The evening started off peacefully. I ran a warm bath for the little guy, just like I do every night. It cleans the caked on applesauce and gets him calmed down for bedtime. This is an enjoyable ritual, and Mikey plays, splashes, and sings with great aplomb.
It is a fact that an undiapered baby poses risk to life and property. Even a novice caretaker knows to be aware of his surroundings and of the status and bearing of all baby orifices. It’s all fun and games until someone gets a surprise stream to the eye.
On this night, I let my guard down. I had no reason to believe that calamity would strike. After months of nightly baths, our routine is a finely tuned machine.
It might have been the warm and relaxing water that set events in motion. Perhaps the fiber-rich dinner of grapes, edamame, and cheerios helped things along. Either way, I was about to be subjected to another great parenting indignity.
I looked down at my book for a couple of moments (a riveting account of the D-Day invasion by Stephen Ambrose). When I looked back up at Michael, something was amiss.
My inner dialogue unfolded thusly: “What is that in his hand? Wait, there’s something in the water. No. It can’t be. Why! Oh the humanity! Oh the humanity! NooOOooOOoo!” This was not a drill. This was no Baby Ruth in the swimming pool. This was a Barf-Con 5 tactical emergency.
Recovery efforts began immediately to contain the toxic spill. Mikey got to take a big boy shower, and I had to clean up the ecological disaster in the bath tub. I don’t remember reading about this in any “What to Expect” guide book, and it certainly never came up at any baby shower.
This was the real stuff of parenting: confronting a shocking and disgusting situation while keeping the little one happy, safe, and clean. I won’t lie. There was some serious gagging going on, and I felt like giving up and just boarding over the bathtub forever. I pushed through and accomplished the mission. I’m no hero. I was just doing my job.
Mikey emerged from his shower clean and a little confused. Despite all the excitement and revulsion I experienced, this was just another day at the office for him. He was sound asleep in his crib within 15 minutes.