Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just when you thought it was safe

Long ago, I shared a riveting tale of fear, horror, and disgust. It was a tale about a diaper blow-out, told from the perspective of a new parent. Years later, I have grown jaded. Many diapers I have changed. I’ve waded through pools of vomit, wiped a swamp’s worth of runny noses, and smelled odors that would wilt a rose garden. Just when I start to get complacent and think, “Is that all you’ve got?”, the baby comes something new and diabolical.

One night after dinner…

The baby stands at the edge of the bathtub, transfixed by the rushing water from the faucet and the growing piles of bubbles. A small smile crosses his face; a face crusted with banana slime and cheerio crumbs. With one sticky little hand, he reaches into the flowing water causing a wild spraying. He ignores the admonishing tone from “dee dee” and giggles. It’s bath time.

He is plunked down into the warm water, and the tension of the stressful day melts away. All that worry over lost pacifiers and over toys snatched away by big brother dissipates into the sudsy water. Even the aches and pains from stumbles onto the tile floor and from head bonks on the coffee table begin to recede. This is good. And that crinkly, scratchy, and suffocating diaper is off. Sweet, sweet freedom.
The calm before "the incident"

Amid the splashing, babbling, and cup pouring, there is an ominous twinge in his belly. He pays it no mind and continues pouring water onto his big brother. Forces within him begin an inexorable chain of events. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

The bathtub grows eerily silent for a moment as the baby grows still, too still. Big brother and dad notice nothing amiss. Then there is…something…beneath the surface of the water. What is that? Big brother peers intently into the murky water to get a better look.  A sudden scream rings out, “Owen pooped!”

The father gapes at the scene for a moment, transfixed. The circuit breakers in his head have tripped. “Oh, jeeze. Oh no. Oh no. Owen. Why? Why? You just had a diaper on? No. Don’t touch it. No. Urgk. Let’s go. Everyone into the shower.”

Owen and big brother head into the shower for the decontamination protocol. Dad steels himself and begins the recovery and restoration effort on the besmirched bathtub. Accompanied by the sound of laughing children (they are resilient) echoing out of the shower, he methodically attacks the mess. It’s just another day with children, and he’s seen things, man.

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