Saturday, September 6, 2008

Luckily I'm Not Fond Of French Manicures

I worked with a girl years ago who was exceptionally perky. Strangely enough we got along well; I think she was the counter-balance to my natural tendency toward grumpiness. But she annoyed the heck out of our other co-workers. I remember when she got pregnant and a woman we worked with (who shared my tendency toward the crabby side) said rather snidely, "Just wait til she gets a little shit under that French manicure at 3 a.m. and we'll see how cheery she is then."

I didn't have any kids of my own at the time, but just nodded my head and agreed like I knew what she was talking about.

But the truth is, I had no idea what awaited me.

For those of you with weak stomachs or those of you that don't share my Beavis and Butthead-like amusement with poop stories, be warned. This one is chock-full of the brown stuff.

Meredith's diaper digging the other day reminded me of a habit of Jamie's I had tried very hard to forget. I've met another person whose son practiced this habit. And I read countless stories about it online in my desperate search for reassurance that my son was not totally abnormal and not destined to be a serial killer or that kid that eats his boogers (or worse).

I would put Jamie down for an afternoon nap around 1:00 every day. He would go into his crib willingly enough and I'd hear him happily chattering away to his animals or singing little songs to himself. Then he'd get quiet.

But in Jamie's case, silence was not golden. Silence was often brown.

Jamie not only removed and examined the contents of his diaper. He was artistic with it. A regular PicASSo. I'm all for artistic expression, but that was not the finger painting I had in mind.

The tricky thing was, if he got quiet and was honestly simply getting ready to fall asleep, and I checked on him too soon, he would pop up like a Jack-in-the-Box upon seeing me peeking in the door, and refuse to go to sleep.

But waiting too long before I checked on him meant his crib and walls displayed almost as much talent as this kid's. Except Jamie's palette was limited to one color.

Jamie loved getting a bath and was deliriously happy when he was unceremoniously dumped into the tub for a complete scrubbing. I began to wonder if he was wiping poo on his walls just so he could get a bath. So I began plopping him in the shower. What can I say? The boy adapted and learned to like showers.

I read everything I could find on how to handle this disgusting behavior. Mostly I encountered articles about monkeys flinging poo. And while I often compared Jamie to a monkey, being as he wasn't, in fact, a young simian, they weren't particularly helpful with the behavior modification.

I read about the possible psychological causes. The possibility that he was angry or stressed or depressed came up in several online articles. Seeing as he was laughing gleefully most of the time he was poop painting, I didn't put much stock in these explanations.

I'm not sure where I finally came across this solution, but as usual, the simplest solution proved to be the best. No need for psychological evaluation, extensive therapy or lengthy conversations with a 2 year old about his reasons for smearing poo everywhere.

Just separate the boy from the poop. Put his pajamas on backwards with the zipper in the back. And thank God Jamie's many talents did not extend towards Houdini-like abilities.

In the end I found a little extra shit under my fingernails made no improvement in my mood to be certain.

Fortunately I wasn't that cheerful to begin with.


Dani said...

Oh my. Zac only decorated his room ONCE with the contents of his diaper. I guess I should consider myself lucky!

Norkio said...

I am so thankful that Melody doesn't like squishy things on her hands all that much!!!

Kim said...

This is a huge problem for us - our LO thinks it's great fun to dig in her diaper. Thankfully she doesn't decorate the walls, but nonetheless, I have weeks where I end up changing her sheets nearly every day. YUCK!

Irishembi said...

Kim I swear by these pajamas:
Put them on backwards with the zipper in the back.
It will save your sheets, your sanity, and having to smell poop under your baby's fingernails all day.