Upon becoming parents, Tonya and I made a quick determination: Babies consist of about 10% cute and 90% disgusting bodily functions.
And from this determination, we derived a corollary: If you can't find humor in disgusting bodily functions, you shouldn't become a parent. No, seriously.
And to this corollary, we must add a lemma: If you can't find humor in disgusting bodily functions, you should probably skip the rest of this post.
Well, school time has started back up, and that means that kids everywhere are headed back to school, where they can share stories of what they did all summer--and pass around the latest designer germs. It's a little like the way we celebrated Valentine's day when I was in school--you have to bring one for everyone, and you get one from everyone in return.... This time of year is always hard for those of delicate constitution.
But! we say. Our kids are homeschooled, so they're isolated from all those germs, right?
Ha. This is one of those widespread myths about homeschoolers. They are not isolated, just weird.
Anyway, about two weeks ago we were invited to the birthday party of a newly-minted four-year-old boy. Our kids were there, along with at least two-dozen others. This birthday party involved lots of splashing around in swimming pools with hordes of other kids of varying ages; waterfights; a piñata scramble; slightly undercooked hamburgers....
And given how early schools start these days, large numbers of these kids had already been in the classroom for a week or two--plenty of time to start incubating!
Within a few days after this we all started getting the sniffles. I seem to have ducked the worst of it, as I usually do (and I also Zicam the heck out of my nose whenever I even get suspicious that there might be something going around); but my kids and my wife were hit pretty hard.
My wife's offers this diagnosis: there were actually two diseases that hit us. During the first week after the party, the Pillowfight Fairy had a cold (and a really intense-looking, pleasingly geometrical sunburn pattern on her back from all that time in the pool). The Adrenaline Junkie and the Happy Boy came down with the creeping crud: reasonably high fevers, and... um... really unhappy intestines. But thankfully, by the time the week was out, they had mostly gotten over it....
But then this week started, and everyone shared what they'd had with everyone else. So now the Junkie and the Boy wound up with the colds, and the Fairy wound up with the creeping crud.
And to add insult to injury, the Happy Boy has started teething again. Thankfully, it's for his final set of molars; nevertheless, it's for the molars, and any parent who's had a kid go through teething those suckers just rolled their eyes and said, "Uh-huh...." For whatever reason, teething always seems to cause nasty poop. And nasty poop causes, um.... skin complexion problems. On the kid's butt.
The life of parents of toddlers, joyful though it often is, always has a dark threat of poop underlying every moment. One never knows when this Damoclean sword will drop. One moment everyone is happy and giggling and playing and running about; the next, the toddler is the only one happy and giggling and playing and running about, while everyone else is holding their noses and scrambling to grab the kid to get him/her cleaned up before he/she loses containment. It's sudden; it's unpredictable; it's inevitable.
But this week, our house has become Poop Central. It just seems like there's about twice as much of the stuff around here as normal. Our oldest, who's been fully potty-trained now for a year and a half, has found herself dealing with the horrible things your intestines can very suddenly throw at you; and so far as we (her parents) can tell, she's pretty embarrassed about it. After all, when your five-year-old starts spontaneously cleaning her underwear (without telling you first!), you know something's up. And our Happy Boy has been having his teething-poop for the better part of a week now--and has thus gone from going once or twice a day, to something like six or seven times.
And the Adrenaline Junkie is blithely not worrying about becoming potty trained. Although the Fairy (who has a good nose) has started loudly announcing at semi-regular intervals: "Someone has poop!", so we usually catch her before things go too long. After all, with Mommy's cold, she can't smell a thing now.
Well, I was changing the litter in the cat box, the other night, when it suddenly hit me, how much of our time and energy around here is spent dealing with poop. We have to collect it and throw it out; we have to wash it out of cloth diapers; we have to scoop it out of the litter; we have to pull off and dispose of disposable diapers; we have to wipe it off of little un-potty-trained bottoms; we have to help clean up after five-year-olds and their illness-related accidents. Poop! In all colors and consistencies! Poop!
Poop! Poop! Poop! It's everywhere around here, I tell you! Sometimes, it seems as though--with all the poop that gets carried off around here--that indoor plumbing is wasted on this family. There are billions of people in the third world who deserve it far, far more than we do.
Ok, just had to get that off my chest. Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.