There are many skills parents need to practise and refine, from birth all the way through to the day their offspring leave home at the age of 30 (I’m extrapolating the current housing shortage into the future).
Nappy-changing, winding, feeding, weaning, and the ultimate craft – sleep training; attempted by all yet mastered by few.
You learn fast, or you enter a world of chaos and misery. There are lots of guides out there to help you and armies of well-meaning parents and friends who’ve trodden the path to parental nirvana.
But what the guidebooks nor personal sages never mention is the specialist skill of poo-angling.
Yes, you will need to learn to fish for poos.
Because, if you don’t yet have children I’m sorry to break the news, but as all parents know, one day your children will poo in the bath.
Why Do Babies Poo In The Bath?
I don’t know why they do it and I can’t get a straight answer out of Little B (something about WayWai and Pippy Peg and DoodooDaaDaa – which sounds like something Sting would say) but I have my theories:
- Freedom – for babies and toddlers once the nappy is off, it’s time to let it all out. After all no one actually likes pooing their pants and sitting in it. So any opportunity to grind out a stool and not have it smeared across your buttocks must be embraced.
- Warmth – it’s relaxing being in the bath isn’t it, in the lovely warm water, so relax… and ahhhhh. Oh.
- They’re babies – they cant help it. For the same reason they poo their pants. When you’ve got to go just let it flow.
- Protests – this is rare but occasionally – especially once they’re a bit older to understand the idea of revenge – a toddler may use a bath poo to express their annoyance at your insistence Peppa Pig had to be turned off or that they couldn’t run around the garden naked shouting plane before bed.
Bath Poo Toolkit
The key here is having a variety of scoops of different shapes and sizes. As I will explain below, bath poos come in a fascinating range of sizes and textures (well, just baby poos in general then) so one tool is not going to suffice. You will need to select your device swiftly and execute your angling manoeuver before the poo contaminates any bath toys or your baby, which will then require a second bath
Most of these items will be available in your kitchen but I recommend purchasing some equipment specifically for poo fishing. I don’t care if they go in the dishwasher on a 90 degree cycle, you won’t really want to use them for cooking again, you can’t un-see the poo resting in your colander.
I recommend these basic items:
- a sieve and/or colander (you will know best the likely required size of holes),
- a long-handled spoon or ladle,
- a bucket or plastic basin to use as a catch-net before setting the poos free down the loo.
A Guide To Recognising Your Bath Poos
Different poos require different techniques for a clean catch. The worst case scenario is your little one coming into contact with their own poo and getting distressed. We’ve noticed that since Little B turned 18 months he’s become aware of and bothered by his poo. So it’s imperative to catch the bath poo as quickly as possible.
Here are the seven most common bath water beasts:
These tiny beasts attempt to make their way discreetly among the soap suds. Perhaps there was a big fart in the bath and you thought that was the end of it. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you spy something small and dark bobbing next to ducky. As soon as you look again it’s gone. No, there’s another one. And another! OH F#CK ME THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!
Time to take action. Remove the baby from the bath and place in a safe area, leaving you free to fish. You can put them to bed and return to pursue your sport in peace. The poo fish will still be there.
Tiddlers are hard to catch as the very act of fishing creates a shockwave in the water that sends them scurrying away. Be patient. Move slowly and carefully toward your prey. Preferably remove the wriggly child from the water. A lazy method is to simply finish the bath quickly and then pull the plug out. If you’ve judged it correctly the tiddlers may make their own way down the plughole.
Recommended tool: Large bowl or simply ignore them.
Fear factor: 1/10 (harmless)
Related to the Tiddler but more numerous; think water-borne rabbit droppings. Again, rushing toward a shoal with your scoop will lead to disaster as they will scatter before eventually reforming or creating two or more mini-shoals. Gently waft the shoal toward one end of the bath, perhaps using two hands to corral it in much the way a pack of dolphins herd fish. Once the shoal is cornered use your largest scoop to catch as many as you can in one go. Repeat the exercise until you’ve caught them all. Think of it as poo Pokemon!
Recommended tool: large sieve
Fear factor: 3/10
As disgusting as it sounds, this creature looks solid when floating happily in the bath but on dry land it rapidly collapses into a soggy, sticky mess. Impossible to deal with out of the water. Make sure you catch it in a container that means it can continue drifting without touching the sides. Do not let the Poo Jellyfish regain contact with your child – this may result in a smearing disaster. As you carefully dump it in the loo ask yourself what on earth has the child been eating? LARD CAKES?!
Recommended tool: Large pan or bowl.
Fear factor: 6
4.The Flying Fish
These lively characters may take you by surprise. Perhaps young master or miss has just bent over to pick up squeaky fish from the bottom of the bath. Or worse, you’ve just scooped them up in a towel and squeezed their tummy a bit too much. With a look of alarm and then relief on their face your personal poo factory will emit a warning fart immediately – nay simultaneously – accompanied by a poo sailing through the air.
Depending on the angle and velocity the Flying Fish may strike your newly grouted bath tiles square on, resulting in a metamorphosis into a Jellyfish splat. If you’re lucky it will descend with aplomb into the soapy sea. If you’re really unlucky it hits you in the face. Expert anglers may wish to try and catch a Flying Fish but you will need lightning reactions and be sure not to drop your baby in haste.
Recommended tool: Spiderman style net fired from wrist launcher.
Fear factor: 1-10 depending on where it ends up.
If you’ve ever tried to catch a real eel you’ll be quaking at the prospect of catching a poo eel. Slippery yet resilient these beasts may be the demon offspring of a healthy helping of pasta combined with a creamy sauce. They emerge silently, the only clue to their prescience being a brief look of consternation on your little one’s face; so readily doth The Eel emerge from it’s lair. If a tiny foot comes near this fish will wriggle away and seek a new hiding place. Eels love to make a home in shipwrecks on the bath sea floor, sneaking in through a porthole and lying low.
You may not spot The Eel until the water has almost emptied from the bath. Replace the plug and seek out a container with a wide mouth and grasp a spoon or spatula in the other hand. Corner The Eel and gently coax it toward the net. No sudden movements. On no account are you to try and pick it up.
Recommended tool: Colander and spatula double attack.
Fear factor: 8
A master of evasion and surprise attack The Catfish may be the bete noire of bath poos. In many cases there will be no warning that they have arrived. Sneaky devils that they are Catfish slip out quietly as your baby sits or squats in the warm, relaxing water. They swim away, staying as close to the bath sea floor as possible, and there they lurk. Waiting. Waiting for their moment to ruin your evening.
You’re playing happily with your little water baby, splashing together, singing row row the boat, pouring water out of the stacky cups that look a bit like crabs (but maybe they’re turtles, you’ve never quite been able to tell), when your hand brushes against something soft. Only a moment and it’s gone. You swish the bubbles out of the way. Nothing there. Then a minute or two later, it’s back, this time a more prolonged caress. What’s that brown mark on your hand? Could it be?
And then The Catfish attacks. Biting at your baby’s ankles, snapping at your fingers, leaping up and leaving a streak of misery down your arm. By the time you kill or catch it the damage is done. Empty the bath, try to stay calm, scoop up the carcass and rinse everything down with the shower attachment. Now start the bath again. You might want to hop in yourself.
Recommended tools: None. Second bath.
Fear factor: 10
This beast looks deadly but is essentially docile and harmless. If you’ve recently dealt with an Eel or Catfish you’ll see this oil tanker of a poo and laugh. There’s plenty of warning as it steers into port. Admittedly the first time you encounter the giant of the bath ocean it can cause alarm. Your baby may find it scary or hilarious depending on their temperament. After a couple of seconds you will realise it wishes you no harm. You can even sit together and watch The Whale swim around the bath. Some parents find it a relaxing way to end the day.
If you’re very brave and quick you could pick baby out of the bath and dangle them over the loo so that The Whale goes on it’s merry way down the Harrington Canal and on into the mighty Bazalgette River beneath our feet. If you aren’t that brave it’s no problem. You will need your biggest net but the catching will be as easy as changing a wee nappy. Simply wait for The Whale to drift serenely into your trap; then lift and you’re home and dry.
Recommended tools: Actual fishing net or washing up bowl.
Fear factor: 10 then falling to 0.
I hope you’ve found this bath poo guide useful and entertaining.
If you’re reading this thinking I’ve been unlucky think again. It will happen to you.
So good luck and happy angling!