Let's talk about POOP and PICKY EATERS.

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If there is one thing that I've learned since I have become a mother, it's this: I don't know squat.

Another thing I've learned is that it is exhausting. I mean, give me a squiggly little roly poly baby that burps and blows spit bubbles and lets me hold him all day long, and shoot, that I can do! I love babies. Don't you love babies?

But then those babies turn into two year olds that run wild and intentionally defy you and have the mood-swings of a pregnant woman. No one tells you about that when you are squishing baby cheeks and taking a million pictures of baby fat rolls and baby's first bites of applesauce. I look back now and imagine every other mom was laughing behind my back because they knew that one day my angel baby would become a two year old, and they just couldn't wait to watch life slap me in the face.

I also imagine that moms now are watching me with my two year old and laughing because they know one day he will become a teenager. Touche, experienced mothers. Touche.

So back to me not knowing squat.

A couple of months ago I was talking with a nurse about Jace at a home evaluation we had scheduled. This nurse was somewhere in her forties I'd guess, with short dark hair and a sweet smile. She was nice but not too nice, which is important because there really is such a thing as too nice. She was the perfect amount of nice.

She sat in my living room, making herself comfortable on our long leather sofa while mickey mouse danced on the big screen tv in front of us. I sat across from her on the loveseat, telling myself to sit up straight and pretend like I had everything in my life under control. I like to do that when new people come to my house. I also imagined I would ace this evaluation because I knew my two year old to be healthy as a horse.

"Does he have a normal bowel function?" She asks. I know she's a nurse because she doesn't even hesitate when she says the word 'bowel function', like it's part of her everyday vocabulary. Me, I'm still using words like "stinky" and "number two".

"Well. I don't know, it depends on the day... I mean... Okay, what do you mean?" I do this sometimes, where I try to answer someones question but instead I end up asking them to explain the question to me. It's ridiculous.

"I mean, how often does he poop? And what is the consistency?"

"Oh, yes. Well, it's generally brown and, you know...poopy. Sometimes it's green but sometimes it's yellow. And sometimes it's sticky but sometimes it's runny. And he poops...every now and again, you know. I don't really keep track..."

I could tell by the look on her face that this wasn't the right answer. Apparently I'm supposed to know how many times a day my son poops. Why did no one tell me that I'm supposed to know this? Shoot.

She went on to ask me if he is a picky eater. Because apparently a routine pooping schedule is linked back to the foods we eat. It makes sense, right? And while we are being embarrassing and sharing too much information, I am 28 years old for heavens sake and I still don't have a "consistent pooping schedule", so...it can't be that bad?

And anyway, isn't every toddler a picky eater?

So the pooping schedule leads to his eating schedule, and now the nice nurse talks to me about the importance of gathering as a family at the dinner table. And I'm thinking, well double shoot. Because, do you know us? Typically dinner is one of three things: frozen burritos, pizza, or cereal.
But sometimes we get crazy and cook up mac n'cheese or hamburger helper. And every now and again, we throw some chicken on the grill.

I suppose this might explain my incosistent pooping schedule.

I can't believe I just said that on the internet. But I'm typing too fast to use the backspace key, so let's move on.

The truth is that I only cook a good meal maybe...once or twice a month. Maybe. And here I am being told that we are supposed to put vegetables on his plate and sit down next to him to eat as a family? SHOOT. 'Round these parts, we like to eat dinner on our own schedules, typically in consecutive order. First Jace, of course. He sits on a bar stool and I throw a variety of foods on his plate. A hot dog with grapes. Sometimes a slice of cheese with it. And every now and again he'll request a piece of plain bread to munch on.

Then it's my turn, and I usually take my dinner to the table where I can read my current book while eating. Lastly is daddy, who sadly gets put last a lot these days...

"Oh, are you hungry babe? Let's see...I can warm you up a burrito? Or you could grab a bowl of cereal?"

I don't often put in the effort to eat a good dinner as a family because this is what happens:

I cook up some spaghetti, I set the table, I pour milk in our glasses. I feel very domestic and also very out of my element. But it's for the best, I tell myself.

Then I call everyone to the table, which means spending five minutes convincing Jace. Once I convince him he sits next to us and whines because he asked daddy to put parmesan cheese on his hamburger meat but once daddy complied he immediately decided that he didn't actually want parmesan cheese on his hamburger meat.

"Three bites Jace!" I say, and I show him what it's like by exaggeratedly stuffing my mouth with an over sized fork full of noodles and sauce. I slurp them up and rub my belly. "Mmmmm!"

He smiles. "Mmmmm!" He repeats, as he picks up his fork and puts a meatball in his mouth. It worked!

I want to fist bump daddy, but I control myself so as to not distract the moody one. I continue this exaggerated-bites-convincing-method until he takes TWO bites, and at this point I'm feeling extra proud of myself and I'm just sure that I'm the best mother in the whole wide world.

This is when the doorbell rings.

Enter curse words here. My son had ONE more bite! We were almost there, a family dinner at the table! Three whole bites of hamburger meat!

Daddy gets up and heads to the door, where the neighbor kids are waiting to ask if they can play on our swingset. Before they finish their sentence, Jace has slid out of his chair and runs out the back door to play.

I don't even protest because, well I have to look at the bright side. For two minutes, for two glorious bites of hamburger meat and a biscuit to go, we made it through a family dinner. Then I turn back to my food that is now cold and I think to myself, will I ever enjoy a hot meal again??

I feel that maybe we'll wait until next year to start family dinners at the dinner table together. Or maybe we'll wait until high school.

Who knows.

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