[Image description: My hand holding 4 books so that you can read all the spines of the books at once. One is “Poop” by Champignon and Hoffman; one is “You Poop Here” by Meisel; one is “When Unicorns Poop” by Castle & Cornia; and one is “Poop Detectives” by Wadsworth. End description.]

The librarian was like, “…so…are you potty training, or…?”

And I was like, nah I just have a four-year-old who thinks poop is the actual funniest thing ever, so we’re leaning into it. 😁

I’m here to tell you right now, if you’ve heard the advice “don’t make a big deal out of it and it goes away,” that goes right in the category with all the other advice where the theme is “you can do the right, respectful thing for your kid AND it will not necessarily manipulate them into doing exactly what you want because your kid is not a vending machine, you can’t push button receive outcome.”

We have never once made a big deal out of my kid saying “poop”, or acted shocked, or told her to stop, or been reactive in any way, and poop is still every other word out of her mouth because…poop is funny. Especially when you’re four.

We’ve been reading poop books for like 5 days now. Over the weekend we drew a lot of poop drawings and wrote poop on a bunch of paper. I’m not doing it because I think it’ll “get her to stop”, I’m doing it because she’s clearly curious and interested — whether that’s curious and interested about poop itself, about digestion, about tangentially related topics, about social interactions, about humor, about politeness/rudeness, about name-calling, or some mix of all of the above (which is most accurate). And because if my kid is interested or thinking lots of thoughts about a “socially inappropriate/rude/frowned upon thing”, I still want her to feel like she can come to *me* about it, not hide it from me.

AND I know that I can’t control what another human being says. I just literally have no way of controlling it. It’s something that people cannot possibly set boundaries around. I could say “I will leave the room every time you say poop” but that would be quite unhelpful and also I would have to leave the room every 2 seconds which would probably be the new game. I can, and do, say, “I don’t want to play that” when she says “I’m going to poop on your head” and starts climbing on me or whatever; I get up and move away if I need to, start a new game if I need to, be more or less overt with my words if I need to (sometimes she’s so wound up all I say is “no thanks”, sometimes she’s more receptive so I explain “I don’t really like games where people poop on my head but we can draw about poop if you want”). Now, I can also suggest we read a poop book if we need to. That’s the limit of what I can control. I can’t control what a human being says.