My experience with bathrooms is vast and unmatched. When I went to sleepover camp as a kid in New Hampshire, I remember my bunkmate making a creation in the toilet so big, it triumphed over anything any of us had ever seen before. His number 2 was so impressive and so shocking to a bunch of pre-pubescent boys that campers from all the other bunks came to view what he had created. There was a receiving line in the bathroom; no one wanted to flush it. The guy was an instant celebrity like the Justin Bieber of bowel movements. But that was nothing compared to the “Henry” incident. If there is one incident in my entire life that prepared me for fatherhood, it was the “Henry” incident.
When I was still in college, my wife Gloria spent time as a nanny for a family in Brookline, MA with a little girl named Hannah and a baby boy named Henry. Henry was still itty bitty and Gloria was with him all the time doing what nannies do… feeding him… changing him… coddling him.
One day Gloria thought Henry had a fever so she had him assume the position, and she pulled out the torture tool feared by dads everywhere- the rectal thermometer. Henry was down on the floor, the thermometer was in, and Gloria had to run to another room for a minute.
She asked me for the simplest of tasks, to just entertain Henry and keep him still on the floor while the thermometer did its thing. I wasn’t a dad yet, but surely I was adult enough to handle the situation. So I entertained Henry on the floor, as he dealt with a rectal thermometer in his bum. Henry though was a good natured baby and he was just giggling away. But at some point, his giggles turned to a grimace, and then agitation. And then it happened.
Henry let out a burst so strong that it shook the walls. He literally pooped that thermometer right across the floor- an explosion of Jackson Pollock creativity.
It was a like a cannon. I screamed. And I ran from the room leaving poor Henry on the floor. He started screaming. I continued screaming. I hollered for Gloria to come quick, there’s been an emergency. Henry was hollering. There was poop everywhere. Somewhere across the floor was the thermometer. Somewhere across the floor was my dignity. Henry would recover, but I’d never be the same again. I would never forget what happened that one day in Brookline. Never.
Years later, I would be changing Alicia’s diaper on the little white changing table in her nursery. And her giggles turned to a grimace, and then agitation. And then it happened. Alicia dropped a bomb right in my hand on the changing table. I screamed. And I ran for the living room. She started screaming. I continued screaming. I hollered for Gloria to come quick, there’s been an emergency. Again. Things don’t change.
We’ve all had our share of diaper war stories. This was poop payback.
When your duty becomes doody, there’s no telling what can happen.
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