Sunday, August 10, 2008
Way before our daughter was born, I was on a mission to have my first child potty trained by the time s/he was one. I mean, so many places around the world train their kids by six months. We Americans, on the other hand, wait until our children are out of college before we teach them shit from Shinola. I felt it was my patriotic duty.
Nothing reinforced this conviction more than those first, fecal diapers. Parents/caregivers, you know what I’m talking about. That grey/green/yellow/brown slop (all the colors of the rainbow!) that runs like a mighty river all over the damned place. And like napalm, it sticks to everything. There are days when you, the baby, the walls, your neighbors, innocent bystanders are just covered in shit. You’re scouring your hands with Brillo, hand-washing everything your baby’s ever touched, sterilizing entire communities, and cursing Luvs for the crap diapers they truly are. Like Sherman heading to Atlanta, I was fierce and determined and had a fire in my eyes that would’ve scared Al Sharpton’s hair curly. My girl would be potty-trained!
Now, some nine months later, I’ve relaxed a bit. Now that our girl’s eating solid foods, I just don’t feel the same urgency. I never realized how convenient a turd really is. Small, compact, easily flushable. Absolute genius! I will never look at shit the same way again.
Of course, it wasn’t that way at first. The transition was rough, and our poor, little baby spent those first few days constipated … and miserable. She would strain and strain, her face cherry-red, and would cry in frustration and pain. It was so hard to watch. We were powerless, and those pureed prunes didn’t seem to be working.
Then, on the third day, it was finally starting to happen. I was holding her, walking through the apartment. Her face started turning red, and she started trembling and grunting. I knew the look.
“Oh, crap,” I said. “Ha, ha. I’m funny.”
The grunts quickly gave way to ear-piercing screams. I set her on the changing pad. The poor girl started thrashing around frantically. Her face was so red and hot I contemplated setting up solar panels and powering the neighborhood. I ripped off the diaper and looked.
There it was. A little brown round turd. And it was stuck. And she was screaming. And I was a first-time father. I’d never dealt with this shit before. No, not funny this time.
“Oh, it’s OK, baby,” I soothed. “It’ll be all right.”
“Uh … push? … push? Naw, that was for your mother.”
The damned thing wasn’t moving, and my words weren’t going to push it along. It looked so damned painful. Finally, I grabbed up my baby’s little legs and pressed them against her belly. I thought the pressure would help. It didn’t. I had to do something.
And I did it. Something I’d never thought I’d do. Something I’d never once in my life contemplated. But what could I do? My baby was in pain. So, I did it. That’s right, I did it.
I pulled a Bobby Brown.
I grabbed a baby wipe and gently placed it over the turd. She screamed and squirmed. I ignored her and carefully, slowly pulled. It finally came out, and my girl instantly forgot the terror and torture—as only babies can do. I gave her a new diaper, snapped up her clothes, and disposed of the little, brown terrorist. I placed my giggling, babbling daughter in her crib, and headed to the bathroom to wash my hands.
Soaping up and listening to my little girl’s “goo goo gah gah,” I looked up at the mirror and smiled a little proudly, thinking, “Damn, I’m a father.”
PS. Yes, I will be saving this blog entry for when somebody thinks she’s grown enough to start dating. Some lucky, little boy is going to have some reading material on his way to the movies. :)