There are some family stories that become legendary the moment they happen. They are the stories that are so completely unbelievable, that they simply have to be true. You know the kind – the ones that make people say “wow, you can’t make up stuff this good.”
It’s true – you really can’t.
Being a new parent is all kinds of wonderful wrapped up in one sweet-smelling little package. When our daughter was born, my husband and I were lucky enough to have some time off together to get to know our new daughter and figure out how to be parents.
All too soon, though, it was time to head back to work. During that first week, exhaustion reigned. About two days in, Kidzilla needed some late-night attention. After a fast game of Rock Paper Scissors, my husband took a turn at tending to her. “Go back to sleep,” he said. “You need the rest. We’ll be fine.”
He didn’t have to tell me twice. As I rolled over, in my half-asleep fog I heard him pad down the hall, pick her up, and whisper to her. I heard them settle into the rocking chair and get comfortable. All seemed well and perhaps I drifted back to sleep.
And then I heard it.
I jumped out of bed and flew down the hall to find my husband looking with horrified surprise at the child in his arms.
“She pooped on me! It’s everywhere!”
And indeed, there was a sizeable amount of slimy wet baby poop outside of Zilla’s diaper and on her Dad. I thought he might just cry.
Not everyone is so upset by a little baby poop on their person. It happens. But despite any previous knowledge, all baby cleanup skills escaped me in that moment. Overwhelmed with the weight of new motherhood, I did the only thing I could think to do.
I called my mother.
My mother answered the phone the way she always does when you call her in the middle of the night. “Who’s dead?”
“No one. But Zilla pooped and it’s all over David and I don’t know what to do…”
I heard her not-quite-stifle that laugh. I know she laughed at me.
Recovering, she said, “well, if I were you, I’d clean it up.”
“But I’m tired and I have to work in the morning and I’m tired and I just want to sleep. When does the mommy get to sleep?”
“Well,” she said. “Let me think. The last time I had a full night’s sleep was – how old are you? Thirty eight? Yes, that’s it. Thirty-eight years ago.”
I was not amused.
She wasn’t joking.
“You’re the mommy now, dear. Go clean up the poop. Go to bed. Go to work. You’ll be tired, but you’ll get over it. I’m going back to sleep now. Good night.”
And she was gone.
I hated her for a minute just then.
It was clear that my mother was not coming over to my house to clean up the poop. Someone was going to have to do it – either me or the man with no clue down the hall.
I went and took Zilla off his hands. He must have been in shock, he just sort of stood there looking stunned and asked, “What do I do?”
I suggested he shed his soiled garments and take a shower. My husband, however, decided to strip on the spot.
“In the bathroom! Where else?”
And off he went…down the hall, through our bedroom, and into our bathroom dripping little blops of baby-rrhea all the way instead of just going to the bathroom at this end of the hall.
While he was gone, I went about the business of cleaning up the child.
Not two minutes later, I hollered, “Nooooooooooo!”
My husband came running down the hall at top speed.
“What happened? Is everybody OK?”
And then he saw it.
There was baby poop everywhere. In the midst of the poop, the stunned husband covered in poop, and total exhaustion, I failed to remember one important detail. If a baby has just pooped herself silly, and potentially has a good case of diarrhea, it is highly likely that said baby will do it a second time.
Zilla had, of course, pooped at precisely the moment I grabbed her little feet and lifted her butt up off the changing pad. When a baby has a bowel movement of the baby-rrhea variety in this position, what you get is projectile poop. Forceful projectile poop. Poop that sprays out of the baby with such power that it bursts forth in an arc hitting every spot from said baby to the changing table, the lamp on the changing table, the wall next to the changing table, the floor, the rocking chair, the floor on the other side of the chair, and finally the closet door on the opposite wall of the room. The only thing in the room untouched by the arc of flying poop was the mommy, frozen in place watching it sail overhead.
We both stood in stunned silence, mouths wide open. It was our first week back to work. We were exhausted, Zilla was clearly not feeling well, it was 2:30 in the morning, and our daughter’s bedroom was covered in poop.
So we burst out laughing.
I can only think that we did so because if we hadn’t, we would have sat right down and cried. As we laughed, I looked over at my husband and discovered that the man was naked. Remember, he had gone down the hall to take a shower when Zilla let loose poop number two.
“Hon. You’re naked.”
He checked. He was indeed naked.
“Oh, OK.” And off he went, presumably to get dressed and find cleaning supplies.
By now, Zilla was clean and settled in her crib. My husband returned with sponges, brushes, Clorox wipes, and carpet cleaner. He brought an arsenal of poop-fighting weaponry.
“I didn’t know what we’d need so I brought it all,” he said.
Zilla drifted off to sleep in her crib while we got to work on the room. We wiped down the table and the lamp. We scrubbed the eggshell-colored walls. We wiped down the white closet doors and went after the light beige upholstery on the rocking chair. We worked for more than an hour and turned to the carpet – tan.
We were both still on our hands and knees at 4:00 AM scrubbing the daylights out of the carpet when I realized we were going to be just fine. My heart swelled with love. I looked over at my scrubbing husband, wanting to say something, only to discover that he was still completely naked.
“Oh my God! You’re still naked!”
He checked, found this to be true, and yelled “holy shit!”
And that was the part where we lost it completely.
Lisa is a wife, mother, and self-employed recovering high school English teacher. She works as a freelance writer, editor, and tutor. Lisa lives with her husband, her daughter, and three Rotten Cats. She spends her time stacking the pile of book to read ever higher, wondering if she should have been a chef and trying to figure out where she last left her damn cell phone.
Lisa writes about life and all its fascinations and banalities at her blog, the The Meaning of Me. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
The Meaning of Me – http://www.themeaningofme.com
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