Please be advised, graphic content ahead! Do not read if you are eating, feeling extremely critical, or about to walk into an important event. The following true story events will describe the worst parts of parenting…
“Are you guys done?…Do you have a number in mind?…Are they all yours?” These are questions we receive probably once a week from friends, family, and lots of strangers. Most of the time, their eyebrows are raised in disbelief when we explain that we didn’t have any sets of twins and the oldest is 5.5. “You know there is something you can take for that…” Nope I didn’t know, please enlighten me Mr. Original.
As we consider whether or not to have more kids, two verses come directly to mind. 1 Corinthians 10:13 which I do not think applies to our situation. I cannot think of temptation that would entice us to have another baby. Ok, maybe some, but 6 under 6 bragging rights are not the best trade off and only last about 5 seconds until you are up in the middle of the night crying because you haven’t slept in years. The other scripture is Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” So true! I have never described how many kids I have to someone in a bleak mood. I could be sick, tired, or just finished disciplining, but I always lift up my head a little when talking about my quiver.
However, one question we don’t get is, “How much more poop are you willing to wipe?” I haven’t found a verse, but I feel as if there is so much biblical wisdom there. I begin the day with poop and end the day with poop. The worst part being that it is not my own!
The first poop exchange happens every morning. The 16 mo wakes up bright and early with a poop ready for us. I am usually finishing up my DBR (daily Bible reading) and I will hear him calling from upstairs. He wakes up so excited for the world, laughing, playing, and baby-talking. It makes you feel so good until… you have to change his diaper. He immediately goes from happy baby to crying, complaining and entitled politician. I have to bribe him with snacks to maintain any amount of silence or joy that remains. It’s as if he has been signaling to me for a year now that it is time to stop changing poop. I don’t want to do this either homeslice.
Today, the second poop exchange happened after breakfast. Johnna and I often joke when one of us goes to the bathroom, “You think you get alone time right now?” I snuck off for alone time because sometimes that is the only place you can get it in our house. You parents understand. As I complete my daily duties, I turnaround and my oldest is laughing. “Get out! Do NOT sneak up on people in the bathroom, that is privacy,” I declare unamused. Seriously man. How long have you been standing there? You wait to reveal yourself in my most vulnerable moment – right after wipe and right before satisfaction. I warned you this would be graphic, but come on kid — this is no-go!
Our four-year-old poops at the most inopportune times, like this morning for example. We have gotten into a routine that we will do haircuts Sunday morning before church. Today is just an edge up for the boys so ‘they can grow their curls out.’ Cutting hair is a sensitive topic for our family. Johnna loves those curls and also despises the small, fine, hairs that get everywhere and don’t come out of the clothes. I do not understand the hate because it’s not like I can’t go in the shower right now and find her leftovers everywhere. Cannot wait until we have double sinks! I digress, I’ll save that for a marriage post. Anyways, as soon as breakfast is nearing its end and I signal the boys to head to the shop, I get that look. It’s a normal day to go to church and the grocery store on a Sunday, but add haircut in to that mix and “We’re doing too much today.” It’s like her eyes scream “Don’t mess this one up…honey.” She keeps our family balanced and rested if you haven’t figured that out by now.
So I cut all the men’s hair in the tub and of course our second child has to poop “right now, really bad.” Does he not know I could get in trouble for this? What if one hair hits the ground on the way to the toilet? I reluctantly pick him up and sit him down. He is holding up the whole operation now. Mom is handling clean up from breakfast, but it is only a matter of time before I get a healthy holler from the hallway because the four-year-old had to poop. Of course he has to touch everything while pooping and I have to constantly remind him that this isn’t play time it’s poop time. “I’m done!” A signature call of our four-year-old signaling his royal hieney needs to be wiped. That’s some King Sugar Honey Iced Tea, if you know what I mean… pun intended.
I do not trust our four-year-old to wipe himself. That creates more of a mess for me on the back end (pun intended). But this is completely disgusting and I probably get frustrated with him every time I have to do it. Our kids have different attention spans and wiping correctly is not a high priority, especially for our second born. How humbling these moments are for me. Whenever I start to get high and mighty, I have little reminders like these to keep me grounded. I imagine when he gets upset and stares at me as if he wants to unleash his anger, the thought of ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be wiping my butt later,’ probably crosses his mind and instead he chooses not to lash out. If you are counting, this is the third poopoo exchange we have had this morning between father and children. [I interrupt this blog to give you a real time update. As I type our oldest says, “Dad, I might need a little help with this one.” I walk in the bathroom to see a man-sized week’s worth of rectum snake. You can’t make this crap up. Make that the fourth].
Our girl has her own poop stories. She likes to wait until she is in the bath with her siblings to let hers out. How graceful. It’s like she is too embarrassed to go alone, so maybe in the bath it’s as if hide behind the crowd. She scared the living daylights of the oldest boy a few months ago when Auntie was on bath duty. He jumped out the water and was crying. Very fun until someone has to scoop out the little poo peeps from the bath tub with bare hands. Have you not invented the pooper scooper yet Johnson&Johnson?
Finally, our youngest is still in the lovely poop stage that doesn’t smell yet. But his smelly mud bunnies are just around the corner. Mom is obviously used to this. She schedules her time in the bathroom before anyone is up and if something throws off that schedule, no big deal. Except if any of us interrupt her — that is a big deal. Before church, she disappeared mid-chaos and from the bathroom I heard the usual charge of directions to keep us moving on time. “Kai kai doesn’t have his socks. Lo’s clothes are on the ironing board. Boys — you need to wear what I laid out. Don’t come in here!” Hope she enjoyed her alone time.
If you didn’t get the lesson today, it is that each kid is different. Resist the temptation to compare your kids to others. Maybe you need some more poop in your life to help you out. I wouldn’t have known this truth if it weren’t for our five kids, each with unique personalities, likes, and dislikes. I would be in the trap of “Why isn’t he walking yet, why isn’t he talking yet, why isn’t he reading yet, why isn’t she releasing her chocolate hostages in the toilet yet?” If you have made it thus far, God bless you. Keep praying for our family as we consider the possibilities of the future. Adoption? Foster care? There is a great need and we feel God has provided us with much to bless others.
Sending our love,