Diarrhea. Vomit. Boogers. Drool. Sticky fingers.
Sound familiar? No, I’m not talking about a day in the life of a medical professional. This is the day in the life of a mom. Something we don’t quite prepare for when we think about the joys of holding a tiny baby in our arms, encouraging first steps, or preparing for first day of school. There are so many wondrous joys to being a mother. But, along with the good, comes the bad.
Tiny humans, because of their inability to express what is going on, rarely give proper warning when a situation is imminent. As mothers, our first warning sign of a diaper blowout happens when we reach down to pick up the child. We’ve all been there. Reach down, pick up baby, feel something disturbingly wet on our hands, briefly lift up a prayer, and then pull our hand away, hoping the problem is just an overly wet diaper.
And then we gasp in horror.
It’s then that the mommy brain immediately flies in two directions. On the one hand, there is instantaneous recoil, whereupon we do not want to deal with the situation, and would rather pass the buck along. There is no buck to pass, and running away while screaming our heads off, is–unfortunately–not a viable option. Therefore, we begrudgingly move into Clean Up Mode. Hands-down, it’s the worst job in the life of mom.
One thing I know about explosive toddler diarrhea is this: it never happens at home. In the cell phone store, at the gym, in a dingy gas station, or at a restaurant, yes. At home? Never.
I mean, come on! It’s like the Universe is saying, “Your life would be too easy if everything happened within the confines of your home. You don’t need wipes, diapers, or an extra set of clothes on hand!”
It’s a mother’s version of Survivor.
Who needs the bathtub, soap, the washing machine, and water, anyway? Psssh, take that, Universe; I’m a mom.
I’ve got this!
There is a sense of disturbing accomplishment when the tiny human is cleaned up in a public restroom, without a changing station, and paper towels are the only thing on hand. Strip them down, pray the water works, and use every last paper towel in the canister. Rinse dirty clothes in the sink, and pray there is a plastic bag in the car. If the sink isn’t working, well, at least there’s a trash can. This mommy doesn’t play when poo is involved.
The one thing that always seems happen at home–even though, secretly, I wish it would happen in a public place–is projectile vomit. I opt for poo over vomit, every time.
My tiny toddler has an insane ability when it comes to throwing up. He manages to not only coat himself, from head to toe, in vomit, he also covers an area of about five feet. And it is never in a convenient location. Like, the bathroom, or the kitchen. Most of the time, if he is going to throw up, it happens when he is in my bed.
I learn a lot dealing with vomiting in the middle of the night. Mostly about myself. Apparently, I do have the patience to not only force a screaming, vomit-covered child into a bathtub at one in the morning, but I can also tear down, and re-cover a bed in five minutes, while holding the screaming toddler. I’m not happy about it, I’m resigned. And, the entire time I am cleaning up, my mind is saying, “Really, God? One in the morning? Really? You know it’s just me and Tiny Tot, right?”
Then I apologize for my tired, snarky attitude, and start asking for the ability to have at least four arms.
It really would make my life easier.
Then there are the times when I call for backup. Like, when my son takes one step down the hallway, turns around, and says, “Mommy, my tummy hurts.”
Neon signs should follow certain toddler phrases, like in the cartoons. Huge, flashing lights, accompanied by an air siren is preferable. This momma needs something as a warning when phenomenal disasters strike.
Instead, Tiny Tot issues his statement, and proceeds to spew like a volcanic eruption.
In my house, there is only one hallway that runs from the living room toward the bedrooms. Tiny Tot managed to cover every square inch, effectively cutting off my path to the bathtub, fresh towels, fresh clothing, and cleaning supplies. In two minutes, my tiny human created the ultimate booby trap.
And my own personal version of Indiana Jones.
Phone in hand, I very calmly decided to speak with my mother. “So, there is vomit everywhere. Can someone hold the toddler while I clean up the mess?”
I love my parents. Honestly, I probably screamed the question in a mix of horror and sheer panic. I believe I have mentioned before that I don’t panic well.
That’s why it’s called panic.
But, at the end of the day, the disturbing, disgusting messes that we deal with as parents are the invisible badges we wear with pride. They are the stories we tell when we need a good, “Remember when?” laugh, and the moments we pass on to new, expecting parents. Though, sometimes I wonder if we mommies tell horror stories to new parents to pass on our wisdom, or see them recoil in horror.
No matter what, I do know this: anytime my tiny human says, “Mommy, here! Hold this!” I do not reach out to take it, blindly assuming it’s a toy.
Because, usually, it’s a booger.