Of all the things poop-related that parents could post about their kids online, a "poop face" certainly isn't the worst. I've seen pictures of poop that you wouldn't believe, and no, that is not a humblebrag. One accidental click into my Bathroom Behavior submissions folder might have me reaching for a barf bag, especially if I click on the folder labeled "Worst Shit EVER," which features -- you guessed it -- pictures of poop that are nastier than most highway roadkill. Even a brief glance at a thumbnail can make me nauseous, and that's saying a lot, considering I've seen dozens of placentas and probably twice as many C-section pictorials. There's something about human bowel movements that are extremely complex and important, particularly for babies, which creates a fascination for parents that non-parents just don't have. Hell, I've heard from tons of parents who aren't too fascinated, either, and are instead repulsed at what comes out of their child's ass most of the time. I think of those parents as allies, people who can look at a giant piece of poop sitting in a child's potty or splattered on the floor or stuck to their child's hair and refrain from taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. I salute the folks who choose not to torture their friends by snapping pics of diaper explosions or runny diarrhea, posting photos with captions like "If I have to see this shit, my friends do, too! Haha!" The parents who do that are on my Shit List for life, and let me tell you, I'm not the only one who feels that way.
Still, there's a contingent of parents who think that poop faces are worth documenting, because they're awkwardly funny and expressive. You can be a parent who doesn't post pictures of the final product and still think the "engineering" is worth discussing online amongst friends. It's in that spirit that Pampers created its latest social media "parent challenge" called #PampersPooFace, where the winner receives a year's supply of Pampers Baby Wipes. If you haven't already heard about it, because you're a person who has made better life choices than I have, the rules are pretty simple: Post a photo of your kid's "poo face" and tag it #PampersPooFace, and then hope that the fancy Pampers marketing associate whose job it is to go through photos of babies shitting can maybe deem your kid's poo face one of the best ones out there. A real prize of a poo face, IF you and your baby are lucky. I learned about this #PooFace campaign initially on Twitter, and then checked out some exciting entries in this side-eye of an article. Granted, there are some good entries in there, as far as the selection goes, but a part of me wonders why any parent would stoop so low just to get free baby wipes. I know it's all in good fun and it's just one tweet out of a zillion and some parents genuinely want to share this comical face with the entire world, but honestly? Parents have gone from marketing their child's smiling face for a Gerber food ad (featuring prizes like "college tuition") to marketing their child's poo face for a baby wipes contest. Doesn't that seem like regression to anyone else?
In any case, once I saw this campaign exists, I thought two things. The first was that this is sooo up Pampers' alley. Remember the Pamp Stamp social campaign? Or have you managed to block that one out?
Ughh. My second thought when I heard about the contest was, "Well, duh. This won't be hard for parents since so many of them already have #pooface pictures in their Facebook archives." Poo faces are nothing new; if anything, they're old fodder for an internet that has long relinquished any standards of decorum. Parents know all about poo faces, and their friends do, too. They've been seeing them pop up in their newsfeeds for years now. Pampers is just hopping on the #pooface bandwagon and dangling some free baby wipes on a stick, hoping to get in on the action. The only difference between the campaign they're running now, which depends largely on directness, and some of the submissions I've seen in the past via STFU, Parents is that parents used to be more about the sneak attack than they are now. They used to post adorable, professionally-taken photos of their children in lush fields with "surprise" captions like, "If you look closely at the picture you can hear him grunting. I had to change his diaper in the cane field," or, "yes...she was pooping in this one :)", much to the delight of their friends. Now, there's no beating around the bush. It's #pooface or bust. Or something. And, as the headline in that Mirror UK article says, it's all kinds of wrong.
Let's take a look at some examples of parents who were all about the poo face before it ever became a corporate hashtag. And let's ignore the notion that Depends will unveil a similar campaign. ("You guys should see my Grandpa's #pooface!) At least if it does, most of the people who'd qualify won't know what a hashtag is. Thank god.
Simple and to-the-point. Gail knows that good Facebook content answers at least one of the Five Ws. "Who did that?" "My baby." "What happened?" "She's taking a dump." "Where did it take place?" "While lying on my legs." "When did it take place?" "Wednesday at 4:35pm." "Why did that happen?" "She's a baby and it's one of three things she is currently capable of doing."
Good post, Gail!
2. Literally LOL
Okay, Anne -- I see your kid's funny poop face, and I raise you a question: Why did you have to get into "the noise" you hear? Conversation like that never leads anywhere good. In fact, sometimes it leads to someplace very, very bad.
One word: WATERFALL.
It's still summer, and I have plans to visit at least two more waterfalls in the Hudson Valley before August's end. Now when I'm there, soaking up the sun's rays and listening to the rapid, powerful whooshing of the water, I'll close my eyes, inhale deeply, and inadvertently think of a pile of steaming, hot shit landing in a baby's diaper. Thanks, ladies!
3. Breakfast Of Champions
This kid has a pretty good #pooface. He might even be eligible for some free baby wipes. I appreciate that he's holding onto his toy, for support, because every baby deserves something to grip when they're taking a massive crap, don't you think? I hope Donnie and Amanda are having people over for dinner soon, and those people see this Facebook post, just so they can feel extra comfy poking at their asparagus across from the scene of the poop crime. Not that anyone who enters a young parent's home doesn't know on SOME level that their friend's baby has shit, drooled, or barfed on every surface -- but it's nice to have solid proof, so to speak. Makes people feel welcome and in-the-know! Plus it gives everyone something to talk about over chicken marsala!
4. Public Privacy
Maybe if this photo had been taken at dinner at HOME, I would think it was funnier. But now I feel kinda grossed out and also very naive, because if I saw this small, cute child with a napkin over her head across from me at a restaurant, I might think she was playing peek-a-boo, or pretending to be a ghost. Maybe I would've even "played along" with her, minus the shitting my pants part. I'm relieved to know this personal moment took place after dinner, though. Olivia is a polite and discreet child, whose parents totally respect that. And hey, who doesn't have to shit their pants after eating off the kids' menu? A greasy grilled cheese always does it for me, too. Next time I'll take a picture.
5. Necessary Information
This picture is more in line with the sneak attacks I mentioned earlier. It's an innocuous photo of a drooling baby -- a photo that's a little fuzzy, but then again, most babies are moving when you're trying to take pictures of them anyway, so it's not really a "bad" picture, either. The problem is, right after Roxann's friends take a gander at this cutie patootie and their eyes slide to the right to read the caption, they're left going, "Oh." Sure, this is a little baby and we all know that babies poop themselves. But something about Roxann letting her friends think her baby is "adorable" before reminding them that she's a little shart machine irritates me. Can't we keep our babies' sharts to ourselves? Patricia doesn't want to know about any of that mess. She just wants to comment on the baby's beauty without picturing her gassy poop farts. Is that too much to ask?
6. The Eric Laxative
I'm as surprised that Hasbro hasn't picked up on this trend and started marketing "Train Table Laxatives" to parents as I am at Bonnie's shock about her son's favorite shitting signifier. I'm pretty sure everyone has a shit trigger, but kids definitely do, and the train table -- at the children's library, no less -- seems just as good an option as watching "Star Wars." What I can't get over is the way Bonnie goes into detail about the "blood vessel" in his neck popping out because he's trying to push out a turd. Thank you for that, Bonnie! I will never forget it, especially when I see a train table at the library when I'm babysitting my niece and nephews. I'm now armed with the knowledge that train tables are not just fun for little kids and Bobby Bacala in The Sopranos, but are also great for pooping your pants in a pinch. All aboard the Train Table Laxative Poo Face Steamer! It's carrying a lot of freight, if you know what I'm saying! Choo choo, y'all.