I guess in life sometimes we get exactly what we deserve, right? And, of course, payback, she is a bitch. But particularly in matters of childcare I often think that the ironic gods of parenting reach out their dry twiggy fingers and deliberately pinch so as to protect us from our own hubris and hence our children from our grandiosity.
Well, yesterday, they struck me but good.
For the past few months I’ve been gleeful with pretty damn near everyone about The Gadlet’s pooping prowess. Inevitably in conversations, whether with people I see every day, folk I hadn’t seen for a while or even strangers I had just met, something in me felt strangely obliged to tell them within the first few moments of conversation that MY Daughter poops in a potty at 10.5 months. “Have I told you about the Gadlet and the Potty yet? No? How, you ask? WELL, let me tell you, that WE are so IN TUNE, she and I, and we are SOOOO in Sync that I can ALWAYS tell when she’s pooping, and so I ALWAYS rush her to the potty before it happens and, eh, voilá! Poop! In a Potty!! It’s so much tidier and neater — it’s brilliant. You HAVE to try it. Eh? No kids? Oh, well, when you get them, get them a potty RIGHT AWAY.”
Yes, pride cometh before a fall.
So yesterday, Spousal Unit went out to run some errands, leaving me making curry chicken salad with pecans and fresh cherries and the Gadlet having a nice lunch of blueberries, cheese, pasta, and zucchini. Well, I was kind of distracted, what with making curry sauce, chopping chicken, and cherries, so I was giving the Gadlet only about half of my attention. At one point, however, I heard a tell-tale little grunting sound. Aha! I thought. She’s firing off a warning turd. Excellent! “Good girl, Gadlet! Let’s go to the potty!”
We go upstairs. I get the potty out of the bathroom and put it on the floor of her bedroom next to the changing table, as per usual, and put the Gadlet on the changing table, chattering about the potty the whole time. Alas, when I take off her diaper, I find that that warning turd had actually been the whole shebang. And it was a pretty big bang. There was a TON of poop, and it’s pretty much everywhere. So much for being SO IN SYNC. Well, I swallowed my pride a little bit, and decided that I’d persist with the whole potty thing just to keep the rhythm of it for her. Plus, I was worried that maybe she wasn’t done pooping. So I left the diaper on the changing table, and plunked her on the potty.
At which point she proceeds to reach down and grab her little poopy bottom with her hands, getting the stuff all over her fingers.
“AAAK!” I shriek, “STOP! STOP STOPIT STOPIT!!” I grab a diaper wipe and wipe her hands. That got rid of the worst of it and she seems slightly cleaner, but I’m still feeling like her hands could be cleaner. Then I got a Brilliant Idea, that I confess was partially prompted by concern with cleanliness and partly prompted by the increasingly pungent smell wafting gently from the diaper on the changing table. It was so gross it was forcing me to rethink my indignation when the other day Spousal Unit had lovingly compared the smell of the Gadlet’s shit to a very busy Chicago Public Restroom. My Brilliant Idea was to very quickly run into the bathroom, drop the diaper into the toilet to soak (it’s cloth) and grab a wet washcloth to better clean off the Gadlet’s poopy fingers. I look down at her. She’s sitting contentedly on the potty “reading” the cute little book “More, More, More, Said the Baby.”
So I ran in the bathroom, plunked the diaper into the toilet, grabbed a wet washcloth, and returned to the bedroom.
Big Mistake. Huge. A Mistake of Epic Proportions.
In the 20-30 seconds it took me to do that, The Gadlet, newly mobile and reveling in her own mobility, had peed, liberated herself from the potty, kicked it over, spilled the pee, traveled a few feet, and plunked her poopy butt onto the WHITE CARPET. (Installed in the room long before it was a baby’s room.)
I think that thus far I have neglected to mention that the Gadlet’s meals the day before had mostly consisted of blueberries and, sigh, beets. I’m sure that those of you out there who aren’t parents have never closely examined any poop produced after the consumption of such intensely colored foods, and so let me tell you that the deep purple of blueberries and the deep burgundy of beets make a magical color wheel combination that the Pottery Barn might creatively call “Deep Cloak,” “Midnight Iron,” “Coal Mine,” or perhaps “La Brea Tar Pit.”
Before she could spread anymore Midnight Iron shit anywhere, I swooped her up, and ran her into the bathroom, stuck her in the bathtub, and turned on the water. I pulled the lever for the shower massage/hand spray thingey and grabbed it, and her, and started to hose off her butt. At which point she dove forward, trying to clock her head as hard as she could on the side of the cast-iron tub, so I dropped the shower sprayer and grabbed her before she connected head to tub. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. That shower thing started acting like a greased snake writhing away from intense danger, and sprayed water EVERYWHERE.
So there I was, sopping wet, holding a now wet and slippery, yet still poop-covered baby, with a diaper full of blue-black crap soaking in my toilet, and a perfectly ass-shaped indigo stain and a puddle of pee on the bedroom carpet.
But here’s the worst part.
I managed to get the Gadlet clean and in a new diaper and in bed with a basket full of toys so that she would be marginally entertained and isolated from the shitty floor while I dealt with this situation. I made a solution of OxyClean (that stuff ROCKS), and grabbed a pile of rags, and started to clean up the carpet. The Gadlet, clean, slightly damp, and cute as can be, pulled herself up to standing in her bed, craned her head over the edge of the rail, looked at me sweetly and said:
I’m a few sentences away from finishing the composition part of the article. I’ll be done with the revisions (and hence this draft of the article) by the end of the week. (She says confidently!)