It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Alice was home yesterday, having had a bout of diarrhoea the previous evening. No more explosions yesterday, though, so she’s back to me today, her usual beaming-with-glee-and-good-humour self. She plays, she naps, she eats just like normal. She has a messy diaper. Soft, but normal. She plays some more, eats some more, passes some gas, starts to fret. I scoop her up to remove her from the high chair, and am well into the motion, too committed to stop, when it hits me: acidic, foul miasma emanates from the child and envelopes us both. My right wrist, under her bottom, feels damp and slimy. Oh, damn, that wasn’t gas. Not even close. This is an occupational hazard; I’m not at all squeamish, but I don’t have to like it.

In less than two seconds she’s on her back, waiting to be changed. I use a baby wipe on my arm before starting on her. It’s everywhere: front, back, sides, legs… Her bright yellow shorts are lined with darker yellow slime; brown spots blossom between the pink and yellow flowers on her shirt. Way up past her belly button, down almost to her kness. The girl is thoroughly beshat.

She’s very compliant, laying still and smiling at me as I use up wipe after wipe on her little body. A bath is probably required, but other children are stirring from their naps, and there won’t be time. This will have to do.

Alice dealt with, I turn to myself, and scrub my hands thoroughly. Rinse off the lather. No, I can still smell it. Back I go again, another thorough scrub, this time right up to the elbows. I can still smell it. Next time, the “anti-bacterial” soap and the nail brush. No.

Why can’t I shake the stench? I’m staring at my hands in consternation, when I see it. Camouflaged by my black tank top’s swirly textured pattern, a wide, shimmering swathe of watery shit meanders all across my left breast. How fast can a woman strip off a shirt? Not fast enough, when she’s trying not to get toxic waste on her face in the process.

I admit my hypocrisy: there was no time for Alice to have a bath, but plenty for Mary to have a shower.

There are limits.

July 15, 2005 Posted by | Alice, eeewww | 17 Comments