There are days that feel like a Three Stooges skit. Anything that can go wrong, does. This is the reality for people who are breathing, not just people trying to keep tiny humans alive. A couple of weeks ago Moose and I had one of those nights. It began with the best intentions. Moose had been sick. I wasn’t aware yet that the cause of his fevers, tummy troubles, and general crummy disposition was due to an ear infection. At the time, I presumed that the above symptoms were due to teething. Moose began cutting teeth late- a month after his first birthday- but he is making up for lost time. He now cuts two at a time, sometimes more. He is a strong little monster so I don’t often get to rummage around in his mouth to access the tooth to gum ratio. But I digress, the pertinent info here is that Moose had had some pretty epic tummy troubles for about a week, which meant the dreaded battle was at hand- diaper rash. Now diaper rash in itself is a bear, but when you couple that with a very strong, very large toddler that has a firm distaste for diaper changes, it makes diaper rash second to battling a grizzly bear in hand to hand combat. You will potentially lose an eye.
So to the internet I went! I am a researcher. I like facts, information, plans for action. So I looked into how I could help my little man and his red bum. I got all the normal things that I already knew, change his diaper frequently (super fun! see aforementioned grizzly conflict), use diaper cream (for the record, the most effective in my crusade has been Butt Paste), yadda yadda yadda. But I got a a new suggestion- give them as much diaper free time as possible. That made sense. His skin needed time to breathe. His bum needed fresh air, so to speak. So on this fateful night, as I got halfway through the diaper hostility, I decided to stop there. Let his cheeks feel the fresh air before moving to putting on jammies and getting ready for bed.
Moose had a blast. I don’t know if it was because he was sans diaper or just because he has an insatiable zest for life and running with toys in his hands. But there were giggles from him (and me) as the pitter patter of his bare feet filled the house. But as we played, he began to bend down, at which point I noticed something stuck between his cheeks. Knowing the endeavor that is a diaper change, I figured it was a little left over from an earlier diaper full-up. So as he bent down, I turned and reached for a baby wipe, thinking I would be smooth and wipe him up as he was distracted. I was wrong. In the 2.5 seconds it took me to turn, grab said wipe, and turn back, Moose had relieved himself on the floor of his room. Turns out he wasn’t bending over, he was squatting. I exclaimed something (I cannot remember what it was, some sort of reflex at seeing urine and feces on the floor) and reached to pick Moose up. I was not fast enough. I don’t ever seem to be quite fast enough. . . Moose turned to look at me and stepped right in the poo. Right in the poo. Hey, at least it was solid! I continued my forward momentum and scooped up my adorable bundle to ensure that his poo covered foot did not contaminate the area further. I carried him in the graceful armpit grab with my arms outstretched and plopped him into his inflatable ducky tub. This was in order to safely contain the defecation courier while I tackled the floor cleanup. As Moose protested being left out of the fun from the bathtub (empty of course) I went to work with my Clorox wipes. At this point, I have several thoughts.
Thank God for Hardwood floors; thank God for Clorox Wipes; and between my elderly, sightless canine and my offspring, I should buy stock in these things.
With cleanup and sanitation completed, I returned to my irritated Moose to get him cleaned up. I quickly assessed that the containment idea was successful, but the containment device would not function as a cleaning device as well. It is tough to clean a poo covered kid in a poo covered ducky tub. So, I swooped up the kiddo in one arm, tossed the duck tub out of the real tub with the other, and began drawing the bath. The frustration escaped Moose at the instant he realized that water was quickly filling the tub. Bath time is the best time!
Upon the conclusion of the bath, I realized that Moose and I had differing ideas of what an acceptable length of bath time was. So ensued another battle of wills. Luckily- at least for a few more months, at the rate he is growing- I am bigger than him. In the process of executing my dominance over my tiny human and extracting him from the tub, my shower curtain rod gave up the ghost. It seems it had had a long day too and it could no longer hold it’s own weight. I heard the release before my brain had any time to process what was happening. The next thing I know, I am deflecting the rod from the vicinity of my child with my back. It probably didn’t look like an American Gladiators move, but it sure as hell felt like one. And yet another laugh escaped me as I put Moose down to wrap him in a towel.
Moose’s feet hit the tile floor and his anger at a bath time cut short could now be directed into a run away from me. His feet moved faster than my arms could wrap a towel around him. I guess his derriere was going to get a little more fresh air. Unfortunately, his ever expanding understanding of the world and physics could not anticipate his next fateful miscalculation. Wet feet and the transition from tile floor to hardwood. As soon as those little tootsies came in contact with the hardwood, all traction was lost. He looked like a cartoon that had slipped on a banana peel. The tears began. I rushed to him, wrapped him up in the towel that was still in my hands, and consoled my stubborn boy. Now I must say, I hate that he fell, but the snuggles were oh so sweet. The remainder of the night consisted of a new diaper, pajamas, some more cuddles, and finally bed. Luckily no more episodes (aside from looking down at my skirt and seeing poo smeared across the front. It was promptly put into the washing machine.)
Once Moose was nestled in his bed and I was tackling the bathroom cleanup, I reflected on the nights events. I realized that from the fateful poo step to the final hallway spill curtain call, I embraced the humor of the series of events that culminated to quite a shit show- literally. I am glad that that was my instinct. Because it could have gone other ways. I could have gotten angry, defeated, or any other manner of negative reactions. But I chose to laugh. I chose to enjoy the insane trail that one decision took our evening down.
The lessons of the last year and a half with my whirlwind little Moose have taken hold. I am learning to really live in the moment. To find the joy in the most unsuspecting places. I am not perfect at it. I get frustrated. I am sleep deprived, my house is a constant mess, and I cannot seem to keep my glasses clean. But that night, I will always remember with a giggle. I don’t have this parenting thing on lock, but I sure hope that I keep the laughter with me always. I hope that as life continues to throw Moose and I into odd, gross, or unprecedented experiences, I will continue to embrace the laughter of the journey. Because how I respond to these situations will teach Moose how to respond. It will lay his foundation of emotional health. And lets be honest, laughter is always more fun- and FAR better for the stories afterward.