Don´t read this story if you don´t want to read me talking about poop. On the other hand (a clean one), come on, all parents have nice poop stories to tell. Maybe mine will remind you of your own poop story to talk about later.
When my son was younger, I was walking through a trail next to a friend´s house with two friends of mine, Kyle (my 3-year old) and Luke (his brother who was 4). We sat under a tree and while we talked the kids were playing with sticks. Nice.
Suddenly, Kyle asked me to take him to the bathroom. I asked: “Is it pee or is it poop?”, and he said: “It´s poop”. We were on the bushes and if I was alone with him, I´d probably had him take his pants off and do it right there, but since I had two friends with me, I was embarrassed to this and asked him to run to the bathroom in the house. Although if it was pee, I wouldn’t have felt this way.
A few meters ahead, Kyle stopped and started to cry. I went over him and he said: “I pooped”. So I said: “It´s ok sweety, mum will clean you up. I´m sorry I didn´t let you do it here, you couldn´t hold it for so long right?” he agreed.
So I considered what happened there that made me end up with poop in my hands. It wasn´t simply the fact that he pooped all over himself, I took me as the responsible for this.
It was my embarrassment that caused him to be in such an awkward situation. After all, poop is meant to be made on the water closet while flushing and wasting a good 6 liters of water and not just let it out there in the nature like a dog does, right? No, of course this is not right. Of course if I was a bit more aware of the situation I would have realized that my friends wouldn´t mind seeing him pooping and even if they did, there was no time to be lost. All I had to do was help him behind a tree or something.
At least I realized what happened and acted accordingly, meaning making my son feel comfortable with what happened. A worse reaction would have been trying to correct Kyle, tell him that next time he has to hold it longer or even be upset at him because I had to make my hands dirty with poop (a shitty reaction that would be, sorry for the too many poop images, but I warned you).
This poop story made me think about the times that I avoid a natural spontaneous thing to happen because of my social constraints. How often do I (or do you) make my child go through something unpleasant because of what other people will think? How differently I behave in front of people and what kind of message am I passing about this to my son?
I will forever act differently in front of people than I will in the privacy of my home and around just my son. What this poop episode did was make me more aware of my own conditioned behaviour. In this case the positive conditioning to run to the bathroom (and teach this) didn´t work out so positively.
This story also makes me wonder about how we have different values at home and outside. At our place, I will let Kyle poop in the garden if he feels like it (he doesn´t). He actually runs outside to pee in front of the door sometimes. When he does it, I feel like letting him free. I restrain myself from teaching him every expected behaviour. What the hell, we are home, go on and pee in the garden if you feel like doing it. I´m here to support you to be you, we are home.
But then, we face situations where we can´t act like when we are home, we have to behave accordingly. And with time he will get it, he will act differently at home and outside. I wonder how these mixed messages are getting to his head, how confusing this all is.
Does poop make you reflect on life like me? Do you realize how different your actions and teachings are according to where you are?
Be true to yourself whether you are home or out and about, respect your values and if other people disapprove, respect their opinion and move on.
Working together to make a difference
Posted by noelene, 10th July 2013