No Good, Very Bad Day

My hands smell faintly of shit.

Let me back up a bit. T was warm when we put him to bed last night. This morning he clearly had a fever, how high I didn’t know because the damn thermometer only gave a reading of 97 or 98. He also had a sore throat.

I have vowed to be the kind of Mom who sends her kid to school unless the need for an ambulance is involved. On the 4th day of kindergarten I broke that vow. C had his three year well visit today at 10, so I brought sick T along for the ride.

sick t

In the doc’s parking lot. He was passed out at 9:45am. And no, I have no idea what is going on with his tongue.

Let’s just say that getting a nearly catatonic kid plus a kid having a tantrum on the scale to grab their weights was quite the workout for the nurse and me. It was also loud enough for the occupants of the waiting room down the hall and around the corner to have a blow by blow of events, which I’m sure they appreciated. Because they got to feel good that their children were not embarrassing them in public.

T doesn’t have strep. And I’m really bummed. Not because I’m a raging asshole. (Oh who am I kidding, I am a raging asshole, but that part comes later in the post) If he had strep the antibiotics would ensure that he would feel better tomorrow. And that he could go to the birthday party he was looking forward to. Along with his first swimming lesson since he was about one. Instead I can’t do anything to help him. He is going to feel like total garbage for the next several days.

I’m sure C will catch it in time to miss his first day of school preschool on Monday. Speaking of C, he has rocketed up the growth chart from the 3% in weight one year ago all the way up to 5% today. This kid is so painfully thin that I’m scared people will think I’m starving him. If we manage to get him up to double digits in weight by the time he gets there in age perhaps I’ll stop obsessing that Child Protective Services is going to show up at my door demanding that I prove I’m giving him three square meals a day.

We got home and ate our lunch. The boys finished first and T collapsed back on the couch while I gave both boys a marshmallow, a bribe for making it through the flu shot at the doc’s. And yes, the doc gave the all clear for T to get the vaccine. He’s fever was only 100.5. And yes, the nurse and I had to hold T down together while he thrashed and screamed in anticipation of the shot. And yes, I cried a little.


Poor sick kid couldn’t bring himself to eat the marshmallow.

I settled back at the table to bolt the rest of my lunch before taking C up for his nap. Two minutes later C walked into the room and proclaimed, “I pooped!”

I whipped around. There was poop on his thigh and leg. There was poop hanging off his butt. There was poop all over both his hands. In what feels like slow motion I watched him put one hand and then the other in his mouth.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed. But it was too late.

“DO NOT MOVE!” I’d scared the hell out of him. He wasn’t moving, but he was also weeping.

I carried him to the bathroom by his shoulders. He tried to reach out for me and it was like a demon with a voice several octaves below mine has possessed me. “DO NOT TOUCH ME!”

He cried harder.

I used baby wipes to get the chucks and streaks of poop off of him. The crying continued. I was focused on not puking, therefore I was unable to provide comfort.

We awkwardly climbed the stairs with me holding his wrists. I used an obscene amount of soap all over him, washing his hands about six times. I finally thought they no longer smelled like shit.

When I got him in bed for his nap I notice his hands still smell like shit. As do mine.

He sniffled and asked to go downstairs to pick out a toy that he could sleep with. In perhaps my worst parenting moment of the year I tell him that he can only have a toy to nap with when he figures out how to poop in the potty. Ah, there is the part where I’m a raging asshole!

It would be fair to call him potty trained when it comes to pee. He wears underwear whenever he is awake. The pee accidents are few and far between and usually my fault for not reminding him to go. And here is where my denial of a toy is even more assholic. Please, feel free to judge my shitty parenting. He is scared to poop in the potty.

I have no idea how to get past his fear. I feel bad for him. Most days I have more patience with the shit accidents. But I am so fucking sick of it. I am sick of cleaning crap off the floor, off his body, I’m sick of the ground in shit in his underwear. I’ve actually thrown several pairs away because I cannot face trying not to puke in the utility sink while I scrub.

Help me friends. Help me. How do I convince him that he doesn’t need to be scared of pooping in the toilet? Also, if you know a trick for getting the smell of shit off of C and my hands I’d love to hear it!

c cupcake

I love him. I feel terrible for losing patience with him. I want him to shit in the fucking toilet.


16 thoughts on “No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. I have a friend whose son was afraid to poop in the toilet, too. He would come home from pre-school, demand a diaper (he was an afternoon pooper) and happily crap in it. His parents got tired of that and told him all the diapers were gone. He held out for THREE days, and finally exploded on the toilet, screaming the whole time. When he was done, he looked in the toilet and said, “Oh, it doesn’t have eyes!” And after that he was fine. You just never know what goes on in their heads.

      • In which case, he’s old enough to “help” clean it up. My friend also did that with a neice who was staying with her for a few days. The neice informed her that she was going to pee on the floor and my friend just handed here some paper towels and said, “go ahead.” It didn’t happen, but it sure worked.

  2. Oh my god, I’m hugging you. I’m crying, I’m nauseous, I’m scared for you and I’m laughing out loud. You are such a good writer. And a great mom. I fucking hate myself when I get frustrated with my son, too. I think NOT caring is when you have to worry about your parenting. I am so dramatic, my only suggestion for your son’s fear is to get a new toilet and smash the one that scares him in the backyard family style. Solidarity. Keep sharing, it’s helping me πŸ™‚

  3. Your blog is so excellent and this post is also excellent even though completely horrifying on the shit side. I would have freaked the freak out too.

    As someone on the other side, I can tell you that this too will pass, but that is so completely assholish and unhelpful that I will just slap myself for you.

    I’m sorry that I don’t have advice to offer on the pooping. I wish I did. I didn’t have that issue although my youngest DID refuse to poop anywhere but at home for years and also made me wipe his butt for years. And then went through a VERY long phase of putting his poop covered toilet paper he had used to wipe himself into the trashcan instead of the toilet because he didn’t want to back it up. That was special. And now it feels like forever ago, but I wouldn’t want to live it again!

    And as a total aside, I would never have guessed that C is so low on the weight charts. For whatever reason, he doesn’t look all that thin to me. If I were social services I wouldn’t visit!

    • Thank you so much. Not flushing the TP? I love it.

      And I LOVE that you don’t think he looks too skinny. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on it. Probably because I never was stick thin. He just look frail to me. Which is ironic because he is a bulldozer.

  4. Karen, this is where we were a year ago, in, ahem, carpeted corporate housing. One day I sat down and read the Berkeley Parents Network for about 4 1/2 hours. It’s well archived, so you can actually read advice for JUST parents whose boys poop in their underwear, but who are 99% pee trained. After much of the same old sticker, chart, toy, train prize advice, I found a small entry from a clever dad. Paraphrased, it was “to hell with small rewards. Think of the one thing your kid really wants, the big, expensive thing. Buy it. Put it where he can’t reach it, but he can see it. Let him find it on his own, and when he starts levitating with desire, calmly tell him he can have it as soon as he poops in the toilet. And then he has to “earn” it everyday after that by pooping in the toilet.” H was “poop” trained in 3 hours after 3 months of hiding and crapping in his underwear every night. 1 Micro-mini scooter and 3 hours. I know it’s complete bribery, but it worked like a charm.

    • Dude. You rock. We are all about the bribes in this house. We’ve been working the whole “we will drive you to the lego store that is more than an hour away and buy you something” angle, but it is probably too nebulous. Z read your comment before he came home and when he got here he agreed we should do it. Thank you, friend that I miss. Give your whole family a squeeze from me. xo

      • *squeeze* and poop, like garlic, can be erased from flesh by a combination of lemon juice (shake hands with a lemon as Ma Kegan used to say) and stainless steel (make friends with the knife.) I grew up on a farm, we had a lot of sayings.e

      • Lemon juice and stainless steel are two things we always have around. I should have just emailed you the post directly. And will be coming to you with all of my issues from now on. Seriously, I do have the most brilliant friends! xo

  5. Here’s where I get to use my favorite mantra! People have bad days “even in Australia.” First of all your “only in the event of the hospital” idea won’t work. The school won’t allow children with fevers anyway. You didn’t fail! My daughter is in the 90 some percentile for height and probably about 5 or less for weight. My son was the same way. No one ever accused me of starving them. They are just skinny beanpoles. They will appreciate being skinny in the future. You didn’t fail! I’m not sure how to convince C that the toilet isn’t scary, but I bet there’s a book about it! If not, here is your opportunity to write a children’s book! πŸ™‚ Good luck with the poo. I’ll start the book search. Tell T that I hope he feels better. I hope you feel better too mom!

    • You know what? I have the coolest friends. Thank you. You made me laugh with your comment, although I should have expected it by stealing the title of your favorite book. Seriously, thank you. And one I get this nut cracked maybe I’ll try my hand at a children’s book! That is if you don’t find one first.

  6. I second the lemon juice. When you don’t have that around, vinegar. Takes smells out of almost anything.
    As for the skinny… My oldest is the same. Rail thin (though he is getting better) the only thing I would tell you to watch is his iron. I almost lost one of my boys due to a hemoglobin issue and the other two are anemic so I give them fer-in-sol to compensate.
    Some days being a momma is just shitty.

  7. Pingback: Potty Training & Pot Tea training | boof & monk-monk

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