Poo. Parents and non-parents divide over this seemingly simple by product of the digestive system, and the divide is large.
To non-parents: A topic that is not brought up in polite conversation, a minorly inconvenient but thoroughly neccessary and sometimes relieving, almost mildly enjoyable dayly event. (time can change. Depends how much fibre is in your diet.)
To parents: The yard stick for measurement of infant/toddler/child health and development. A safe topic of conversation with other parents. A way of determining allergies, intolerances, worms, viral infections, too much liquorice (black) too much corn (ahhhhh, lotsa corn basically) or whether you child has chewed their food adequately. Whole raisins that look like they could be rinsed off and used again is an indication that food chewing needs to be taught again. Best not to rinse them off and use the same raisins though.
People who don't have children cannot fully understand how much can be gleaned from a single poo. It's colour, it's form, the smell, the consistancy, the watery liquid that can accompany a really nasty one...
Anyone who has had to visit a pediatric immunologist the visit will go something like this:
Dr: 'So, her stools are not formed?'
Me: 'ahhhhhh, her....?'
Dr: 'Poo. Her poo. What does it look like?'
Me: 'Oh, ummm, runny, I guess. Like satay.'
Dr: 'So, chunky as well?'
Me: 'Oh, ah, I didn't really notice. I guess there were bits in it...'
And the conversation goes on and on until you are convinced you should have studied poo much harder and that the immmunologist is going to give you a 'D' in poo, but only if he is in a good mood. And then he charges you $300 for the whole conversation.
Poo and how it relates to your child becomes the cornerstone of the parenting existence.
First it was meconium..... everyone warns you about meconium, but the reality is much worse. Thank god it doesn't smell, but it would make excellent road base. That stuff is impermeable to everything.
Then breast milk poo. It is not uncommon to hear parents say " I miss breast milk poo." I miss breast milk poo! It was so sweet smelling and yellow. IT WAS!
Then the excitement of seeing the by-products of solids, the horror of toddler poos, and the sheer exaltation of a poo in the potty.