When my kids were little, I was told to enjoy it while it lasts, it goes so fast, one day you’ll miss this, and other unsolicited advice that invariably made me want to carry around a squirt bottle to spray armchair experts with water anytime they started in with their tired platitudes.
A number of years ago, when I was still married, my kids were young and crazy and curious, I used to stay home during the day, and once their dad was home from work, I’d have ten minutes to get to my job, where I worked nights. Working diligently to put away laundry, make sure things are ready for the parenting shift change at home, simultaneously getting ready for my work shift at work. Trying to succeed as mother, wife, and job haver. During one such harried day, my daughter finds me with some news. Only half committed to the dissemination of this news, she casually begins her report by doing the itsy-bitsy spider hand choreography, while rambling about her brother in the bathroom. I was sort of listening, but lost interest until I heard the words, “him has poop on the floor.” I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at her. She was still doing the itsy bitsy spider. After more questions that accomplished detailed intel such as “yup” and “there’s poop”, I fled downstairs to find my son on the toilet with his legs dangling off the toilet and a look of laissez-faire on his face.
Pants and underwear were covered in poop, but when he said, “I stepped in it,” I knew no one was safe. I entered the bathroom with trepidation, but when it happens, there’s no turning back. I sucked through my teeth as I felt the squish under my foot. He giggled, but then commiserated, “Oh, that’s ok, that happened to me too.” I quickly began to clean off my foot, the floor, and when I got to his feet, I realized that the poop was not only on the bottom of both feet, it was wedged in between each of his toes. Each crevice, fissure, groove, nook, and cranny. I tried not to think about what he was doing when he stepped in the poop. Was he walking around in it like many of us who enjoy new carpet, letting each soft fiber bless our toes? As I was doing damage control on the removal of nook and cranny poop, my daughter stood outside the bathroom, itsy bitsy spider be damned, now fully entranced in the literal shit show happening. Once my son announced he was ok to be done, I took a deep breath and lifted him off the toilet. Certainly there was a body under this…whipped chocolate frosting of poo just coating his back, butt, and backs of his thighs. His sister started laughing hysterically. As I was trying to do more damage control, my son yelled at his sister, “You’d better not tell anyone about this!” I mollified him, “She won’t, it’s ok. We all have accidents.” However, I made a conscientious effort to remember this so I could maybe tell this story.
A story about crap. Maybe my son, demented as his method was, needed to fully emerge his feet in his poop. I don’t know why. Maybe we can accept the shit of life we deal with if we just walk around in it, getting to know it? Or we could just avoid creating any shit to begin with. The latter is fairly impossible though, so if you find yourself in shit, just do the work, get it out of all the nooks and crannies, and understand that everyone has accidents.
One response to “nooks and crannies”
Oh man. You handled that way better than I would have. Great piece on the darker side of motherhood. It’s not all rainbows and roses. Sometimes it’s poop and more poop,
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