Friday, July 15, 2005


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.


Blogger Haley said...

Ew Ew Ew EW EW! Nothing worse than explosive diarrhoea. Actually, that's not true. It could have been explosive diarrhoea and a non-compliant, screaming child to boot!

7/15/2005 02:34:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Non-compliant, screaming, STRUGGLING child...

7/15/2005 02:39:00 p.m.  
Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

I looked up "beshat" in my Concise Oxford English Dictionary, and it isn't in there.

This dictionary was written by men who have never cared for small children. That's my theory.

7/15/2005 03:50:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Not there? For shame. It's so evocative, perfect for this scenario. It's a favourite of mine - as is the OED, for that matter.

7/15/2005 05:02:00 p.m.  
Blogger Aginoth said...

I think beshat is a perfectly good word, having been on the receiving end of all of my three children exploding in a profusion of shite on many occasions.

My middle child (daughter almost 2) has recently taken to the potty...doesn't always get there also fun....not :o)

7/15/2005 05:29:00 p.m.  
Blogger Heather said...

Ugh. Eww...and doesnt it smell absolutely worse when its not your kid? I have my own set of horror stories about toxic waste...its part of the rite de passage of childcare. Most memorable is Aidan upchucking in Rogers Video. Hot dogs and milk.

Poor you.


7/15/2005 08:02:00 p.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

Reason NUMBER ONE why I will not be having any more babies.

7/15/2005 08:27:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Aginoth: "Shite". Now there's a good British word for you. Almost two and you've started with the potty? Did your oldest start so early?

Heather: Yes, it does smell worse when the kid's not your own. I have the Worst Shit Story Ever, which will appear next month. My best Upchuck Story? Taking my then 5 year old stepson to the park, and spinning him round and round on the tire swing. "Faster! Faster!" "You sure, kiddo?" "Yes!" immediately followed by a stream of masticated and partially digested macaroni and hot dogs spiralling out from the spinning boy.

It must be the hot dogs.

Misfit: My reason #1 (apart from my age and the eight children already in this family) is the lack of sleep. CanNOT do that again. Nope, nope, nope.

7/15/2005 10:04:00 p.m.  
Blogger Matthew said...

How about no sleep AND getting crapped on? Last night, after 2:00 a.m. feeding, I pick up boy to put in crib and realize his whole lower body is covered in feces. After cleaning him up, changing his diaper and clothes, I climb into bed only to realize the poop wasn't just limited to his body.

BTW, I noticed your "cast of characters". What happened to Thomas?

7/16/2005 09:39:00 a.m.  
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

It sounds like a reading from the International version Toddler Bible: "And Alice beshat Mary..."

Shower definitely warranted in that case. Lauren had a red one yesterday, I'm really starting to wonder what they feed her.

7/16/2005 12:14:00 p.m.  
Blogger August95 said...

You can tell I have no kids by the way I screw my face up when I read that. Heck ya a shower is in order. :)

The Cast of Characters is great by the way.

7/16/2005 01:36:00 p.m.  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

I am going to be adding beshat to my spell-check!

As for the shower, that was a no-brainer!

7/16/2005 06:51:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Matthew: My heart goes out to you. I remember those early days, when I was desperate - desperate! - for sleep. I got a bit unhealthily obsessive about it, really. (With my third, I learned a kind of Zen response to the fatigue. Much better.) Poop and sleeplessness: a double whammy.

Crayonz: Alice beshat Mary, and - it stopped right there. Red poop? No idea. But I did know someone who gave her baby grape koolaid in his bottle (disgusting stuff to feed a defenceless baby, I thought) - the end result was emerald green. Bizarre.

August: I've been mulling over how to get a cast of characters on for a while now. I wanted to have it show on the right, but it didn't work at all, at all. Glad you like it!

Misfit: that'd be my English degree showing. It may not be in a modern dictionary, being a bit archaic, but it has a solid pedigree. I like it.

7/16/2005 08:27:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Matthew: missed your "p.s." Sad to say, Thomas has moved on. His mother is a teacher, so he stays home over the summer, and in the fall he's starting a Montessori preschool. We'll miss him, for sure!

7/16/2005 08:33:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Si said...

Perhaps its time someone invented teflon coated clothes with auto dispensing deoderant :-)

7/18/2005 06:43:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

...and germ-killing formula! I'd buy 'em!

7/18/2005 07:06:00 a.m.  
Blogger Aginoth said...


Caitlin has decided to use the potty herself, we have had it out on display for about 3 months, and she has shown an interest all on her own, lot's of praise when it goes right and lots of enouragement when it doesn't. Ethan (eldest) was just over 3 when he went daytime dry and clean, after about 3 months potty training

7/20/2005 12:37:00 p.m.  

Post a Comment

<< Home