I’m a pretty serious gal. I am bookish and introverted, and sometimes socially awkward. I’m not a quick wit kind of person, which is why I love to write because with time to reflect and think, I can communicate my more authentic self. But sometimes life provides what you lack in big old doses. Motherhood has brought out the funny in my life. Every day, my daughter V does something that I find hilarious. Today she asked to eat a pig for lunch. I did not teach her where pork comes from, so my best guess is that she knows we eat chicken and generalized from there. Yesterday, while sitting on the potty, she kneaded her stomach to try to get more pee out and looked up at me with this giant grin, like “I’m doing it, Mom!” I’m sure as a teenager, she’ll love that I wrote about that moment in her life. My kid is genuinely funny, and I’m loving it!
But there have been times when my first impulse as a parent was not to laugh, times when the day promised to get the best of me, if I let it. One of the worst of these cases involved, you guessed it, doody. My daughter was in early infancy, and in one of my parenting books, I had read about the benefits of skin to skin contact with young babies. The author had described a warm and comfortable bath with your infant as a nice way to enjoy a relaxing bonding moment. As a new mom who counted herself lucky to bathe every second day, I thought this was a great idea. What a wonderful way to multi-task and have a little snuggle in gentle, soothing water.
I had gotten us settled in the water; my husband handed her in to me so I wouldn’t slip getting into the tub and then went back downstairs for a few minutes of alone time. We splashed and played and I washed her up, then was thinking about calling my hubs back to take V out so I could clean up, when I thought I heard some bubble activity in the water. A moment of horror set in as I realized what was happening, as the breast-fed baby sludge filled the tub, swirling around my lower half and encompassing my little bathing beauty. She had pooped. In the tub. And as she was not eating table food yet, there were no floaties involved. Only runny, rapidly mixing, murky, brown-yellow streams where once clear water had flowed. I screamed in horror, the hubs racing up the stairs to find me standing in the tub holding our crap covered kid at arms’ length and dancing and cringing with disgust. I can barely recall what happened next, as I was so traumatized. I know that together we managed to empty, disinfect, and refill the tub and my husband bathed our shivering girl for the second time, while I jumped into the separate shower stall to scrub my skin raw as I washed my body about 5 times in scalding hot water.
I am a mom, and I have been pooped on, but let me tell you, a clothing barrier gives a lot more confidence when dealing with the doody. After this fiasco, I learned that some discernment was necessary when determining the practicality of baby soothing techniques. But our bathtub fun continued. One particularly horrid morning, I spent the whole morning bathing V, as she pooped through three subsequent bath times. Each time, I would pull her dripping from the tub, wrap her in a towel, several of which were pooped upon, drain and disinfect the tub, wash her, only to have her poop again. After the third time, I called my husband at work, hysterical. My child was shivering and covered in feces. I was disheveled, the bathroom was a wreck. I can’t imagine being on the receiving end of that phone call, but my husband did his daddy duty and talked me down from the crazy place I was in. I got V cleaned up. I cleaned the floor; I cleaned her bath toys; I did a load of laundry. I warmed my poor, shivering child, as our hot water had given out by the third attempt. I coped and cuddled and we moved on, though half our day had been swallowed up with baths.
I look back on these incidents, ones that threatened my parent nerves of steel, and I have to laugh at that fledgling parent, so determined to do everything right, best of intentions thwarted by the stuff the universe threw at her. I’ve gotten used to these kinds of mishaps by now. There are days that devolve from start to finish, and I find myself quicker to laugh, and follow up fiascos with fun. After all, poop happens. As a mother, I’ve literally learned this lesson.
I would love to hear your mommy (or daddy) mishaps! Please share your silly stories below if you dare to share!