Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Big One

Every parent experiences it; there is no escape.  It is as inevitable and unavoidable as Armaggedon and Ragnarök.  It arrives unannounced and unexpected; there is nothing you can do to prepare for it.

It is...

The Big One. 


Perfect.  If you're still here then I'm hoping you're with me for the long haul here; I wouldn't want you ducking out when things start to get hairy...and by hairy...I mean wet.  Very...very...wet.  And thick. 

It was only a few hours ago that my day went from "ordinary and routine" to "life-altering and emotionally/mentally scarring."  I had just changed Timmy's diaper and set about getting him situated in his highchair.  He's been eating from the spoon for a month or two now and recently we began introducing solid foods into his meal regiment with more regularity.  He has been doing well eating both cereal (Rice, Oatmeal, and Barley) and the carrots that we've begun to give him.  A bi-product of this change in his diet, though, has been a mild disruption of his regularity.  Whereas he would go once a day while consuming only formula, now it might be an extra day or two before he has a poo diaper.


I flip on Sportscenter and prep his bowl of cereal.  Little bit of cereal flakes...little bit of formula.  Little more of each to achieve the desired consistency...and we're golden.  I sit down in my chair and face him in his highchair.  He's energetic this morning and keeps his hands above the tray-table when I attach it.  I place his hands beneath it.  He lifts them back up.  I replace them again.  He smiles and puts them back on top.  Realizing that he thinks this is a game, I tell him that it is time to eat and he needs to keep his hands underneath the table so that I can feed him.  I remove the tray, put his hands on his lap, and replace the tray; his hands stay put.

I start spooning the cereal/formula mixture into his open mouth.  He eats it and opens his mouth for some more.  And so it goes until the bowl is finished.  I didn't put much in because during a recent feeding I had to throw out almost a full bowl of cereal when he refused to eat it and wanted formula instead.  He's sitting placidly enough, wondering why the source of his Y-chromosome is walking away when he is still hungry.  I make another bowl of cereal with a slightly larger amount in there.  I sit down and continue to feed him.

If this were Armaggedon, this would be the point that the skies would grow dark.

After a few more spoonfuls of cereal, Timmy's face suddenly turns a deep purple color.  It made me think of Willy Wonka given how vivid the color was and how pervasive the hue proved to be (his entire head turned purple).  Then, like a swifly passing thundercloud, the color disappeared and he returned to normal.  I realized that he was pushing and I felt bad for him knowing that he's been backed up a little.  I think nothing of it and continue shoveling cereal into his mouth.  A few minutes later, when we're almost done, he turns purple again.  Though I understand his biological need to evacuate his bowels, I am also aware of Newtonian physics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I tell Timmy, "Be careful buddy--you're pushing one way but you might wind up having stuff come out the other way."  I was afraid that he was going to throw up because he was pushing too hard.  His color returned to normal, I finished feeding him, and he seemed happy.  He looked adorable with cereal caked onto his face and his big toothless grin facing my own smiling visage.

I grab a napkin and wipe off as much cereal as I can (he has it on his cheeks, on his chin, under his chin on his neck).  I fetch a second napkin and get the rest of it.  I take his bib off and inspect his neck roll.  It is clean and I am both surprised and happy.  I remove the tray table and see a blob of cereal on his pudgy thigh.  I am confused first as to how the cereal could have fallen beneath the tray table and second as to how it could be this color when the barley I had fed him was a dark beige.  That's when I realized that it wasn't cereal.

It was poop.

On his leg.

And then I saw it.

The Fecal Ragnarök had arrived.

Now I know that I have referenced fecal apocalypses before on this blog...but nothing...I mean absolutely nothing compares to what happened next; this was truly the diaper-experience equivalent of the end of days.

I look at the top of Timmy's diaper and I see that there is greenish-brown poop lapping at the top of the diaper; it had created a thick, viscous sea between his diaper and his belly.  I had secured the diaper tightly and created a sturdy seal.  He had produced so much mass, which, when pressing against my diaper sealage, then created so much pressure, that the poo had no place to go; it was as if a fecal grenade exploded inside of a bomb-proof container.

I go to get a wipe and that's when I see that there is poop on the highchair strap.  My gag reflex waters up and I realize that I must get the boy out of the highchair.  I manage to remove him (holding my breath, not because of the stench but out of the fear that the highchair seat cushion would be covered in this sludge) and find that the seat is clear; only the straps have brown liquid on them.  I place Timmy on his back on the changing pad and grab a few baby wipes.  I scrub them against the straps and manage to get them somewhat clean.  I'm standing there wondering how I'm going to clean it when I look over at Timmy and realize that the battle has begun.

I almost dropped the wipes in horror.  Seriously.  It was like a movie moment.  I think that my mouth and eyes opened wide in terror as I screamed out, "TIMMY!"  Whereas the boy had had a dollop of poo on his thigh initially, he had it all over his belly and chest now; it was like something out of a short film starring more than one but fewer than three actresses and featuring a glass or plastic receptacle used for the purpose of storing liquid for future consumption. 

I took in the totality of the scene all at once, as if I were somehow seeing into both the past and the future while experiencing the present simultaneously.  In a moment of nearly divine forethought, I found that before I could even wonder how the poo had traveled north the way that it had, I saw his hands and understood, having deciphered the answer before the question could be asked: he had reached down into his diaper and had raked the poop up his belly and chest.  But remember, fair reader, that we are not talking about "Fecal World War II" or "The Fecal Crusades" (what an entry that second one would be!)...we are talking about the Fecal Apocalypse.

Timmy had scooped out the poop from his diaper and had smeared it inside of his belly-button, all over his stomach, and his chest.  But he scooped it out with his hands and THEY WERE STILL COVERED IN POOP.

You're going to have to keep up with me here because there's no going back and no slowing down at this point.  Deep breath.  Here we go.

I see that his hands are covered in his own excreta as he brings them up to his mouth and shoves them inside; he is eating his own shit.  He is covered in his own shit as he is eating it.  This was when I screamed "TIMMY!" as noted above and then added a resounding "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"  Fighting the visceral urge to release the contents of my stomach all over everything, I used an unconscious "parent power" to ignore the impulse and to reach out and grab Timmy's hands.  That was when I saw that, aside from having poop smeared all over his lips like scat-flavored lip gloss (seriously...it combined with his drool to create a sheen of shiny shit) he also had it in his EYE.  It was caked onto his eyebrow and splattered across his face like daubs of make-up that has yet to be rubbed in.

I reached for wipes and I realized that it was pointless; I'd go through an entire package just trying to clean his face and hands.  I knew that I had to take drastic action and I decided to take him into the bathroom.  I opened the flaps on the diaper and nearly lost it; there had to have been at least two pounds of poop.  It looked like four packets of Maple Brown Sugar Quaker Oatmeal that had been steeped in green tea.  I couldn't (and still can't) comprehend how it could be so thick and yet so fluid at the same time.

I tossed the diaper back on to the changing pad and grabbed Timmy, holding him at arm's length and trying not to look at what was still far too close to my face.  I got into the bathroom and realized that I had no idea of what I was doing.  I didn't want to put him into his tub because that would require putting him down, which I simply could not do at that point.  I let my instinct take over and, using my elbow, I pulled back the shower curtain and placed him on his back in the tub.  I grabbed the pot that we use to hold warm water when we give him a bath and began filling it up as quickly as I could.  I tested the water and determined that it was a good temperature and then I turned towards Timmy, who was now crying in protest (I can't imagine that the cold tub floor felt good against his bare tushie) and I splashed some water onto him, clearing off some of the poop.

That's right.  Some.

I saw immediately that a fair portion of it had suctioned itself to his skin, not unlike a poo-barnacle.  I did manage to clean off a decent amount...but then the horror of what I had just down sank in.  You see, I splashed the water at him.  From left to right.  Had I had a moment to think, I would have calmly started at his head and splashed towards the drain.  Unfortunately, I didn't.  I was operating on the most primal of wavelengths: Splash boy, remove poo.  As the water splashed over and then past him (getting him in the face, which produced a new chorus of screaming), I watched with horror as it hit the back of the tub and, much like the tides pulled by the gravity of the moon, ebbed and then flowed, coursing back over and around the boy, leaving clumps of poo in his hair on the back of his head and on his shoulders.

He's screaming.  I'm trying not to gag.  And he's still covered in poo.

I turn the water on and realize that it's too hot and then blast on the cold water.  It splashes out of the pot and touches his feet and little shriveled, frightened junk.  He screams in disapproval.  Now the water is too cold in the pot.  I dump some of it out.  Unfortunately, there is poop blocking the drain.  The water runs back up and catches Timmy's lower quarter again.  He is not happy.  I add hot water.  Same thing happens.  He screams and I fear that I have burned him.  I have not.  He is supremely pissed off at this point.  I finally get the temperature right and splash him again, not concerning myself with the tidal flow issue; I remove less poo and think, for the first time, that I cannot believe that this is happening.

After an additional two or three uses of the pot, I manage to get him mostly clean.  I grab some wipes and clean off the rest of the persnickety turdlets that have remained.  I give him the once-over and he seems good.  I take him out of the tub and place him back on the changing pad in the dining room.  This is when I see the poo that is splattered all over the white pad.  I manage to clean it off and then place Timmy down to dry him off.  It is then that I spot the Splinter Cell-like shit that has eluded my cleaning efforts.  It is stuck on tbe hollow of Timmy's knee--his knee pit, if you will.  Thinking that I had already had him clean and realizing that I was mistaken, I decide to give him a more thorough inspection.  It is then that I find poop behind his ear.

Behind.  His.  EAR!

Come on, MAN!

I wipe it off and began looking him over with growing paranoia.  I look at his mouth (clean) and his nose (clean) and then finally his eye.  I see the typical hard, green eye gunk that he wakes up with caked on his lower lid beneath his eye lashes.  I then see an atypical, not-so-hard green eye gunk on his upper lid and eye lashes.  Yup.  It's poop.

After rubbing him down with wipes in a thorough fashion that would have made the clean-up crew at Chernobyl proud, I finally declare the boy clean.  I wipe my brow in relief...but I still smell poop.  I think that it is the diaper that I had not had the chance to throw away...and that was when I saw the turd on my wrist.  I am a hairy man.  Having poop stuck to your hairy wrist...is disconcerting at best.

I get myself cleaned off and I realize that poor Timmy is lying atop the changing pad completely naked.  I quickly get a diaper and then an outfit on him.  I round up the three hundred or so wipes that I used to clean everything up and place them, and the diaper, into the open diaper pail.  It is then that I realize that I feel like I have an apple wedged in my throat.  The smell wafting up from the pail hits me and I realize that the apple is in fact my gorge fighting back with Herculean strength the vomit-demons of my internal underworld.  I have not had breakfast yet and I am grateful for this; it is probably the only thing keeping me from actually throwing up.

I look over at Timmy on the changing pad.  He curls his legs up, grabs his feet, and sets about rolling playfully back and forth. I give him his binky and he is content. You might even say he is happier than a pig in...

you know what?