Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop. Poop.

I hate that word. It just conjures up so many gross images in my mind. Yet, when you become a parent, for some reason, it re-enters your vocabulary for the first time since your own childhood. Why?? I swear my kids say it more than “the”. They think it is so funny. They create songs about it. They create jokes about it. They draw pictures of it. They tell me the dinners I cook for them look like it (they might be right about that because I tend to burn everything). According to my two-year-old, everything smells like it – even our roses.

And what’s worse? You start talking about it with your friends, partner, random strangers. “If he doesn’t go one day is that ok?” “Is 5 times a day too much?” “Oh don’t get that diaper pail, it won’t save you from the smell.” You go out to dinner and pretty soon a conversation centered around some kid’s bodily functions inevitably gets started. Ugh. I told myself before I had kids that I would NEVER be one of those parents. Yep – just another one of those things that naive pre-kid people say.

My guess is that if you’re not talking about bodily functions, you’re probably talking about something else that revolves around your kids for most of the conversation. Soccer, school, funny things they said, annoying things they did, etc. It’s understandable. Kids are a HUGE part of our lives. We love them beyond words. Their little scrapes feel like our blunt force trauma. However, a problem arises when that’s all you have to talk about with your friends/husband/wife/etc.

Dan and I are so guilty of this. We go out on a date night and we talk about the kids – a lot. I try to bring up something really deep and intellectual like politics, religion, or Ashton Kutcher’s Houzz video. But, I think I’m a master at turning any conversation back to the kids.

Me: “What do you think of the economic crisis in Greece?”

Dan: “It will be interesting to see how they vote on the referendum.”

Me: “Yes, it could end up being a nightmare for the EU. You know what else could be a nightmare? Ben’s swim team got moved from 8:00 to 8:15 which means that he’s going to be late for basketball camp and I’m not going to be able to get Cole to his swim lesson on time which means I’m going to have to take him to a makeup session and who knows when I’m going to have time for that.”

Did you see that? See how smoothly I transitioned from a perfectly intellectually stimulating adult conversation into the tragedies of my broken schedule. Such ease. Such elegance. Poop.

This has got to stop. I’m presenting a challenge. Next time you go out, can you go the entire evening without talking about the kids? I honestly don’t know if I can but I have to try because my pre-kid self is really annoyed with my current self.

In an effort to help you and me, we’re going to present a conversation starter each week. Think of it as your “call a friend” lifeline to use when you’re desperate and don’t know what else to talk about.  I cannot guarantee that these conversation starters will be intellectually stimulating. A lot of them might be flat-out dumb. However, I can guarantee that they will not involve poop.

Enjoy! And if you have other great conversation starters, please share!