Mon 1 May 2006
forgive me – i am now about to become one of those parents lamented, scorned, and laughed at by…well, everyone. or at least everyone without children of diapering age. i am posting about poop. and Oscar just christened me.
everything seems like a bit of a tragicomedy to me these days. we’re still in the hospital, Oscar and i, and he’s still learning to nurse, still alternating between gaining and losing weight, still being tube-fed some of the time. i am stunned, daily, by how much time it really does take to feed a not-quite six-pound human. people mentioned this before, but as it wasn’t my time being sucked out of existence, their message didn’t really sink in. i’m an efficient person, after all, when i want to be. but apparently babies are not especially interested in efficiency.
here, i exist in a spiral, like a planet consistently spinning slightly closer to its sun and shortening its orbit. the Bon & Oscar orbit consists of a series of activities: change baby–toggle breast at baby–nurse baby–wake baby–tickle baby–toggle breast at baby again–change positions because arm and/or baby fell asleep–burp baby–change baby again–wrap baby–pump breasts–clean pumping equipment. it’s a consuming cycle, and being goose-stepped through it by a daily series of nurses with different temperments and different opinions about what precisely would be best for Oscar gets hard on the head after nine days.
so tonight, when i hopped up – or at least maneuvered myself off my Bride-of-Frankenstein perineum – to change my wailing son an hour into the attempted feeding cycle, i wasn’t really thinking. the nursery curtain was pulled for privacy, and my hands were full of squirming baby, so i left my shirt up and my swollen, pinata-sized breast hanging free to airdry during the feeding intermission. i peeled off the tiny diaper, wiped the offending emissions that had been distracting Oscar from his dinner, and – just for a second – left his little pink bum uncovered while i reached for another cloth. Oscar chose that moment to project more orangey poop than had any right to be hiding in someone that small all over his fresh diaper (lying uselessly beneath him), his sleeper, and my bare skin. i nearly managed to deflect some of the spray by grabbing a corner of the clean diaper as a block, but succeeded only in getting the rest to decorate my jeans rather than my chest.
i have never before had anyone poop on me – i don’t swing that way. and while i figured that major bodily fluid coverage would happen eventually between me and my offspring, i hadn’t imagined that the eventuality would be quite so explosive, or so public. half-naked and feces-bedecked, i was forty feet down the hall from my room, my tub, and any clean clothes.
the weird part is, after a day of really erratic feeding and some deep surges of terror, paranoia, and weepiness in me about Oscar’s sudden onset fussiness, the baptism by baby poo didn’t bother me much. it was warm, hardly smelly. it covered me like a Jackson Pollack work, in a monochrome burst of vivid orange. and it was funny. i giggled, then laughed aloud. the release obviously offered Oscar relief, because he stopped howling and looked up at me with his sage baby stare, blurry and wise. he has no shame yet, no sense of dignity to get offended by functions he does not yet control. and standing there, covered in poop, i found him the most marvellous creature alive.
i just hope, if he ever reads this later, he forgives me for telling anyone.