One thing I did not expect about being a parent is how much you talk about poop, how normal it becomes but also how high the stakes are. I ask Joe if he has to poop, I check to see if he’s pooped, I worry about whether or not he’s pooping and whether or not the poop will end up in his underwear and whether or not he’ll poop at school, we beg and bribe him to poop in the toilet, we talk about our own poop to inspire him, we try to act cool but then at night, after he’s gone to bed, like travel plans or concerning current events, we discuss Poop. I agonize over whether he’s constipated, we explain to him that fruit helps you poop and waffles do not. I think about it so much some days that I don’t remember if I pooped, and I want to ask people in the grocery store when they’ve last pooped. Joe sits quietly on his bedroom floor, reading a car magazine, improvising a song about sailboats and pooping, or trying. I just sort of casually ask Joe if there’s any poop coming out, trying to attach no emotion to it. No, he says. It’s sleeping. It’s been sleeping all day. He flips the page to find his favorite Model-T, and keeps pooping. I watch like it’s sports.

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