A friend once shared to me how much she, after getting married, would love to have kids, even just one. Her major turnoff, however, was having to wash them whenever they would poo. She said that if she would have a child, all diaper and diaper-change concerns would be through the nanny or house helper who, in the Philippines, is basically an integral part of the family.

A marriage and two kids since our conversation, however, and after living in a country where nannies are practically non-existent, I have learned that diapers are not to be dreaded. In fact, they are a parent’s ally. The real horror actually happens whenever we leave the comfort of the diapers; that is, when the diaper situation goes beyond the limits of the disposable undies (i.e., having too much poo or having diapers that have become too small already), or when we deliberately do away with them so that our kids can begin their toilet training.

Diapers are a parent’s ally. The real horror happens whenever we leave the comfort of the diapers.

While, yes, toilet training is one smelly ordeal, it should easily take precedence over one’s discomfort, as with all things essential to a child’s development and wellbeing. Besides, come to think of it, cleaning poo is not at all that bad. I mean, it still doesn’t compare to lots of other chores that take so much more time and effort, such as meticulously picking up shards of broken glassware, especially the fine ones; unclogging a really nasty pipe drain; and washing oil-slick dishes, pots and pans, just to name a few. Also, I have come to realize that we miss out on some truly memorable stuff when we don’t literally get down and dirty with our kids on this.

Don’t miss out on your kid’s poo face before it turns into a poker face.

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I think this is Uri’s fake poo face. When he gets older, I will ask if the real one can go public.

Once upon a time, we all thought that every muscle in our body, including facial muscles, was necessary for pooping. Soon, however, experience becomes the enemy of that cute, red, constricted baby face, and we give way to a more reserved, meditative look, that is usually coupled with the intent to mute out all defecation noises. Save that look for some private or personal giggles, or as a prelude to a future intimate moment with your child, but never to humiliate him or her.

Don’t miss out on at least one more story or conversation in your book of memories.

I think it’s safe to say that at least one story or conversation in your kid’s book of memories will be about pooping. Watch out for it, as with your child’s first steps. Treasure it, as with your child’s first words.

Iva had just turned four when I had this practice on adjectives with her, as I was cleaning her:

“Iva, how big was your poopoo (what we call “it” in the house)? Scary big?”

Iva: No, perfect big.

“Ouch-ie big?

Iva: Good big.

And that’s how we found out how articulate little Iva had become!

We also realized, through my wife, that she still was not yet keen on idioms:

Mommy: “Iva, you don’t say ‘poopoo’ in front of other people, especially when they are eating.”

Iva: “How about at the back (behind him)?”

Don’t miss out on your own toilet-training horror story.

Uri once broke the mid-morning silence with a cry of panic, “Poopoo! Poopoo!”

To any parent who is toilet training a toddler, even one in deep, hypnotic sleep, this is akin to somebody shouting “fire” in the house.

While still trying to get a nap, I darted to the room where our little boy was because I knew that he had no diapers on but a pair of tight, outgrown pajamas. At two and a half years now, peeing in the toilet had become his preference over soaking up his diapers.

How I wish that Uri would really learn to cry for help a lot sooner than he normally does! Seeing that his familiar, constricted poo face was already fading and he had almost finished relieving himself, I rushed to grab him by the armpits and dashed to the toilet, when suddenly, ‘Bog!’ I had accidentally slammed his head on the toilet door! And so there, at the toilet, I tried to calm a now, shrieking poor little Uri as I cleaned his poo, which, to my surprise, had already come out, and had been caught midway of his tight, hanging PJs.

The moment he started to mellow, I said, “I’m so sorry that I bumped your head [on the door]. I was in a hurry because I was so scared that your poopoo might fall on the floor.”

Regaining his composure, a now jubilant voice answered back, “It didn’t fall down! It (the pants) stopped [the poopoo] from falling!”

Yes, Uri, thank God for your undersized pajamas! Thank God, too, that your poopoo is not the wet kind today, or else it would have been a lot messier!