It has been said that you can easily spot new parents at any gathering by their topic of conversation — chances are they would be talking about their baby’s pooh, it’s color, texture, consistency, frequency, and how early they can start toilet training. Curiously enough, I would say that my husband and I never really obsessed about Ruby’s pooh, but we did sing the praises of its odorless quality (the natural result of pure breastfeeding) to anyone who would care to listen or even just between ourselves every time we change a nappy. We do have some pooh stories that we love to recount, and in this post I document some of our most memorable encounters.
Soon after she was born, Ruby was whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit hours so I was spared dealing with her meconium, that viscous, sticky, dark green, almost black first pooh. Instead when we were reunited three days later, she was in full-blown poohing mode. The midwives at the hospital shared some tips on how to change a diaper after an episode: Open up a clean diaper and place it under her still-diapered butt before opening up the soiled diaper. That way you could catch any runny pooh that spills from the soiled diaper, and make sure you have something already in place in the event that she launches again. I believe I was a good student and did exactly as the midwives taught me. Still, nothing prepared me for one of Ruby’s episodes in the wee hours of the morning. As I sleepily changed her soiled diaper (and believed I was getting good at it as my hands worked deliberately in the dim night light), an angry explosion of bright yellow pooh burst forth catching me unawares. Aiyah, it soiled the new diaper underneath. As I bent down to get a new diaper, there was another eruption with what I call pooh projectiles. She managed to smear bright yellow pooh onto her immaculately white baby robe, blanket, bed sheet, and the plexiglass bassinet. It was quite a sight. This launched Ruby’s career as a pooh champ.
When Ruby was about a month old, I had to leave her in the care of my husband for about three weeks. My husband who works full time and had to take care of a newborn full time didn’t know what to do in his spare time so he started a new hobby. The night I left he noticed Ruby straining and quickly swept her up, ripped off her diaper and placed her on the toilet. And behold, she poohed right there. So pleased with himself, he started repeating this each time. His record for soiled-free diapers was 16 days in a row. The next step for him was making a map with pushpins of all the places she poohed before she was eight weeks old. His most notable “accomplishment” was the Delta business lounge at Narita, much to the amusement of some high flying businessmen. She would also have a pushpin somewhere over Pacific Ocean since she has also successfully poohed in the toilet of a long-haul flight from Japan to the US.
She usually poohed first thing in the morning so we sat her on the toilet until she went. During the day, there were some tell-tale signs of pooh related activity (i.e. some farts, grunts, redness on the face) and when we spotted them, we announced, “She’s launching!” and we expertly stripped off her diaper and ran to the toilet. Once we had a guest over at the house and in our excitement to demonstrate Ruby’s poohing prowess, (my husband probably inadvertently squeezed her tummy), Ruby launched midway to the toilet and her bright yellow pooh splattered onto our newly painted walls.
Sadly, we had to stop all toilet activity when Ruby had her open-heart surgery. Her chest bones were cut open and I was afraid to lift her up to put her on the toilet so we let her pooh in her diaper. We don’t know whether she really forgot how to pooh in the toilet, or whether she just grew old enough to be distracted, but after the surgery, she won’t sit still in the toilet anymore. But the poohnecdotes continue.
For Mother’s Day this year, we strolled along posh Ginza street. The street was closed off to all vehicles on Sundays and there were lots of people milling about. There was some promotional activity for moms so I went to get my goody bag while my husband and Ruby sat on the sidewalk and waited for me. When I got back, Ruby launched one of her big ones. My husband and I looked at each other in consternation, not sure where to find a toilet to change her, so we decided, what the heck, we would do the “standing change” and change her right there. My husband said to Ruby, “And yes, you had to pick (looks behind him to see what shop we were in front of) Channel to pooh.” I believe the doorman of Channel tried his best to avert his eyes but he probably thought, “Now that’s something I’ve never seen in front of the shop before.” I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants. We had to carry the stinky diaper with us in husband’s backpack. Every time my husband whips around to talk to me or point to something, the stinky pooh smell would waft out of the backpack and send us into fits of laughter.
I mentioned earlier that we use washables and disposables. My husband was so skeptical when I told him I wanted to use washables and that they were made in the Philippines. “Those things are going to last about one month,” he said. Two years (and a more contrite husband) later, we love the Tushy Wushy washable diapers that we use at home. They definitely rank at the top of the list of indispensable baby items if you want to save money and be green. When Ruby poohs just minutes after I change her diaper, I don’t feel bad because I don’t have to throw away anything; well, it’s just one more piece to add to the wash. As my husband puts it, you don’t hear a cash register’s *ka-ching* every time we have to change Ruby’s nappies. That said, we still use disposable diapers when we go out.
As Ruby grew older and ate more solid food, her pooh became more firm. Sometimes when Ruby poohs in her disposable diaper, it’s possible to toss out the pooh and reuse the diaper if it hasn’t been soiled too much (the ultimate disposable diaper recycling that only Chinese moms do). Most recently in the long-haul flight from the US to Tokyo, I just changed Ruby’s diaper and minutes later, we noticed the tell-tale signs of pooh activity.
My husband peeked and announced frantically, “It’s coming down the tracks!”
“Can you make it to the toilet?,” I asked unbuckling my seat belt despite the lighted warning to keep seat belts fastened due to slight turbulence.
“Too late,” my husband said, “It’s all out.”
“Quick!” I said, “Here’s a piece of tissue and get the pooh out and save the diaper!”
My husband gamely used the tissue to pick out the pooh while Ruby cooperated and looked so nonchalant about the whole thing. He got the pooh out with the tissue and held it gingerly in his hand. “What do we do now? It’s still warm,” he said looking furtively at our seat mates to see if anyone witnessed what we just did.
“You mean it’s like freshly baked?” I couldn’t help giggling and the giggling turned to laughing. “Aw, just give it to me.” So I took the tissue wrapped freshly baked pooh, strolled down the aisle towards the toilet, and anyone who made eye contact with me had no clue as to what I found so amusing.
Our dear Ruby just turned two recently and will soon get the hang of using the toilet. It may be goodbye for now to poohnecdotes… till we have the next baby.