Was it the jaundice or was he just developmentally delayed, even in his stools? Finally things seemed on track, as it were, and flowing normally.
Then the blow fell. Diarrhea. Or not. How do you tell? None of my previous experience could have helped here. Baby poop would be diarrhea had it come from an adult. But it doesn't so none of the normal indicators work here! Oh, help! What's a bear of little brain to do?
Thank the Lord above for grandparents. And sisters who work for pediatricians. Many phone calls and much internal obsessing later I have it figured out, I think. Consistency-slightly too watery and frequency-slightly too often. But only very slightly. Thus the decision is made. Dairy must go! I was lactose intolerant as an infant and that little gem seems to have carried through. Problem solved, mostly, 'cause I can't give up cheese. Nope, not happening.
In addition to the angst-filled response to poor Sprout's poo there is a certain awe in it's periodic poetry.
A few days ago I was up with the Sprout for his morning feeding when I heard the distinctive sound of a dirty diaper being made. Now I have found that the Sprout poops in threes so I was in no hurry to hop up and change him. I finished feeding him and heard a few more spurts happen. "Ah!" I said to myself "It's safe!"
I then undressed him and removed the item in question. As I did so the fountain which little boys are so famous for began. All is well though, as his quick-thinking mama pulled the mostly saturated diaper up over the offending part. Safe! Feeling more than a little smug I finished taking off the diaper and threw it away.
Just as I turned back from the diaper pail I saw a perfect fountain fall delicately in his ear followed by a yellow stream of baby poo arching gracefully out from the other end of him, over the end of the changing pad, and landing on the nearby wall. The contrast of the bright, primary colors was quite striking as the poo quickly ran down the nursery's blue wall, rushing to meet the carpet. I was able to save the carpet, just, from the waterfall of baby poo. Unfortunately in my amazement at young Sprout's artistry and irony I had neglected to notice the poo dribbling down the front of the changing table and so the carpet did not go unscathed.
The culprit at the scene of the crime