A toddler sleeping on the couch. How adorable, you think. Doesn’t she look sweet?
She’s trying to trick you. This picture is the aftermath of one of Rose’s most evil ploys: She uses her poop to get what she wants.
Before you run away screaming in terror, I will ease your mind to let you know that poop warfare at our house does not involve removing a bad diaper or any of the other legendary horror stories I’ve heard about other people’s kids. At our house, poop warfare is all about manipulation– carefully timed poops that delay or destroy nap or bedtime.
Rose has long been the master of poop warfare. It started the first time I tried to let her cry it out. (Yes. We cry it out in this house. No. I am not interested in hearing why we shouldn’t.) She would cry and when I came back to check on her there would be poop, which meant she got her way and got to get out of the crib and get her diaper changed. It would be one thing if this only happened once. I wouldn’t call it poop warfare then. But it happened EVERY SINGLE TIME we tried cry it out for a LONG time.
She does it on purpose. Poop is her weapon and she uses it to get attention and/or avoid going to bed. Poop warfare lost me months of sleep because I gave up on cry it out with Rose and the result was her waking me up every two hours (or more) until I finally decided her poop was HER problem, not mine, and we cried it out anyway, poop and all.
Actually, I learned to go in there 10 minutes after I set her in her crib and change her diaper. Because there was sure to be poop. It didn’t matter if she’d pooped right before nap or bed time. She would still manage to squeeze out a present to get my attention. Sometimes she’d even poop twice after I put her in there.
What can I say? She has a talent for bowel control (that will probably not translate to easy potty training). I don’t think I’m talented enough to time my poops like this, especially not multiple poops over the course of an hour or two. It’s as if she just wills herself to need to poop and she does it. It’s amazing, really.
Once we really anchored down cry it out, she quit MOST of her poop warfare, especially at bedtime, but if I ever put her down and she decides she’s not tired enough, poop warfare occurs. It is especially rampant at naptime these days.
When Rose uses poop warfare at naptime, she refuses to let me put her back in the crib after I change her diaper (which happens after about 45-60 minutes of hearing her talk in the crib). She’ll scream and cry and carry on and then try to climb out of the crib. She’s big enough to topple over the side at this point, so I just have to take her downstairs at that point. So, she is still using poop to get what she wants. She manages to win her way out of a nap at least twice a week using poop warfare.
Last week was an especially vicious poop warfare attack. Rose apparently didn’t want to go to bed for the night, but I never went back in to check on her because she chattered cheerfully until she fell asleep. When I went to bed, I checked on her and I could smell poop.
The options were to get her and have her possibly wake up and not go back to sleep, or leave her and hope for the best. On a few occasions, she’s actually made it until morning with poop in her diaper, so I left her. Hey, don’t judge. In the battle of my sleep v. a mild diaper rash that will probably clear up with half a day of Desitin, my sleep wins. You might say that makes me a bad mom, but actually what makes me a bad mom is not enough sleep. No sleep makes me cranky. I think my kids rather have cheerful me and a mild diaper rash than cranky me and no diaper rash.
Well, she didn’t make it until morning that night. Her poop warfare backfired on all of us when she woke up at 3 and cried and cried and cried and refused to go back to sleep after I changed her diaper. She screamed her head off every time I tried to put her back in the crib, even after an hour of cartoons. Lily had a fever and was sleeping right across the hall, so I gave up and let Rose stay up downstairs.
She finally passed out on the couch at 7 am.
So, this sweet sleeping baby is secretly evil. She is the master, and perhaps inventor, of poop warfare.
I suppose it could be worse. Her poop warfare does stay in the diaper.
Do your kids use poop warfare? Surely I can’t be the only victim.