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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Banning Children Pooping at the Farmers Market Versus "Accepting Our Natural Bodies"

Posted by on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Slog tipper Frank points us to the shit talk underway at Columbia Citizens, a "neighborhood wiki" for Columbia City, about where it's okay to let a kid poop:

Um, its Farmers Market day and I just saw a parent hold their child up next to a tree in Columbia Park while the child peed and POOPED. Then they picked it up in a plastic baggie. Although I am very grateful that they picked it up, the whole thing was very disturbing and I am left wondering if this is a new trend. Is this acceptable parent behavior?

While some argue that letting a child shit like a dog at the farmers market is "never appropriate," others disagree:

Are you people serious? Relax. What is it with us Americans and our fear anything related to accepting our natural bodies. A kid took a crap (that was picked up). Who cares? Do I think adults should go around using the bathroom in the park? No. But if a kid had to go, he/she had to go. I think it's great for the child. Get them comfortable with themselves. Or maybe we should continue to instill in them a fear of nudity! God will strike you down for exposing your birthday suit.

The poop defender also blames the Puritans who settled this country—a lone anti-poop sect, apparently—that "screwed it up for the rest of us."


Comments (83) RSS

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Fnarf 1
It's not your body I'm afraid of, young whippersnapper, it's your FECES. This is never, ever, ever appropriate. But somehow unsurprising for Seattle.
Posted by Fnarf on July 8, 2010 at 5:06 PM · Report this
google "elimination communication" and you will find the source of this.
Posted by jkjk on July 8, 2010 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 3
Fnarf said it: Only in Seattle would anyone even be having this discussion.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on July 8, 2010 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Oh please, Fnarf - one person allows their child to poop al fresco and one nit-wit on a blog defends the practice, and suddenly you're going to make a blanket generalization based on that?

I think Will is starting to rub off on you.

(And for the record, I totally agree that human feces is, from a hygiene/bacteriological point-of-view, totally vile and shouldn't come anywhere near things people might put into their mouths, like, um, fresh produce and such.)
Posted by COMTE on July 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM · Report this
I think it's just fucking silly and deliberatly inconsiderate. I think using your kids as a political/social statement to make us question and challenge our beliefs and morality with respect to where and how someone should poop is inappropriate and borderline offensive.

Do any of us REALLY give a shit if the kid shits? I just think the parents are going out of their way to prove something redundant.
Posted by former tri-state on July 8, 2010 at 5:13 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 6
I bet the poop defender is the parent.

And while it's hard out there for an adult who really needs to go, most store owners will let a kid use their facilities, in my experience. There's really no excuse for such a display.
Posted by keshmeshi on July 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 7
It's things like this that make me do whatever I can to avoid places that parents and children frequent.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on July 8, 2010 at 5:21 PM · Report this
Crapping in a public park is pretty much Life Training for 25 percent of Seattle's future adults, so why not.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 8, 2010 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf, and Fifty-Two-Eighty:

You've obviously never visited a small town named Portland Oregon.
Posted by crisco on July 8, 2010 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
Over the last few days, I've seen way too many small dogs peeing all over bus stops and pooing on the grass near cafes.

And now kids?
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 8, 2010 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Of course we should accept our natural bodies ... in the same way we should accept our natural urge to walk up and kick that kid's parent(s) in the ass(es).

@$#%&$% puritans!
Posted by RonK, Seattle on July 8, 2010 at 5:35 PM · Report this
sirkowski 12
How would your kid feel if I pooped in his crib?

Nevermind, he'd probably finger paint with it...
Posted by sirkowski on July 8, 2010 at 5:38 PM · Report this
I can't wait to accept my natural communicable disease!
Posted by Judas on July 8, 2010 at 5:39 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 14
Actually, I have, @9. You're right: Two peas in a pod.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on July 8, 2010 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Mahtli69 15
As the parent of a recently potty-trained 3-year old, I am well-versed in the unpredictability of toddlers' elimination functions. There's a very good chance that the parent had no idea there would be a poop involved. And, once the poop starts coming out, it's not like you can push it back in.

Gross? Yes. Planned? Probably not.
Posted by Mahtli69 on July 8, 2010 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Fnarf 16
@15, accident? Sure. But only in Seattle (and yes, Portland too) would it immediately be seized upon by "progressives" as a political statement, a mighty blow against the tyranny of the Puritans.
Posted by Fnarf on July 8, 2010 at 5:56 PM · Report this
SchmuckyTheCat 17
When Disneyland opened in Hong Kong, the HKers all bitched about the mainlanders who came over the border and let their kids take a dump in the shrubs and decorations.


This isn't something people let children do in civilized society. It's not puritanism, it's enlightenment. Toilets and diapers were invented for a god-damn reason, because filth is filth and it is not OK.
Posted by SchmuckyTheCat on July 8, 2010 at 6:21 PM · Report this
I always prided myself on a being a good progressive liberal... clearly I'm not one, seeing how I'd never let my (future) kid take a crap in public.
Posted by Nic in Greenlake on July 8, 2010 at 6:40 PM · Report this
At Ronin Park in Chicago, I have seen parents encouraging children as old as six to shit on trees(this is less than a mile from Blago's house.) There are also old men who take dumps along the canal. I have never walked barefoot in a Chicago park for these reasons.

Hippies and puritans can get worms and go to hell. Old and in the way both of you.
Posted by bargdorf on July 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM · Report this
onion 20
kids gotta poop all the sudden? let him shit in his pants and then go find a place to deal with it.
society is generally phobic about shit for a good reason. its an adaptive trait. human shit has diseases that humans are especially good at getting.

nudity is not the same as shitting. nudity is a different matter.
Posted by onion on July 8, 2010 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Get over it.
Posted by grumpypants on July 8, 2010 at 6:47 PM · Report this
very bad homo 22
I'm not a Puritan, I just think pooping children are gross.
Posted by very bad homo on July 8, 2010 at 7:07 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 23
That poor kid is probably potty-training and the parent didn't know what else to do. Are there Honey Buckets or restrooms near that Farmer's Market? If not, I'm very sympathetic. If so, the parent should be more prepared for outings with a kid who is potty-training.

But if this is a case of elimination communication, there's just no telling. EC families tend to be pretty weird anyway.
Posted by Soupytwist on July 8, 2010 at 7:11 PM · Report this
biffp 24
Totally agree with @23. If there are porta-potties, it's not cool. If there aren't, I'm not forcing my kid to go in his pants because it makes some Seattle loser unconfortable. stfu, my only obligation is to my kid.
Posted by biffp on July 8, 2010 at 7:37 PM · Report this
mmennonno 25
As long as the child was muzzled and on a leash, I'm all for it.
Posted by mmennonno on July 8, 2010 at 7:49 PM · Report this
Banna 26

If your kid is potty training, you carry extra pants and/or diapers. In any case, you don't let your kid piss on a tree to begin with (thus avoiding the whole poop error); people like to sit under trees; they don't like to sit On Golden Pond.

I suppose these people wouldn't mind if I shit on their doorstep every morning and picked it up?
Posted by Banna on July 8, 2010 at 7:50 PM · Report this
schmacky 27
Nudity isn't the fucking problem; it's the whole public defecation thing that's indefensible. Big difference between nakedness and poop--can't believe I even need to point that out.

Posted by schmacky on July 8, 2010 at 7:55 PM · Report this
There are no portapotties at the CS Farmers Market. There is a library, but I am not sure it is open during the market.

I am just glad they picked it up.

I am sort of a germ freak (I hate people spitting AND I think it still against the law in Seattle; I wish coffee houses washed down tables between every patron; I wish we paid people to ride the escalators in the bus tunnel and wipe down the hand rails), but when a kid has to go they gotta go.

We need to pay for public rest rooms with attendants.
Posted by syd on July 8, 2010 at 7:56 PM · Report this
jesus christ, fnarf @16 - this SLOG post is about ONE comment on a thread with like 6 total comments where every other comment was like "no way, gross" and you have turned it into an indictment of Seattle AND Portland "progressives" who have "seized upon" this?

i think there's a job waiting for you at SLOG. :)
Posted by pffft on July 8, 2010 at 8:00 PM · Report this
Papoose and peat moss, people.
Posted by STJA on July 8, 2010 at 8:01 PM · Report this
Cum is natural too, but I don't jack off at the farmers market.
Posted by giffy on July 8, 2010 at 8:47 PM · Report this
SurlyYurmom 32
@31 for the win
Posted by SurlyYurmom on July 8, 2010 at 8:54 PM · Report this
Chadwick 33
Only people who are not native to the PNW would even get riled up about this. You're the same people who asked me if we had electricity here in 1992. Obviously, this was an unplanned event and a non-statement. People who weren't raised here often think many things are "statements" that are not. Imports suck it. You'll never get it.
Posted by Chadwick on July 8, 2010 at 8:55 PM · Report this
Accept your body in the privacy of your yard if you must, but public spaces are never ever ever an appropriate place to be evacuating your bowels, unless you happen to be wearing a diaper.
Posted by thursdaydynamo on July 8, 2010 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Cory 35
I'm just glad I never want to have kids. Not my fucking problem, and I'll be going about my business, thanks.
Posted by Cory on July 8, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 36
Your loss, Cory. Your loss.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 8, 2010 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Cory 37
You mean my loss of income, sanity, and time? I think you have it the other way around.

Let's not judge others, okay?
Posted by Cory on July 8, 2010 at 10:16 PM · Report this
"human feces is, from a hygiene/bacteriological point-of-view, totally vile and shouldn't come anywhere near things people might put into their mouths"

Like cocks?

I guess some Seattleites want us to be the diseased infested Turd World country they  fell in love with during college break.
Posted by Turd world culture on July 8, 2010 at 10:28 PM · Report this
Aurophobia 39
If it was an emergency and they really couldn't find a bathroom, they should have found a more secluded tree. Nudity I don't care about. But poop is always gross. Always.
Posted by Aurophobia on July 8, 2010 at 10:40 PM · Report this
Renton Mike 40
@31. You wouldn't, but someone with a fetish for overalls might.
Posted by Renton Mike on July 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM · Report this
#1 on a tree, ok.

#2 on a tree... NO.
Posted by planned barrenhood on July 9, 2010 at 12:06 AM · Report this
Sly 42
@31: Typically, neither do I. But every now and then there is a stall flagrantly displaying orchids, and what else can a (straight) man do in such a dire situation?
Posted by Sly on July 9, 2010 at 12:16 AM · Report this
I was with my sister-in-law and three-year-old niece at a 7-11 when the kid suddenly needed to take a dump. My sister-in-law let her do it in the parking lot. Disgusting and totally inappropriate. I don't see how a farmers market is any different. The parents are either inconsiderate pricks or should apologize for the accident.
Posted by sometimes things are obivious on July 9, 2010 at 12:51 AM · Report this
well then fuck you and every single one of your fucking dogs that fucking poop wherever the fuck they please. whether you pick it up or not.
Posted by beef on July 9, 2010 at 12:52 AM · Report this
I would have followed them home and then taken a dump on their front lawn:…
Posted by econoline on July 9, 2010 at 1:09 AM · Report this
Bauhaus I 46
It's very third world. I noticed that in some countries in Africa, very young children, children carried on Mom's back, don't wear diapers. They just let in rip down Mama's back.

I dunno. It just seems unsanitary. I mean, one of the glories of civilization is a good sewer system, right?
Posted by Bauhaus I on July 9, 2010 at 1:30 AM · Report this
Frau Blucher 47
@38 - Because of this:…

A butt cleaned with this is perfectly suited for a cock or mouth. With the added bonus of natural strawberries...

But then, this has nothing to do with the topic, and neither does your post.
Posted by Frau Blucher on July 9, 2010 at 3:51 AM · Report this
Yeah, no, sorry. It is never okay for anyone old enough (or, I suppose, young enough) to control their bowel movements to take a dump in public. Got an emergency situation driving along a deserted road? Sure, pull off, go into the woods, and take care of business. But your kid should NOT be taking a dump in a public park, if for no other reason than some other kid is going to come along and eat the dirt wherever that happens to be. Or just play on the same ground. Even if you've cleaned up, there's still going to be major bacterial leavings that no one should ever ingest. Seriously, people... How is this even a question? Do you know nothing about biology?
Posted by NateMan on July 9, 2010 at 6:32 AM · Report this
NateMan ... not to mention ... oh ringworm

don't forget about the ringworm

Because kids LOVE ringworm!
Posted by former tri-state on July 9, 2010 at 6:52 AM · Report this
@37 Cory - "You mean my loss of income, sanity, and time? I think you have it the other way around.

Let's not judge others, okay?"

Could you have possibly contradicted yourself any more? First you judge having kids, and then say not to judge others?
Posted by fbc on July 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 51
The funny thing about this post is the whole "EWWWWW! This is making the outdoors ICKY!" mentality of some of the responses (like Nateman's).. Just as if no dog, bird, or squirrel has ever shit in the exact same spot. I especially liked Banna @ 26's overreaction. The kid didn't shit on some doorstep.

On the one hand, it probably was as @ 15 said - an accident. Then again, the parent had a plastic bag to pick up the poop. That detail makes me wonder if the original complainant isn't correct in that this is some new trend. That would be terrible.

@ Cory, don't read into my posts. My remarks were completely free of judgment. You've made your choice and I support you, but don't kid yourself that you're missing out on something that's way more rewarding than it is frustrating or expensive.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 9, 2010 at 8:15 AM · Report this
Oh, the snide childless people. Only a smidgen less annoying than smug atheists.

And this is coming from someone childless, atheist, and frequently both smug and snide. Observe:

I haven't refrained from having kids because I've made some conscious decision to retain money/time/sanity/whatever, because I'm one of those people who understand that the essence of having kids isn't about those things.

It's like saying you're really really smart for not doing *anything* you like because they're all time/money sucks. Many people genuinely like having kids and decide to trade something for them. I don't see why anyone needs to be so relieved they don't want kids, any more than to be relieved they don't like video games or going on vacations.
Posted by Gloria on July 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Delishuss 53
@52 Kids are considerably more life-changing than video games and vacations, and there's a lot more societal pressure on people to have them. If you're a man who doesn't want kids, the assumption is that you're a philandering commitment-o-phobe. If you're a woman who doesn't want kids, the assumption is you're practically not even a real woman.

The "essence" of having kids is different to different people. I happen to agree with Cory. I have two nephews who are my favorite people in the world, for whom I'm setting aside college money, and who I would do anything for, including adopting them if (God forbid) something happened to my sister and her husband. However, I'm so happy they're not my kids. (I wouldn't have the money to create a college fund for them if they were.) It is a genuine relief to me that I don't have kids and that I never plan to.

You could stand to tone down the snark, just as much as Cory could.
Posted by Delishuss on July 9, 2010 at 9:25 AM · Report this
You adults, you've never had an accident? Let a soft one squeak out and it turned out to be a shart?

Kids, especially when having fun, tend to hold in bodily functions. Then when they have to go, they have to go. Feces was picked up. What's the big deal? People with dogs sometimes don't pick up the dog traps.

Choice between crapping your pants, or dropping a deuce on the curb, I know which one I'm choosing.
Posted by Kenny456 on July 9, 2010 at 9:47 AM · Report this
hartiepie 55
@54 Like this parent, you carry around a bag "just in case"??? OMG
Posted by hartiepie on July 9, 2010 at 10:17 AM · Report this
It's a style of potty-training. My son didn't potty train until he was almost 4, and I got a ton of flack about it from in-laws and such. As such, by the time he was 18 months, I was researching a lot of different potty-training methods. I ended up switching to cloth diapers (he wore them from 18 m or so until he trained, which saved money if nothing else), but I read about a lot of methods.

My dad recommended punishment ("I threw your brother in a snowbank!"). My mother-in-law insisted that I just wasn't doing it right, and she'd had my husband trained by the time he was 1 yr old. The baby board forums recommended either cloth diapering or "au naturel" training, where the parent leaves the diaper off the child, pays attention to their body signals (squinched face, tightening stomach or arm muscles), and hold them over the sink or a toilet (or a bush, if you're outside) when they need to go.

This is touted as something Native Americans and tribeswomen in Africa do (did?), and is recommended because it's earth-friendly and supposedly promotes bonding with the child. Various informational sites on it also list well-to-do parents of more elite, trendsetting groups who practice this type of potty-training.
Posted by Lana on July 9, 2010 at 10:46 AM · Report this
I wrote the original post. I don't have kids though I do live right next to the park. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Pretty surprised people picked up on the Puritan comment as if it was some statement on the actual development of the country. Just joking around a bit.

I still don't see the what all the uproar is about. Kid shits in the park. Parent PICKS IT UP. There is no epidemic in that park with feces laying around everywhere (human or dog). Is it a bit strange, yes. Is it something to get outraged about, no. Does it somehow lead to the spread of communicable diseases? I don't know, but people who frequent dog parks in the city don't end up in some sort of E.T. like tent-structure outside of the CDC in Atlanta.

You're right, it's not about nudity, it is about relieving oneself in public. I don't think people should make a habit of it. I just find it funny that a kid taking a crap on the ground freaked people out so much. Somehow a baby running around with a load of shit in its pants is more sanitary than letting it drop on the ground and then picking it up. People need to relax.

Fucking Puritans.
Posted by Puritan on July 9, 2010 at 10:48 AM · Report this
They had the bag because their backpack or purse pretty much always has a ziploc with pretzels or goldfish in it, for three-year-old's sudden hunger fits.
Posted by EricaP on July 9, 2010 at 10:57 AM · Report this
I hope this isn't trend - I live next door to a Pre-school!
Posted by Senor Guy on July 9, 2010 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Ok, writing FAIL (I hope this isn't a trend)
Sorry for the typo.
Posted by Senor Guy on July 9, 2010 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Cory 61
I responded to a condescending comment with snark. Did I make a personal comment on Matt's life decisions or the person mentioned in the article? No, I said I don't want kids, and that I'm glad I don't want kids. I then went on to describe some of the reasons I don't want kids.

Matt, you're still being condescending to me. If you think your statements miraculously changed my mind about the benefit of breeding, you'd be wrong.
Posted by Cory on July 9, 2010 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 62
@29 Stop Picking on Fnarf!

(sobs uncontrollably)
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 9, 2010 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 63
@ 61, you were snarky and that led you to believe that I was being snarky (or judgmental) in return. That's just a case of you reading something into my words that wasn't there. Quit whining.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM · Report this
attitude devant 64
17, even primitive societies have pretty strong ideas about where pooping is and isn't OK. Try Eric Ericson's Childhood and Society for a nice discussion of same.
Posted by attitude devant on July 9, 2010 at 12:30 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 65
Post #2 in the linked blog is now the WORLD TROLL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNAR.
Posted by wilbur@work on July 9, 2010 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Correction for all the pretenders and assumers -

The guy who wrote the post isn't the parent. He doesn't even have kids. SHOCK! Someone with compassion even though he doesn't have DIRECT EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN. Amazing. It's like he's able to consider something outside of his own selfish experience. Weird.

My 2 year old is potty training. About a month ago he pooped next to the kiddie pool in our backyard. It was an accident. I picked it up and disposed of it properly. No cholera outbreaks yet.

And tell me - HOW is this different than what dogs and cats do in my yard, in the fetid stinking dog park, in the LAKE, in other public parks, in vacant lots, etc. EVERY DAY? I've been scooping feces out of my yard since I moved in - only one time (above) was it human. Unless you'd like to argue that a 2 year old should come up to its parent and say "Father, I will have to poop in approximately 10 minutes, would you mind making the proper arrangements, make sure no one is in the porta-potty, and prepare a clean-up plan. Thank you."

Get real. Assume it was an accident. We should get fired up if it becomes a huge problem - which it won't because everyone else there won't let it. Neither will the (likely) mortified parent who had to deal with it.
Posted by nullbull on July 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Accidents happen as they say, but there have been a few voices out there arguing that this is a method of potty training that should be encouraged. For those I have a question, at what age do you tell your kids that though it is more convenient, it is no long acceptable behavior to go and unload in the neighbors rose bushes? How does this become unlearned, so that your little darling that was spewing shit all over the park at 4, isn't continuing this practice at 24 or 34? You know because the bathroom was just sooooo far and he couldn't be bothered to walk to it.
Then there is the argument that well dogs and cats crap everywhere and that just isn't fair. Well, dogs often fuck in public places but doesn't mean that I should be allowed to have at it in my front yard just because the urge struck. Even if they do call it doggy style, it is not ok.
What I am hearing from some are parents who feel that their little darlings can do no wrong. Well, I have sad news for you sunshine, their shit stinks just like everyone elses.
Posted by Poo pooing the Poo on July 9, 2010 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Frau Blucher 68
@63 - Or maybe he was "insulting your intelligence," huh, Matt?

'Cause we all know the level of your intelligence and how easily it can be insulted...
Posted by Frau Blucher on July 9, 2010 at 4:23 PM · Report this
libraboy 69
@66 (continuing your thread) ...and then, for the capper complain how "This could only happen in Seattle or Portland." Boo freakin' hoo! I guess you really hate those cities. Bitter much?
Posted by libraboy on July 9, 2010 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 70
The kid had an accident. The parent cleaned it up. Why the hell does anyone care about this?
Posted by Y.F. Redux on July 9, 2010 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 71
@ 68, still butthurt because I called bullshit on you? Aww... poor baby.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 9, 2010 at 7:55 PM · Report this
I do find it ironic how affronted so many people are by this simple act. especially since a) it was a child b) the Mom picked it up c) I'm sure she didn't plan on this happening....d) accidents happen for kids, it's how the adult reacts that is the test

Seattle you are all so smug with yourselves and so opinionated......I'm sure you would have been much more tolerant and have commended the lady if it was her pitbull who did such an "offensive" act at the Farmer's Market no less......
Posted by halsteader on July 9, 2010 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Let's face it people, all our poop ends up in the sound on heavy rain days because we don't know how to handle stormwater. If we want to have a discussion about hygiene, let's discuss that.
Posted by Let's get real here on July 10, 2010 at 12:39 AM · Report this

People care about it because this is a proxy argument for other things. Nobody actually cares about this incident itself, and nobody with half a brain believes that it suggests a trend, or that "progressives" would defend a general trend of letting children shit in public. It's an enormous straw man.

I, for one, continue to be amazed that something as basic as reproduction continues to be contentious among the coffee-and-computers set. Bill Hicks said it best -- having a child is no more a miracle than eating and taking a dump. Speaking as a parent, I agree. But the inverse corollary is also true: having, rearing, and dealing with children is fundamental to what humans, collectively, DO, even if some individual humans choose to opt out of the process. Pretending that it is reasonable, let alone possible, to construct parents (and children) as people that have made some inherently anti-social choice (Ew! Children are gross! Ew! If I can't take my dog in a grocery store, you shouldn't be allowed to bring your child into a grocery store!) is the act of someone who is *profoundly* out of touch with reality.
Posted by Judah on July 10, 2010 at 12:48 AM · Report this
shit happens.
Posted by kersy on July 10, 2010 at 2:19 AM · Report this
In the name of analyzing all of this thoroughly, we are missing a few facts, and/or, we're subject to a few discrepancies. Why, if it was an accident, did the parent have the foresight to carry a plastic baggie (presumably FOR their child's poop)? Are there porta-potties at the Columbus Park Farmer's Market? Perhaps most relevantly, how old is the child, and was it delayed in some fashion? I'm skeptical that this was truly an "accident." I'm a parent, and I've been subject to an accident or two (that was me, covered in spit-up, on the bus to Tacoma, yes, with the cute blond kid laughing hysterically at her gross mom), but the amount of planning it would take to anticipate THAT particular kind of accident, and bring a plastic baggie for the occasion, makes me wonder. Also, in the spirit of "accidents happen," if the parent was prepared with a plastic bag, why was the parent not prepared also with a diaper? A cloth one, even, for purposes of being "natural"? And yeah, what's with everybody assuming this is a 2-year-old? Why is a 2-year-old practicing being "potty-trained" without a diaper in public? Or did the incident involve, say, a 10-year-old? I'm not trying to go all Mudede and analyze this to death, but I'm kind of hesitant (even AS a parent) to go along with the "have compassion for accidents" crowd. Especially if the kid was ten.
Posted by bicoastal on July 10, 2010 at 4:03 AM · Report this
@76, re why parent had plastic baggie, see @58.
Posted by EricaP on July 10, 2010 at 11:15 AM · Report this
@66 There's a difference between accidents and encouraging, I don't understand how you as a parent would be dumb enough to not figure this out.
Posted by can't believe how people love feces on July 10, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
@77 Yeah, okay. I can see that. Maybe. But I still want to know if the kid is two, or ten. Or fifteen.
Posted by bicoastal on July 10, 2010 at 7:26 PM · Report this
Dogs shit in parks and their owners pick up their feces and dispose of them (in much the same manner as it seems this parent did). Other animals shit and piss in parks. Although this seems a bit strange at first glance, is it really that strange? Or at least is it really all that more filthy than a dog doing its business? I'm not sure of the answer to that, just posing the question. Maybe humans shit is worse, no idea. If this is just a cultural thing, then let's acknowledge that. If it's REALLY a hygienic issue, then yes this seems kind of gross.

Maybe to a bigger issue - public toilets in parks...and maybe porta-pottys at the farmer's market (they have them up here in Vancouver BC).
Posted by SDK on July 10, 2010 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Simac 81
There is a natural range for potty training from age 2 (kind of at the VERY earliest, and then mainly only for girls) to age 5 (which is uncommonly late but not unheard of, especially in boys). Any child in that age range will also have accidents from time to time. In this case, I suspect the child is largely potty trained (since the child was not in diapers) but failed to anticipate the need to go with sufficient warning to find a bathroom or portopotty, etc. That is one of the harder things to learn. It is not uncommon for children as old as 6 or 7 to occasionally wet or poop their pants because of this failure to anticipate or plan ahead. Any parent who is out with kids will have a plastic bag or two with them. They are amazingly handy. (Also, people bring their own bags to farmer markets, they probably had lots of extras.)

Given a child who urgently needs to go, the parent has a choice, either to allow the child to soil his or her pants or use a tree or bush somewhere hopefully discreet. The parents surely did not regard it as an ideal situation, either, but you deal with the situation at hand whatever it is.

So, I have to come down fully on the side of the parents in this story. They had an urgent potty situation, they dealt with it, they cleaned it up. No big deal.
Posted by Simac on July 11, 2010 at 11:24 AM · Report this
@Simac There is a natural range for potty training from age 2 (kind of at the VERY earliest, and then mainly only for girls) to age 5 (which is uncommonly late but not unheard of, especially in boys).

No. Not even slightly is this the "natural range". It is massively culturally constructed. In other cultures - and in ours, until (historically) very recently, toilet training started MUCH earlier than it does now. just had a long article on this. Among other things, the author notes that "In the U.S., until the 1950s, most children were using the potty in the first few months of life and completely trained by age 1. In the 1970s, 18 months was an average age to start. Now, it's around 24 to 30 months."
Posted by Ancient Sumerian on July 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Very interesting reading. I will add to this that the Columbia City farmers' market has a perfectly good porta-potty, very near where most of the trees are. (It also has a nice clean public library, with bathroom, about 100 feet away, for those grossed out by your average Honey Pot.)

I'm going to give the parent the benefit of the doubt and say that it sounds like they were probably using "elimination communication" with a very young child, (ie, under 1 year old) and they probably didn't anticipate the feces part of it until it was too late. And bless them for responsibly cleaning it up.

However, can I just throw out there, as someone who enjoys spending time in the public parks, that nature did not design such a small area to absorb as much urine and feces as they get from the local dog and cat population, and if we could please agree to at least keep human waste in the sewage system that several thousand years of civilization has so kindly designed for us, I think that would be really great. And, you know, healthy. Peeing in the woods is one thing, peeing in a heavily populated park is another thing entirely, and it seems like you might as well teach that to your child right off the bat. Especially when there's a porta-potty and a library RIGHT THERE. (Also, you can find a potty that is very small and portable, and if your using EC, you really need to be carrying one around with you.)
Posted by initforthelonghaul on July 11, 2010 at 8:52 PM · Report this

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