[Blurt alert: This post talks about poop. Continue at your own risk.]
As I mentioned earlier this week, when Cranky Ex-Boss Lady's grandson, Other Kid, was a baby, he was with us forty to fifty hours per week while his mom worked second shift. Every night, during her dinner break, Other Kid's Mom would call to see how things were going--how he was feeling, what he had eaten, and, always, every night, for the entire four years we babysat, the Poop Report. A simple "Did he poop?" did not suffice with Other Kid's Mom. There were always questions of chronology, consistency, color, quantity--so very many questions.
As the mother of four, I was not exactly squeamish about these questions, but I also didn't entirely understand the need to go into quite so much detail, especially at first. Later, it did occur to me that rather than an expression of her deep (and perhaps mildly disturbing) interest in poop, her nightly pop (poop?) quizzes were perhaps her attempt to offset all the time she spent away from him. Her job was essential for both her financial and mental health, but those facts fold pretty quickly in the face of maternal guilt and just the constant missing your kid that most moms working outside the home struggle with.
Anyway, regardless of its psychological underpinnings, the Poop Report became a staple of our daily routine. If I had to work late at the flower shop, or I couldn't wait one more second to take my evening shower, I would say to Hubby, "You're going to have to do the Poop Report tonight." If one of my kids changed Other Kid's diaper, they would be sure to tell me any pertinent poop information so it could go into the Report.
Compiling the Report grew a little more complicated once potty training began, because we had to include all the almost poops--the times Other Kid announced he had to go, then spent fifteen minutes in the bathroom doing everything but going. One evening, eleven-year-old Daughter-Only was on potty duty (doodie?) with Other Kid. They had been upstairs for quite a while when Other Kid's Mom called for the evening rundown. Mid-phone call, Daughter-Only walked up and handed me a piece of paper on which she had drawn, in brown and green crayon, her rendition of the toilet's contents before she and Other Kid had (triumphantly, I assume) flushed. She had even written a heading across the top: "The Poop Report."
As she handed me her masterpiece, she said, "Here, you can just give this to Other Kid's Mom so she can see what I saw." She did it trying to be funny, and it was most assuredly that. It's entirely possible (though I have no intention of asking) that Other Kid's Mom took that picture home and framed it. Or put it in Other Kid's scrapbook. The whole thing is a bit of a family legend.
I'm not sure the exact nature of the poop that's been getting to me lately--most of it is generated deep inside my brain and not from external sources. I do know it's been a pretty crappy couple of weeks. And I also know that sometimes I can't help wishing I could draw--or write--something as concrete and easily decipherable as Daughter-Only's Visual Aid to the Poop Report. Something that would portray the poop in a way that would help me understand it better. Something I could hand to someone and say, "There, now you can see what I see."
I Failed My Students
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