Being a new parent can be a drag. If you’re a new mom or dad, you might be dealing with an identity crisis, rampaging hormones, a baby who… well… isn’t really that cool yet, and a monster where your spouse/partner/self used to be. Whatever version of new parent you are, you are probably dealing lots and lots of poop. And pee. And barf.

When I was dealing with the liquids of that first year, I longed for some sense of accomplishment every day. Some validation. Some way to show myself at the end of the day that yes, indeed I had been very busy all day even though I had no idea doing what. I soon realized that keeping checklists for myself of my accomplishments of the day helped a little.They looked like this:

To Doo List

Looking back, I could have used more than just a checkmark on some days. Some bodily fluid situations are truly remarkable, and for those, I felt I deserved extra recognition.

Therefore, I am starting a line of merit badges for new parents. To celebrate those really crappy crap situations that we may have gone through. Sew them to your nursing bra, pin them on your changing table, create a mobile out of them, collect the whole set:

spray paint merit badge 2SPRAY PAINT: I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of my mom yelping while changing the baby’s diaper. “Ahhh! Ahhh! Whaaa! He sprayed poop all down the front of my shirt!” We turn the lights on to witness the splattery mess. My mom, the changing table, the floor – all are covered in mustard-colored liquid infant poo. The baby, however, is pristinely clean. His super-strong colon does such a good job of expelling the waste that none of it ends up near him.



new parent merit badgeSCOOP, THEN DRAIN: Also known as “Potty Bath,” or “Tubby Turd.” “Little Brown Submarine.” “Brand New Bath Toy.” Early on, I sometimes give the kid a bath right after dinner. (I soon learn that post-meal is a bad baby bathtime. Chance of poop is at an all-time high!) Thankfully, my sister has already given me advice in case I encounter a poo-in-the-tub scenario: “Scoop, then drain.” Kitty litter scoops are helpful with this, but act fast! The tubby turd will dissipate quickly, at which point the kitchen strainer comes into play…



snorkel penis merit badge

SNORKEL PENIS: We have just changed the boy’s diaper, the new diaper is on, and, suddenly, it is wet. Very wet. On the outside. His dad is perplexed, but I say, “Check the evidence.” Which means, “Open the diaper.” So we do that, and we see that the very end of his little man parts have been sticking out the diaper leg hole. Diapers are virtually pointless when the penis is on the outside!!




pooperazzi merit badge

POOPERAZZI: Babies make hilarious faces when they’re pooping. If we can capture the poop face– reddening cheeks, lips pursed in a grimacing line, brow furrowed, eyes intensely concentrating– on camera, we win.






pee deflector new parent merit badgePEE DEFLECTOR or LOW FIVE: The baby, undiapered and on the changing table, starts peeing. My husband uses his hand as a shield to deflect the pee away from himself and back to said changing table. Now, our kid is a boy, so this seems like a pretty normal action to take, but double points if you find yourself doing this with your baby girl.




poop art merit badgePOOP ART: Baby naps. Baby wakes up quietly alone in his room. Baby poops. Baby removes diaper. Baby re-decorates his crib area with poop. Baby also does some face-painting. While the poop art may be lovely and creative, when I walk in to baby’s poop-arted room, the first thing I notice is the accompanying smell.





turd in the hand merit badge 2A TURD IN THE HAND: I really don’t want to clean my floors more than necessary. If this means catching my standing child’s number two in my hand to keep my floor clean, then yes, I will do that. I will hold my hand beneath my boy’s tiny bottom, and I will catch that dainty little poo in my palm. Floor-cleaning day successfully postponed!





poop glitter merit badgePOOP GLITTER: Also known as “Poodio 54.” Some foods create interesting side effects in the digestive system of a very young person. I have recently discovered that my boy loves quinoa. (I know, I know. I didn’t even know how to say “quinoa” until I was twenty-six years old.) Quinoa is such a cute grain, with its little tail and tiny size. It’s much the same when it comes out the other end into a diaper, except– you know that joke about how glitter gets on everything and is really sticky and hard to get off? That’s what quinoa poop is like in a diaper. Just a little less sparkly.



So those are the merit badges my family and I have earned. I’d love to hear which merit badges you have earned. Please comment and share below.

(And I don’t have any idea what exciting new merit badges await as we approach potty training. But I’m really not-so-secretly hoping that “Community Litter Box” might be one of them.)

potty training litter boxAs long as he buries it as well as the cat does, it’s fine with me.


Originally posted on on July 1, 2015

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