On Poop and Poopum

I was a cheerleader in high school. I suspect I was very, very bad at it, but I like to recreate it in my head like I. WAS. AWESOME.

(This parenthetical statement is the place-holder for the really high leg kick I’m doing in my head right now.)

That’s right.

Now, Greg doesn’t have to recreate my cheerleading days in his head like it was anything, awesome or otherwise. A self-proclaimed geek who holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Greg declared himself content to have married a one-time cheerleader. Bless his heart, he gives my life meaning.

I spent my sophomore year of high school with my initials “E.M.” embroidered on my cheerleading uniform. Sure, I could’ve used “B.M” since I always go by Beth and never by Elizabeth, but who wants to spend a school year with the acronym for Bowel Movement emblazoned upon her? “Is that B.M. on your uniform? Bahahahaha!” Um, no, thanks.

Instead, I spent the whole year having this conversation:

Them: “Why do you have E.M. on your uniform?”
Me: “My name is Elizabeth.”
Them: “Well, yeah. But you go by Beth. Why didn’t you just put B.M. on your… OOOHHHH!”
Me: “Yeah.”
Them: “Bahahahahaha!”

I told you I was awesome, and now you know it’s true.

In related news, I have a friend, E.m. Johnson, who’s a brilliant writer. I don’t know if he knows he’s a brilliant writer. Writing isn’t his career or anything. In fact, as far as I know (since I haven’t seen him for, oh, 15 or 1,000 years or so), he pretty much only writes academic papers and Facebook status updates. I haven’t seen the academic papers, but if they’re half as entertaining as his Facebook status updates, I’d pay in piles of chocolate chip cookies to read them, and then I’d bandy them about the internets, like I’m about to do with his other works. Other works like this:

Well, it looks like I’ve decided to become a Forest Ninja.

It’s going to take a lot of discipline and intense training. I’m pretty sure a Master Forest Ninja is capable of sneaking up on a fully conscious mountain lion and completely incapacitating it with a one inch punch to the face, so that’s cool. I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress…

You guys, this kind of stuff is a huge relief for me. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve needed to incapacitate a fully conscious mountain lion.

And then – get this – E.m. sorta did keep us posted on his progress. Facebook follow-through, guys. Amazing!

I’m not entirely sure yet what a Forest Ninja spends his time doing, but I think it alternates between long periods of moving very slowly and short periods of moving extremely quickly.


An initial stage of training for ninjas, forest or otherwise, is the ability to enter and exit a room in which a toddler is sleeping, without waking said toddler. I will practice this right now.

Which brings me to this:

What’s the second stage of ninja training, E.m.? ‘Cause I TOTALLY have that toddler thing DOWN. I can, in fact, rest my hand on a sleeping toddler, and then remove my hand without him waking. (I know; I know. I have mad skillz.) I should admit, however, that while I’ve thoroughly mastered periods of moving extremely quickly, I haven’t had much opportunity to practice long periods of moving extremely slowly. Unless, of course, I can count that week last year with pneumonia during which I moved so slowly that I appeared to be stationary. If you can give me credit for “life experience,” E.m., then I need next steps in ninja training, STAT.

Even more important than Forest Ninja training, however, is grammar instruction.

OK, I’m sorry. That wasn’t totally accurate. ‘Cause we all know that Forest Ninja training totally beats grammar in a national taste test. BUT, grammar instruction about P00P trumps Forest Ninja training every time. Don’t even argue with me. We can’t all be Forest Ninjas, after all, but everybody poops.

E.m. Johnson is a nurse and a father of three, both of which emphatically qualify a guy as a reliable source of poop grammar. But, you guys, his name is also E.m., which, as we all know, is only a thinly disguised code for Bowel Movement. In short, if I can offer only one piece of advice today, it’s this: when E.m. Johnson talks poop grammar, we all should listen.

Here’s what he has to say:

You know how the word “data” is plural? Poop is like that, too. Poop is the plural of “poopum,” which represents a solitary piece separated from the herd.

OH MY GOSH, you guys! All this time, I’ve been incorrectly using poop and poop as my singular and plural. I thought the word poop was like “deer and deer” or “sheep and sheep” or “moose and moose.” Come to find out, poop is ONLY the plural.

Also, I didn’t know that poop live in a herd. Well, I mean, of course I knew experientially that poop have herdlike characteristics; I have five children, after all, and they all poop. But I didn’t know that the appropriate term for grouping poop is “herd.”

You might think that none of this is important information. If that’s true, you clearly do not spend as much time talking and thinking about poop as I do. (Yay, you!) But I need this data. For example, I can now correctly form the following sentences:

Is that a poopum floating in my tub?
OH MY GOSH! That’s not a poopum. THAT’S A HERD OF POOP!


Listen up, kids. There is poop all over my bathroom, and I don’t care who did it,
GLOVE UP; you are ALL going to help clean up every last poopum.


I said every last poopum, you guys; you need to get that one QUICKLY,
before it escapes from the herd.

Do you see how this will change my LIFE?

Now, you might doubt the accuracy of E.m.’s Latin training, but I’m here to tell you, you don’t become either a nurse or a father of three without making crap up learning a LOT. I, for one, shall be making poop and poopum a more permanent part of my repertoire.

Thanks, E.m., for making this little lesson in grammar possible.

Working together to change the world one poopum at a time,

B.M. Woolsey


P.S. You can always get in on all of the Five Kids fun over on Facebook by clicking here. Our current discussion revolves around whether or not Christmas elves know the alphabet. So hanging out over there will pretty much change your life.

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6 responses to “On Poop and Poopum”

  1. I have just realised, apropos of nothing, that my own husband’s initials are B.M. This has caused more mirth than is strictly helpful, since he’ll be saddled with the name for life. Being called Benjamin, he has no hope of shedding this poopum-related acronym unless he starts calling himself Jam. Or Min. Too funny. And we call them “pooticles” in our house. I must control my laughter before joining him in bed. Thanks so much for yet another giggle! xo

  2. The word ‘poop’ has quite an etymology. My favorite: “’to break wind,’ from Middle English powpen, popen to sound or blow a horn”.

  3. Ah thank you indeed. Now I know that I should have correctly told my husband to corral the herd of poop that was floating in the bathtub the other night instead of hollering to the other room “Babe, will you please come get the poop out of the tub” while holding a hysterical toddler above the water…
    Yes, I will have much use for this knowledge in my house…
    although we did have a successful potty poop today so… wheee! maybe I won’t have 3 in diapers at the same time…

  4. I also have mad skillz when it comes to the entering the room, placing a hand on and then exiting the room without waking the sleeping child area. Now i just need to figure out how to do it while NOT holding my breath and I’ll be good to go.I pretty much collapse on the other side of the door once i’ve shut it, heaving and gasping for air, trying to stay concious.

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