(Be sure to read "A Really Crappy Day: Parts I and II" first)
When I heard a stool being dragged across the bathroom floor and the faucet being turned on, I assumed that, after sufficiently studying the poop in the toilet, Ella had decided to wash her hands. Because my back was to the bathroom, though, I didn't know she was in there washing more than just her hands. After the water had been running for what I deemed to be a reasonable amount of time for a kid to tidy up, I yelled in there to see what she was doing. "I's just washing my hands, Mommy. Stay in family room," was the reply. I have long ago learned that when Ella tells me to stay somewhere, it's a signal that something I should be looking at is going down somewhere else. Addison still hadn't recovered from the trauma of being left in her own fecal matter for so long, so I was hesitant to move while feeding her, lest she begin hyperventilating again. When the water was still running a few minutes later and my eldest was eerily silent, I knew I had better check it out. I shifted just enough on the couch so I could see into the bathroom if I strained my neck, and I caught a glimpse of a small child, naked from the waist down, with her sleeves pushed up and an impressive amount of lather all over her arms.
"Ella!" I yelled.
"Give Addison her bottle, Mommy," was the reply.
"What are you doing in there?"
"I's washing my hands. Turn around Mommy," she said emphatically, which was my cue to get in there ASAP.
The bathroom door was open just enough for me to see two different kinds of soap and a bottle of hand sanitizer, as well as a good deal of water, were spread all over the child as well as the bathroom. "Give Addison her bottle, Mommy," Ella again instructed as she went back to working on her cleanliness concoction. When I tried to further open the door to put a stop to the cleansing that was actually filthing up both my bathroom and child, I was met with resistance. Again, I tried to push open the door, but again it wouldn't budge. "Go in family room, Mommy," she directed as she cosed the door in my face. I was still holding Addison with one hand and giving her a bottle with the other, so my options were limited here. I didn't want to break Addison off mid-suck and risk ruining the still fragile calm that has temporarily come over her, so I was going to have to pull off the old bottle balancing switch-a-roo. I delicately removed my right hand from the bottle and immediately replaced it with my chin so as to keep the bottle balanced in her mouth. Working in tandem with my foot, which was poised and ready to nudge the door open, my now free hand shot out and turned the door knob and then was back on the bottle before Addison knew what had happened.
Now that the door was cracked again, I could see the obstacle to my entry. Ella had positioned the stool so that it was close enough to block my entry while still allowing her access to the sink and its tempting products of cleanliness. I was unsure how I was going to overcome this obstacle. Usually I would just go for broke and shove my body through whatever space was available, but doing so in this instance would crush my baby and I'd kind of grown accustomed to having her around. My options were few. The stool was heavy (one of those big, wooden two step deals) and it was topped with an extra 26 lbs, so I wouldn't be able to push it with my foot far enough to allow access for both myself and Addison. Even if I could move the stool from the outside, I realized Ella would likely lose her balance and topple off... which gave me a great idea--If I couldn't coax the stool out from under her, I would try to coax Ella from the stool. Unlike her mother, though, the child has some sense of balance and couldn't be removed from her perch with gentle nudging. Actually knocking her off the stool would send her toppling into the toilet, which she probably wouldn't mind as it would put her face to face with her recent "accomplishment," but that would just be one more mess for me to clean up. I admitted defeat, returned to the couch, and tried to focus on allowing Addison to finish the world's longest feeding without being disturbed.
Eventually the water ceased running and a very wet, albeit clean, child emerged from the bathroom. "Look, Mommy! I washed my hands all by self!" she said proudly as she held out her hands. "And Ella's face!" And indeed, she had. Her arms were soaked from her wrists to her shoulders (her pants were okay, as she didn't have any on), and her cheeks glistened under layers of Softsoap, foaming hand soap and hand sanitizer. "Good job, buddy," was all I could say.
Addison had finally polished off her bottle and was in a milk coma, so I laid her down on the floor and suggested to Ella that we go rinse off her face. I picked her up and carried her into the bathroom. There were damp towels and puddles of water everywhere. At least she had tried to clean up after herself.
I rinsed her off, set her free, and told myself I'd deal with the bathroom later. Or perhaps not at all.
Powered by her sense of accomplishment, Ella zipped around the family room a couple of times before coming over to sit on my lap. I was trying to burp an again fussy, now gassy, Addison. There were too many people on my lap at once, and Ella was smothering her sister with her love, so I sent her to get some books so she could sit beside me and read. Not satiated by my rousing rendition of "The Night Before Christmas," which she insisted I read on this fine March day, Ella went back to the bookshelf for more. When she got up I noticed something on the couch. At first I thought it was mud. After all, we had been at the park. But no, it was in streaks, not clumps or patches like it would be if it came off of a shoe. I put Addison down and leaned in for a closer look. It was poop.
It was my fault, really. Not because I, myself, had pooped on my couch, but because I told a distracted 2 yr old to wipe and assumed she had. And now I had to pay for my foolishness. I looked down at my jeans and yes, sure enough, I could tell where Ella had positioned her rear end to read minutes ago. When we bought the couch a year ago, we had the forethought to go with microfiber and shell out the extra money to have it treated with some sort of extra stain resisting concoction. The brochure told us that, among other things, red wine, peanut butter, and yes, even fecal matter (I guess this isn't as rare of a problem as one would think) would come right out. Thank God for small favors.
Because I was distracted by one daughter's the poop on the couch, I had forgotten about the other daughter's poop on the floor. Remember the diaper I peeled off Addison a few minutes/hours/lifetimes ago? I hadn't, but now it had been discovered by someone else.
"Look, Mommy, it's Addison's poop!" Ella declared. "Please I smell it?"
"No, don't smell it. Get over here so I can put your diaper on you and you can go take your nap."
At the mention of the word nap, she took off and started doing laps around the downstairs again. It wasn't until the second lap that she stuck her foot in Addison's poopy diaper. And it wasn't until she had made a feces trail about five feet long that I stopped her.
A half an hour later both kids were down for their naps and I had on an outfit that was free of bodily fluids. I sat down on the couch and popped open a well deserved mid afternoon beer. It was five o'clock somewhere, and I was ready to put the day behind me. A few sips later I realized I had to pee. When I got to the toilet, there it was--Ella's friend, the poop, winking at me as if to say, "You may be able to flush me away, but you'll be cleaning up a lot more of us in the years to come."
Read the follow up story, "Personal Port-O-Potty".
Monday, March 26, 2007
(Be sure to read "A Really Crappy Day: Parts I and II" first)