There’s no gentle way to say this–I can smell the difference between my son and daughter’s fecal matter.
I could describe their distinct aromas for you in gag-reflex-inducing detail, but have chosen not to in case you are currently eating, or plan to ever again. (After all, you should never bite the hand that reads you.)
Not sure how many of you know this, but I am a world class dishwasher. This is not due to any concerted effort on my part–I’ve just wound up logging my 10,000 hours since the Twins’ birth, conquering mountains of soiled bottles, Sippy Cups, and high-chair trays on a tri-daily basis.
Thus, on the morning of the Twincident in question, I had stealthily ducked into the kitchen to knock out the breakfast dishes. Despite both having nasty colds and ear infections, the Twins were in excellent spirits having just been fed, and babbled baby limericks at each other while surveying the playroom toyscape. Since the Twins made their outside-of-Mommy debut, we rarely have more than two minutes to eat human-style at a proper table anyway, so we chose to convert our house’s “dining room” to a playroom, which has worked swimmingly at moments like this, when I can watch them in the next room while still actively pursuing 20,000 hours.
Having successfully sanitized the load’s umpteenth and umptieth items, I Deion-Sanders-High-Stepped from the sink to the playroom threshold.
And that’s when it hit me.
The Wall of Stank.
This is one of the most terrifying experiences a parent can have. No matter how many times you’ve done it–often several per day–the realization that in a few short seconds you will be elbow-deep in baby sh!t strikes fear in even the coldest-blooded ninja assassins.
“All right,” I grumbled. “Who is it?
My offspring both shot me quick smiles before returning to their playthings.
I whiffed the air as if a fine wine, noting the aroma’s nuances and textures to determine poodunnit.
Yes, I actually do this. While it’s not the most pleasant experience, it’s an excellent way to put off direct contact with the poo. It also allows the sh!t warrior to develop an ever-so-slight resistance to the odor just before going into battle.
However, the initial olfactory test results were inconclusive. For a moment I was certain He was the one, but underneath the male stank, there was a hint of Hers.
I moved in for the next round of poodunnit detection–the Ass Sniff.
This step requires no explanation.
I started with my son…WHOA! Yeah, definitely him.
But wait a minute…What’s that protrusion on her rear?… OH NO! Number Two times TWO!
It was then that I remembered the breakfast beverage service. To replace the hydration oozing from their boogery noses, I’d bought them a round of Pedialyte, a substance fortified with electrolytes, which are guaranteed to produce rear-end electrodarks in 30 minutes or less.
I elected to lead off with my son, as his work is notably gnarlier than his sister’s. Might as well get the worst done first.
My son was incredibly busy throwing blocks at the wall at the time and made sure to alert me to the anguish of being torn away from his high-concept performance art piece. I, however, believe I contributed an exciting new dynamic to his installation, since without me picking him up, the world would have been deprived of a perfectly-executed, mid-air running man.
I’ve explained previously that my children’s ever-growing self-awareness essentially transforms diaper-changing into alligator wrestling, and this particular transaction was an excellent example. Dodging kicks to the nose and tiny wayward fists, I finally managed to pin my son in place to unearth the gems he’d cultivated for me. The kicking and screaming continued as a brown smoke filled the playroom.
It was about this time that I glanced up at my daughter, who was enjoying her freedom and teasing her brother by playing with His Favorite Stuffed Pluto. I swatted at it in an effort to win it back and distract my son whose struggles were literally sending debris airborne, but she was quick and ducked out of reach, giggling uncontrollably over her brother’s hissy fit.
I couldn’t help but laugh. However, as we shared our little moment, my son wiggled out of my grasp and roamed freely about the cabin pantsless and, um, not quite “cleaned off” yet.
He beelined for the drawer where we keep diapers and wipes, which–since I was mid-change–was currently ajar. In a matter seconds, a baker’s dozen of clean diapers were strewn across the floor, and he was reaching back in for another twenty.
Wipe in hand, I dove for his ass and removed The Most Clear and Present Danger from his cheeks, then tackled him back to the floor. Luckily, I had plenty of clean diapers at hand to continue just where I left off.
My daughter was Ewok-ing in circles, not sure what to do next. Her poor little nose was running like crazy, and I made a mental note to wipe it as soon as I had a free appendage. Deep in thought, her hand wandered absent-mindedly towards her behind, and then, to my horror, she plunged it deep into her sh!t-filled diaper.
This is a charming habit she’s cultivated as of late. When she’s thinking, my daughter tends to do one of two things: 1) twirl her hair–which we’re fine with; or 2) stick her hand into her diaper and onto her bare ass–which we’re working on. Since most of the time there is not any hazardous waste in this particular location, we wipe her hand, tell her “no”, and move on.
However, at this juncture, she had some serious junk in her trunk, sponsored by Pedialyte.
She unsheathed her toxic hand quickly, as if surprised to find What She Found. Then, she sniffed a few times. At first, I thought she smelled The Smell, but I quickly realized the real cause: the runny nose.
It was then that she lifted her hand–the one with the brown glove–to wipe her nose.
Abandoning my still-pantsless son, I clawed for my daughter in slow motion, desperately shouting “NOOO!”
But it was too late.
The package was delivered.
Her dumbstruck eyes stared up at me, flanked just below by a smeared brown gotee.
It was unclear as to which had rattled her more–her new facial hair or my panicked warning.
To her credit, I will say this: she had, in fact, removed the boogers.
After I’d given her a thorough wipe-down and scrubbed her hands and face in the sink, I returned to the battlefield to find that my son had proceeded to sprawl the remaining twenty diapers from the drawer across the floor.
When I inquired what he’d done, he looked up from his handiwork with a jack-o’-lantern grin and waved his hands in the air victoriously, junk flapping in perfect sync.
. . .
When I finally managed to get my son re-clothed, I started on my daughter, who, having just whined through a mini-sink bath, was just not that into a diaper change. My son continued DiaperFest 2012, tossing the clean diapers in the air, laughing maniacally.
I tried to interest my daughter in various toys in the vicinity while I did My Duty On Her Duty, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, my son had noticed the dirty diaper I’d just removed from my daughter, and took off running with it to the other side of the room.
In the moment I paused to lament, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” my half-naked daughter took the opportunity to join the DiaperFest movement, and I again faced a streaker and a biological terrorist, this time with their roles reversed.
. . .
Following the 911 operator’s advice to “just pick them up,” I solemnly began to gather the scattered debris left in DiaperFest 2012’s aftermath, its grotesque images still replaying in my mind’s eye.
So much poo was spilled that day.
So many wipes. So few butts.
Poo pundits across the globe are already speculating as to the implications of living in a post-DiaperFest world, and I don’t even want to think about its potential effect on our nation’s current financial crisis.
Often, at times like these, I remember the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh, and tell myself “I’m getting too old for this sh!t.”
But fortunately, in time, the Twins will be, too.
Let’s Get Sh!tfaced, Part 1, in which another Pseudonymous family member acquires fecal facial hair, can be savored here.
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If not, perhaps you’d like to join us for DiaperFest 2013. I’ll even let you officiate the Opening Ceremonies.