Once again, my child is sick. Let me revise that. SC is sick, as usual. It’s not the poor kid’s fault; it’s just that he’s my kid. Me… the one who grew up with asthma and pneumonia and ear infections. I’ve passed it all on to my child. It could be worse, so I won’t complain. But this weekend apparently has marked the beginning of the winter season, and so today, I took part of the day off at school and took SC to urgent care. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, so he was put on an antibiotic and given some breathing treatments. They gave him a sucker and some stickers on the way out and he was good to go.
Anyway, we headed to Target and filled the prescription and got things to make a salad. We came home and played. I gave him his medicine, and we ate, and then we went upstairs so he could get a bath and get ready for bed.
While I was arranging his clothes and things for his bath, SC told me that he had to go to the bathroom. I told him to go ahead – it’s nice that he’s at the age where he can do some things on his own. He was in the bathroom for a minute when I heard him call out “Mommy! I need you!” I got up and walked down the hall to the bathroom and opened the door.
The sight that I encountered was more horrific than any haunted house. Splattered all around my pretty black and white bathroom was shit. Brown, runny, smelly shit. In front of the toilet was SC, naked, with a tiny square of white toilet paper in his hand. He was dabbing at a teeny, tiny splatter of shit on the floor. “SC! What happened?!” I exclaimed. He looked at me, scared. “I-I’m sorry–” he stuttered. “I was peeing and I–I farted, and I–I’m sorry!” I nodded, and surveyed the damage. I immediately snapped into the kind of mental concentration that is normally reserved for orphanage fires or the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse of 2007. At the same time, I was reassuring the poor kid that I knew it was a mistake and that I was not mad.
There was shit on the floor – a big puddle of it, with little rivers trailing out of it like run-off after a rainstorm. Smaller flecks, like mud on the side of my car on a rainy day, decorated the white walls. The green frog that makes up the rug on my floor had freckles. And the dog – oh, poor Ruckus – was sitting, frozen solid, with a puffy little dollop on his forehead and a wide, shocked look in his eyes. My mind raced – how was I going to clean this up? Why did it smell so bad? Was I going to have to pay for counseling for my dog’s post-traumatic stress disorder?
The first order of business was to wash SC off. He had some shit clinging to his right ankle. I placed him in the tub and used the shower to hose him off. Then I scrubbed the tub down and ran him a bath. When he was relaxing in the tub, with bubbles, I found some old hand towels that I was going to throw away and started to clean. SC made sure to micromanage from his luxurious bath. I scrubbed and scrubbed until the room was back to vanilla. Then I poured some floor cleaner down and polished the floor. When the room was clean enough for SC’s discerning opinion, I leaned back and laughed. I got SC out of the tub and did the teeth/pajamas/books/bed thing. I even made it out of the bed without falling asleep and then took a shower myself (I obviously felt a little dirty).
The antibiotics must have given him diarrhea. Explosive diarrhea. Still, he’s not coughing, and he has no fever, so it’s a small price to pay.
I have, however, become way too comfortable with shit.