The many shades of poop I discovered as a new dad

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A few days ago, I was watching American Vandal on Netflix. I was on season 2 – yes, the one with all the poop in it. The season was fine, but the only problem was that I was watching it as a father and every new dad knows that poop is the most heavily discussed topic in the initial years of childbirth.

The first episode – where the kids were pooping everywhere – jogged deep chambers of my mind really hard. The season brought back all the smelly memories that I thought I had buried long ago.

Like those few moments after you’re done in the toilet, and you spray air freshener to subdue the smell. But, the smell takes time to go. Instead, it gets mixed with the nice soothing smell of jasmine. Now what you’re smelling is a mixture of jasmine + the smell of your poop.

Yeah! I did that with my memories because, honestly, once you are a parent – and have changed enough diapers – the smell, the thoughts, and the recollection about your kid(s) poop never leave your mind.

They get hidden in some dark corners of your mind. What you can do is just spray air freshener of other thoughts and hope that the smell vanishes after some time.

It was a long time since I last saw so much poop at once. Not since my kids learned how to express their need to go to the toilet in words. Until then, they pooped at will, irrespective of the place or gathering they are in.

You know how painful it is to watch them shit multiple times a day in a diaper that I bought with my hard-earned money?

As a new dad, I had no problem with changing diapers drenched in that brown stuff. But, I was surprised as to how quickly I became a repository of knowledge on the subject of poop.

Not conferring a Masters in Poop Studies (M.Ps) degree upon myself, but I do become a subject expert on this matter.

God! I wish I were this good at math in the school; my mom would’ve been so proud of me. Not that she wasn’t proud to see how deep into the fatherhood shit I was.

But, let’s get back to poopy stuff.

My wife and I used to scour the diapers carefully and check colors to see if there were any perilous signs. In those few years, I discovered more colors than I did in my entire kindergarten.

For as long as I remember, I only knew one shade of poop.

I am sure my parents had seen more colors, but they never sat me down to tell me how many shades of poop are there. That’d have been a weird dinner table conversation.

But, after I entered the zone of fatherhood, I freely started talking about poop. My narrow circle of friends – all of who are parents as well – started to bond over this topic. Every time we meet – along with our kids – we discussed this subject.

Oh! Was it Dark Green?

What was the texture like? Thickish?

Oh! That continued for three days? What did the pediatrician say?

We talked in so much length about poop that we were sure one of us – the parents – would write a paper on it. But, haven’t enough been written on it already?

Grainy, loose, watery, hard, soft – these are all the properties of a chemical element called poop.

Brown, green, yellow, red, black, brownish-yellow, greenish-yellow, greenish-brown, reddish-brown – think of any shade, and your child can excrete stuff of that color.

After my wife and I made peace with the fact that this is going to be our life for at least a few years, we learned to live happily in the poopy world of ours. After all, evolution is yet to reach the stage where a human baby could start running to the toilet from that umbilical cord is cut.

So, what we did was to keep a keen eye on the diapers – which we bought from our hard-earned money, and every time it felt like wiping the baby’s ass with a ten-dollar bill – and took notes of color, texture, and smell.

We used to prepare for the weekly quiz at the pediatrician’s office. He would then mark us on how good a parent we were.

Yes! The goodness of being a parent isn’t good enough if you can’t tell whether your baby’s poop on the first Sunday of the last month was grainy or hard.

But, in all honesty, all the knowledge gained on this subject helped us a lot. Like we knew that if it is dark-greenish and sticky, then it’s ok for the first couple of days. But, if it is still like that after three days, run to the doctor.

If it is yellow and grainy, then you can sleep peacefully. This is normal. Greenish or brownish is also good news as long as the texture is consistent.

If it’s brown/yellow and very loose, it might be an indication of diarrhea. Go to the doctor and tell them everything.

If it is pinkish or red (yes, these are the colors, and I am not making them up), then check what you’re giving to your baby. Sometimes, it’s the fruits, vegetables, and other foods (like popsicles, jello, or fruit loops) that can cause some odd colored stools. But, if your baby hasn’t consumed anything that could make him/her excrete pink poop, then call the doctor.

Black is also normal for infants, but, if it comes back later, consult a doctor.

No, white isn’t a sign of peace when it comes to baby poop. Call your pediatrician as there might be a problem with your baby’s liver or gallbladder.

There is still a lot on how to analyze the poop of different color, texture, and form. Yes! As a new dad, it might get overwhelming for you, but a month into cleaning your baby’s poop will give you enough knowledge to sniff out any sign of danger.


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