Yesterday, my toddler pooped. Twice. During his nap time, he took off his pants and diaper, and smeared poop everywhere. Twice. Luckily, I wasn't home when this happened, so my husband had to take two for the team. No matter how much people told me, "You'll be covered in spit-up and poop and pee and puke," they couldn't have possibly prepared me for this.
When Shep does something weird, like smearing his poop everywhere, I begin to question myself. Did I cause him to act out? Was it because I tried to put him down for a nap early? Or maybe he's ready to potty train and I'm just failing him as a parent. He's not, and I'm not. I can't take the blame for this poop - sometimes toddlers are just gross. What can I learn from this? And how can I use this experience to help others?
I hope you can't relate, but if you can - solidarity! This is an ongoing war against bodily fluids and waste, this parenting gig. The veterans tell me it gets easier, but I haven't yet glimpsed the light at the end of the tunnel myself. I'm certainly not a squeamish person. I have a hound-dog nose, which is actually really helpful when you're trying to sniff out the poop smear on the underside of the crib railing. From a practical sense, I can tell you what worked out well in my favor during this poop catastrophe. A few of the mom hacks I've picked up made dealing with the aftermath a bit easier.
Do you remember those puppy-pad looking things they put under you in the hospital after birth? They're called "chux". Make changing wet or gross sheets a snap by layering a chux, a sheet, a chux, a sheet, a chux, a sheet, and so on. The chux helps prevent any moisture from seeping into the clean sheets below or the mattress. After an accident, just peel off the sheet and chux and put the kiddo back into bed on a fresh set.
Fair warning, I'm a self-professed laundry geek. Remove any solids and flush them. If things are really terrible, you may want to glove up and scrub - skid marks are ok, but actual substance is a no-go. However you get it off, make sure it ends up in your toilet and not your tub, sink, or shower drain. You can pretreat stains easily. I recommend adding an enzyme booster like Biz, Bac-out, or Odoban to the wash - seriously life-changing for anyone with pets or kids. Wash anything with bodily fluids or waste twice - once to remove the bulk of the mess, and the second wash will be able to clean more deeply.
In complete transparency, I am not a tidy person. Trying to maintain an organizational system in my house is truly a Sisyphean effort. I do, however, enjoy cleaning. Regular old bleach (diluted to 1 tablespoon per gallon of water) meets CDC guidelines for proper sanitizing protocols. If you can't use bleach, make sure the product you're using says it kills 99.99% of germs, and follow directions accordingly. Human waste is a literal breeding ground of grossness, so nip it in the bud and prevent communicable disease.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, or find a quiet moment to unwind. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom for a moment - give yourself a moment to find the humor in this mess we call toddler life. Write the ordeal down somewhere (or publish it on the internet for the whole world to see) and keep it in your back pocket to pull out at their graduation party. Soon enough, this stage of life will be a distant memory and new, harder, and even grosser times will replace it. I hope it's helpful to learn you're not the only person elbow-deep in this chaos. It's just another Tuesday with toddlers.