We have the ick. Rory went home early yesterday, complaining of a sore tummy. A sore tummy which eventually, and energetically, emptied itself. Repeatedly. All night long. Poor Rory. (Poor Rory’s poor parents…)
Today was Poppy’s turn.
No vomitting for Poppy, though. No, in Poppy the bug manifest itself a little lower down the digestive tract. Now, bear in mind that I have years and years of dealing with poopy diapers. If you start with my own children, I have over a quarter-century of dealing with shit. (And as I type that I wonder: should I be proud of my staying power, or just depressed?) In 25+ years, I’ve seen some doozies.
But today? A record. Today Poppy produced the vilest poo I have ever seen.
Not that I had any idea there was anything wrong. She was cheery, she was energetic, she was pink-cheeked (her face, I mean), she had a good appetite. There was absolutely nothing external to warn me of the tsunami within. Until it happened. Until Poppy, standing by a bench in the living room, filled her diaper.
Audibly. Audibly from across the room. And by the sound, I knew that sucker wasn’t normal. Normal poos don’t … gurgle. But I had no idea how very not normal it was until I lay the girl down on the floor in front of the diaper shelves, and opened her diaper.
It was not a matter of stench nor of quantity. The stench was vile, yes, but no worse than many I’ve suffered in my years in this job. The quantity was indeed vast, but again, no more bountiful than many I’ve scraped off a tiny butt in my time. Anyway, sheer quantity, in and of itself, does not qualify a poop as “vile”. (Though I always wonder, when faced with a truckload of poo under a tiny pink bottom, just how something so small could produce so very, very much. It’s a Wonder of Science, I tell you.)
(Warning for the squeamish: If you’re not already gagging, you may want to avert your eyes from the following paragraph.)
Nope. Neither stench nor abundance made it vile, though lord only knows it excelled at both. No, what put it into the category of “Diaper things Mary has never seen before” — a very small category — was the consistency. This stuff was the consistency of cream. The cream you’d put in your coffee, I mean, not the stuff you’d put on your skin. There was a splooshing, sloshing cup or two of very, very pale beige cream in that diaper. The colour you’d get if you put a tablespoon of coffee in a cup of cream.
Only it smelled much, much, much worse.
And the question was, how to get this liquid — there was not a speck of solid in it — from the child to the garbage without sloshing it all over me, all over her, all over my house? I peered in astonishment for a second, considering my options. Diaper wipes were not going to cut it. The diaper could clearly not absorb this amount with anything like the necessary speed.
I closed the diaper back on the child. “Poppy? Don’t move. Understand? DON’T. MOVE. I’ll be right back.”
She gazes at me solemnly, but doesn’t shift an inch. Good girl! I race into the back porch and grab one of the shabby, ragged towels we use to dry the dogs after their wet and muddy walks by the river. Grab the towel and rip it in half. Race back to the living room, where Poppy, bless her noisome self, is still lying right where I put her.
I lift her butt, put the towel on the floor under both girl and diaper. Open the diaper. Lift her butt by the ankles, give it a quick wipe. (Quick, because really? NOTHING is stuck there. NOTHING. Because it’s LIQUID, people, pure liquid. Her butt only glistens a bit with the wet.) I drop the wipe into the pool inside her diaper and pivot Poppy so that her bare bottom now lies on the hardwood floor. I’ll finish with her when I’ve finished with this ghastly diaper.
Then close the diaper. But not too tight! Heaven knows I don’t want to squeeze it and have it squirt liquid manure around my living room. Close it up, wrap the towel around it all.
“Poppy? Don’t move again. Understand, lovie? DON’T.MOVE.” Because the child who just produced liquid manure is now lying bare and totally diaper-free on my living room floor. Is there more where that came from? Is there?
I run to the kitchen. Drop towel, diaper, and poo-cream in the garbage, and immediately lift out the garbage bag, tie it securely, and toss it into the back porch.
I really, really, reeeeallllly want to wash my hands now, but butt-naked Poppy’s naked butt still needs my attention. We clean her up, tuck her securely into a fresh diaper, and then I scrub my hands. For the full 30 seconds. Rinse. And do it again. Because, bleah.
Poppy’s mother came to collect her shortly after. Because, bleah. (And also, because it’s in my contract: can’t come to daycare for 24 hours following vomitting or diarrhea.)
It was not the worst shit story ever. But it was close.
First Rory, then Poppy. Who’s next?
Tick, tick, tick…