Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Scoop on Poop!

My niece is having another baby in the next few days.  Timothy will be coming to stay with us for awhile until his mother and new baby sister get settled back at home.  Since my niece has begun potty training - and standing Timothy on a stool in front of our toilet produced trepidation and a few tears - I bought a "potty chair" and some "pull-up" diapers in preparation for his next visit.

I laughed as I considered that so much of life in the Sandwich Generation revolves around diapers of one size or another and poop.  We wonder about our babies... have they pooped today?  Did they have a "good" poop?  Are we feeding them the right things to produce "good" poop?  Did they eat too much fiber... or not enough?

When I talk with my grandmother, a frequent topic of conversation is her bowel function - and that of many of her friends.  It's tantamount in the senior's world.  My maternal grandmother was obsessed to the point of taking laxatives and yes, even enemas, until a doctor told my mother that she had so overstimulated her colon that it was now as thick and rigid as a garden hose.

My sister and I have laughed nervously and wondered aloud if we will know we are old when we talk about our bodily functions... all while we are discussing said functions of our babies.  I am continually reminded of the parallels in this universe... diapers and Depends, Enfamil and Ensure, walkers and strollers... and much more.

My grandmother keeps an array of "aids" in her medicine cabinet... Mylanta, Milk of Magnesia, Pepto Bismol and Immodium, to name a few... and she "doctors" herself according to her daily "functions."  Lest you recommend she eat more fruit and get more fiber, she has always eaten well and been very mindful of eating a balanced, healthy diet.  And I try to be diligent in giving Timothy fresh fruit, plenty of green and fibrous vegetables, and healthy grains for breakfast (although lately he prefers a scrambled egg).

I believe the key ingredient that both our children and our seniors may be missing is... wait for it... WATER!  When I was baby-sitting cousins some 40+ years ago, we always gave them water throughout the day, in between their bottles of milk or formula.  We kept a small bottle of water handy for hiccups, and just to hydrate the baby.  I'm not noticing a lot of baby bottles filled with water these days.

My grandmother does not care for water as a beverage.  She will drink iced tea (sweet, of course!), a Coke, or even a bottle of Ensure... and she will sometimes drink tap water with her meal (no ice!).  But to sit down and drink a glass of water is unheard of in her world.

I know, I know... you will suggest that we get plenty of water in the foods we eat and other beverages.  But all we have to do is look at the problems so many seniors - and babies - have with their daily "business," and it seems pretty clear to me that drinking more water certainly can't hurt!

So my tip for today is to find ways to get more water into the diet - yours, the kids', and most certainly your seniors'.  This inexpensive suggestion might be the simplest solution we get for awhile... and it if works, it will be more than worth it!

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