**Warning – This won’t be very graphic, but if you don’t like to read about or even think about poop, X out of this page and come back another time**
Ace LOVES his social skills group and looks forward to it every week. He calls it his “fun class.” I don’t mind that he thinks he’s going there just to have fun because he really is learning some valuable skills while he’s there. Yesterday was all about being a good friend and listening and looking people in the eye and compromising.
While the kids are inside
playing learning, the parents sit in the waiting area and … well, wait.
This is a fairly new group so us parents don’t really know each other well – or at all. Usually, we occupy ourselves with our phones or tablets. Yesterday, one mom casually says to another, “How’s [your daughter] doing with the potty? I remember you saying a couple weeks ago that she was holding it and then getting constipated.”
And that is how 5 women from very different back grounds and with very different – but similar – lives launched into a 45 minute conversation about poop. Everyone had a story (or several stories) to tell about their childrens pooping issues. They ranged from constipation to diarrhea to the number of underwear that were unsalvageable and were therefore thrown out to needing to clean poop while at the park or the beach with no wet wipes handy to trying to clean the poop of one child at a pumpkin patch while making sure his twin didn’t wander off. There was talk of what potty training strategies worked and which ones didn’t. There were recommendations about what to use if your child won’t drink prune juice and there were stories about dealing with strangers who notice that your child looks too old to be in diapers and about striking up conversations with total strangers at Sesame Place because you noticed that their child looked too old to be in swimming diapers and giving winks and soflty whispering “I get it“. There were lots of stories about getting pooped on and about cleaning poop off walls and the floor. (Thankfully, none of those were mine.) There were stories about having issues with schools or teachers who didn’t want to deal with poop and there were success stories and a reassuring touch on the shoulder with the words “It’ll get better.”
Somewhere in the middle of all this potty talk, I giggled. I looked around at the group. A chubby, quietly-friendly brunette with twin boys. A shy, Indian with one daughter and one child apparently on the way. A tall, thin blond with a blond biological son and a dark-skinned adopted son. A loud-talking, curly haired, Puerto Rican with a daughter and son – both with special needs. And me.
I couldn’t think of another place where this group of women would be sitting around discussing their childrens bathroom struggles. There were no hushed tones and no judgment or embarrassment and no line that wasn’t crossed. There were a couple people in the room who did not join in the conversation but no-one batted an eye. It was as if we were giving our opinions on the latest fashions or Taylor Swifts latest dumpee.
I thought about our children inside learning how to behave appropriately and I wondered what they would think about their parents telling strangers about how many times they had made a mess of themselves. They would probably be mortified. But yet, there we were and when the hour of therapy was up, we collected our precious cargo and jumped into our vehicles and went about our business as if what had just happened was perfectly normal.