Lessons in Poop

There are lessons everywhere. Even in poop. Maybe especially in poop.

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Sylvia hadn’t been a mother long; her son was only a few months old. But the smelly signal of an impending diaper change had already become as familiar as sunsets to her. And the bell had just gone off.

She took her bundle of joy to the changing table and began to perform the cleansing ritual that now occupied an onerous chunk of her day (to those who aren’t in the know, babies are prolific mini poop factories). And yes, there it was — the malodorous nugget of meals past that his novice tract had manufactured, proof positive that he was alive and thriving. Sylvia dutifully rolled up the diaper around the fudgy mound, disposed of it in the diaper genie (a modern wonder of disposal, if you ask me), and wiped his little hinny spotless. Then as she reached for a clean diaper, it happened.

Vesuvius.

That tiny baby hinny erupted with apocalyptic force, coating the room and Sylvia with a slimy fecal film. It was ugly. Real ugly. But she, once again, dutifully cleaned up her baby, cleaned up the room, wiped herself off, and assuming her personal poop factory had finished shipping its products, reached for another pristine diaper. And…

KABLAM!

Flying mud monkeys exited this human crap canon with the unassailable force of an atomic blast and slathered the room in a muddy and pungent brown. Again. So again, Sylvia cleaned — baby, self, room — and hoped, prayed, that the silo was empty.

But no.

Baby boy had two or three more rounds in him, and each was as catastrophic and nasally hostile as the last. The room was covered. Sylvia was covered. Everything was literally and distressingly covered in shit. Then, as if injury required insult, her little one began to cry loudly, wailing like a disconsolate widow. Sylvia joined him. She let tears gush from her eyes, let sobs convulse through her body and send her to her knees. Because it seemed like the shit would never end.

Of course, it did. It always does. Sylvia cleaned up that last mess, swaddled her baby boy, and laid him down for a nap. He slept for hours. So did she, blissfully alongside him.

Now when she tells the story, she ends it with a laugh and a smile. “I thought it was so awful. But I look back now, and it wasn’t as bad as it seemed then. It was just crap. Now I just handle it. As long as he’s healthy, that’s all that really matters.”

She learned a lesson from poop.

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…Life is going to shit on you, sometimes over and over and over again, until you’re absolutely smothered in it and reeking of colon sauce and thoroughly certain you’ll never be able to clean up this godforsaken horror show of partially-digested indigestibles. But no matter how big the mess, you can clean it up, and you will clean it up, if only because that baby — your life — needs you to, wants you to, and will thrive only if you do.

So if your life at present seems to be a never-ending crap-fest, grab a baby wipe and handle it. Learn from it. Grow from it. And know that as long as you’re alive and kicking (and pooping), that’s all that really matters.

After all, it’s only poop.

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