Last night I came face to face with my arch nemesis, the maker of my nightmares, the thing that has haunted these last 11 years of parenting. Poop. More specifically, poop as a play thing.
I should start by saying I knew this day would come and I knew it would be Mack. He’s the most curious and upwardly mobile of my three. He has no problem whipping off his diaper whenever the mood strikes and he has access and he hasn’t been exactly cooperative about using the potty.
It all began innocently enough. I changed Mack’s diaper and left him diaper free. We’ve used Elimination Communication since he was about 6 weeks old, but he’s been resistant about pottying in the last couple months since he clearly has other things on his agenda like crawling, walking, and cutting 8 new teeth at once. Priorities. He tooted a couple times so I put him on the potty again but he threw himself overboard and I just decided to let it go and sit down with the Man who was eating his dinner after getting home late.
Fast forward 3 minutes and the Man says, rather nonchalantly given the gravity of the situation, ‘Mack pooped’. I think ‘oh he did?… Oh, s@#$ he has no diaper on!!’ I whipped my head in his direction and at first I didn’t see it; hard wood floors are very good at camouflaging breastfed based poop (let that be a warning). But then I saw it. And I freaked out. I raced over to pick up up and held him Jesus-on-the-cross like with his hands as far away from his body as possible while the Man, well, just sat there.
I can do vomit. I can do vomit in the middle of the night. I can do vomit in the car. But poop? I’ve been known to hurl when dealing with the older kids poop. I’m not a particularly queasy, spleeny person, but for some reason poop is my Achilles heal.
So there I am, bent over, holding Mack who has no idea what the hell is going on. One minute he’s playing with one of Hopper’s baby toys she brought over from the OtherMother’s house, the next he’s suspended in mid-air covered stem to stern in his own poo. Did I mention he was writhing, trying to escape my death grip, while I was begging the man for help, while I was trying not to throw up on the both of us, and did I also mention that this child is very, very strong for a baby? He’s all muscle, I swear.
The Man… his response? “What do you want me to do?” in a mildly annoyed tone that made me feel not-so-mildly homicidal.
For starters, take this kid so I don’t frost this hot mess with my half-digested dinner. Thankfully he was done eating and did just as I asked him or he might have found himself sleeping out in his car (or visiting me in my private, padded room at the hospital). I check my feet, didn’t step in it, THANK GOD, then run upstairs to get the baby wipes which I ONLY buy so I won’t have to help my older kids wipe their poop. For a lady with poop issues we seem to have a lot of them around here. But I digress.
Seven thousand baby wipes later and a mostly wiped down but thoroughly pissed off baby was trotted off to a very extensive (I hope) bath. I think I used a dozen wipes on his hands alone. Shudder.
For the next several hours, after the baby was long asleep, I continued to pepper the Man with questions… “you washed him up really well, with soap, right?”, “did you wash his neck, because I thought I might have smelled, um, when I was nursing him…”, “did you get in his ears, just in case?”, “oh god I hope he didn’t eat any”.
In the end I didn’t throw up, I didn’t kill the Man, and I learned a very important lesson about bare-bottomed, farting babies.
What is your parenting Achilles heal?