I’m a part time Spanish teacher and today was my first day back at school. It was with mixed feelings that I kissed my husband and daughter goodbye this morning because, though I absolutely love teaching Spanish to my wonderful students for four hours every morning, my heart stays at home with my daughter and I dream of one day being a full-time stay at home mom. For now, though, it’s nice that my husband and I get to split the stay at home duties.
Today, I found out, it was really nice that he was the stay at home parent. Why? Oh, I’m getting to that…
Since today was an in service day, I came home from work a little later than I normally would. I hadn’t checked my texts in over an hour so when I walked into my front door to see an empty living room, I just assumed my husband was rocking our little girl to sleep or playing blocks with her back in her room.
“Hello?” I hear distantly from the direction of the bathroom.
“Hey, Honey! I’m home!” I say as I rush in the direction of his voice to lay my eyes on him and my daughter. As I walked down the hall towards the sound of his voice—which was, indeed, coming from the bathroom—I was puzzled to see a large, crumpled pile of her crib sheets in the middle of the hallway and when I turned the corner into the bathroom, I saw my very frazzled husband sigh a huge sigh of relief as I walked in. Then, I looked and saw our daughter splashing happily amidst foam letters and animals in the bathtub.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Didn’t you get my text?” he asked with slight frustration.
“No, I’m sorry. I forgot to check.”
“This is her second bath,” Dave said as he stood there looking exasperated.
“Is she sick? Was it diarrhea? Did she throw up?”
“Oh, Becca. Poop. Poop everywhere,” He shook his head. I half expected him to continue with, “Oh, the humanity,” but he didn’t. “I put her in a Velcro diaper and then put her down for her nap…” he said, and I filled in the rest.
“She opened it, didn’t she.”
“Uh, huh,” he said with wide eyes and an exaggerated nod. “Becca, there was poop everywhere. She had a poop beard!” At this point, our toddler decided she was thrilled to see me and dove headfirst out of the tub as we both reached down with our nifty parent reflexes and saved her from a certain boo boo. I plopped her back in the tub and she began to cry as if I’d taken her best friend. Of course, she was crying, she hadn’t seen me all day and she is such a Mommy’s girl. I grabbed her soaking wet and she hugged me in a vice grip. Dave gave me a towel. “Let’s go take care of her in the bedroom and I’ll tell you all about it.
As we walked by the crumpled pile of pink bed linens, I noticed globs of poop slowly drying in strategic spots on the fitted sheet and the crib bumper, and shook my head. Then, we entered the nursery and I saw that the crib had been completely stripped and cleaned—well, almost. There were still globs of it in certain crevices because my poor husband had to clean the baby and her mess almost simultaneously.
I nursed her and he started from the beginning as he bent over her bed to clean more crib bars.
“When I got here after going to the office for a bit this morning, I put her down for her second nap and then talked to the babysitter for awhile. At first, the baby cried like she normally does when we put her down, but soon she was quiet, so I assumed she had fallen to sleep. She was quiet for a long time and then I heard, ‘Oh! Ooooh!’ from her bedroom and I was disappointed that she wasn’t asleep but content that she was amusing herself happily. The babysitter and I talked for a few minutes more and then she went on her way and I decided I should go try to get the baby to go back to sleep.
“When I walked in her room, I was shocked to see poop everywhere. Her diaper was discarded and thrown out of her crib and was sitting on the carpet in her room with globs of poop on the floor beside it, she had painted all the crib bars towards the front of the crib brown, the mattress was covered in brown, the crib bumpers were covered in brown, and she was also covered in the brown mess as well.”
“Oh honey! You should have taken a picture!” I choked, sorry to have missed the sight.
“I don’t want people to think we’re child abusers,” he countered as he shook his head and put some more elbow grease into a particularly stubborn poop stain on the painted wooden crib.
I must interject here to say that as my poor husband told his sorry tale, I laughed so hard through the entire thing that my stomach hurt. I wonder how hard I would have been laughing had it been me who’d gotten into the mess. I was silently thankful that our babysitter, who is close to nine months pregnant, did not have to deal with it.
He continued, “I was surprised that there was no poop in her hair, but it was everywhere else—including her poopy mustache and beard.” He shuddered.
“What did you do next? I mean, I wouldn’t have known where to start. It’s not like you can just stick her in the bath and clean up while she bathes,” I asked seriously amidst not so serious laughter.
“Well, I figured I should get to the baby first. So I grabbed two of the cloth wipes—one for each hand—and picked her up with the cloth wipes so I wouldn’t get poop on my hands and clothes and I plopped her in the tub and cleaned off the visible mess with water. I didn’t even get to using soap. Then, I put her in a snapping diaper and let her play with her toys while I stripped the bed, started cleaning off the poopy diaper with the sprayer, and cleaned the majority of the poop off the crib bars. I was giving her a more proper bath when you came home and found us.”
My laughing finally ceased at this point as I looked around and found all the ways I could help my husband in finishing up the mess. As soon as she finished nursing, we let our little girl continue to play innocently in the bedroom with her daddy as he worked on the crib bars some more, and I ran the poopy bedding down stairs and sprayed each and every gob of poop with stain treater before throwing it into the wash. Then, I finished spraying off the poopy diaper that had started this whole mess, straightened up the bathtub and put away her bath toys, got my husband more fresh washcloths, and finally sat down to watch our curious daughter so he could use both eyes for cleaning rather than keeping one eye on her.
Of course, there is a lesson in all this. We will never, I repeat, never put her down to a nap with only a Velcro diaper on. She will either be wearing clothing over the Velcro, or we’ll only use snaps for naps which is the best choice. Honestly, we told ourselves this “rule” before, but after a terrible baptism by fire, I don’t think we’ll ever be lazy about it again.