Today is my brother's second wedding anniversary. And Zack pooped in the bathtub. The two topics are related, and if you give me a minute, I'll explain.
So there I was, minding my own business, trying in vain to scrub the Kool-Aid stains out of the countertop, when the yell came from the upstairs bathroom. It sounded like Ryan was choking on his own words as he tried to yell "What are you!! I told you!! Go on the!! And now!! Poop in the Bathtub!!!!!"
Poop in the bathtub is, fortunately, a pretty rare occurrence. The first time it happened, when Brad was a baby, Ryan not only laughed about it (gross!) but got out the video camera!! (double gross!!) Needless to say, after 8 or 9 years of random poop in the bathtub incidents, it has lost its humor, and is now a source of major aggravation.
I am a girl, and in stereotypical girl fashion, I dislike most bodily functions, especially those that make noise, smell, are done at the dining room table, or are done by another person. I once watched a friend's child sneeze so hard that a string of snot about a foot long hung out of her nose. I just about puked on the spot, which would have added to the bodily function disaster unfolding in front of me. So to say that poop in any form is among my least favorite things would be an understatement.
But if the stereotypical girl dislikes bodily functions, why does it end up being the mother's job to deal with things like this? Why was I the one who, when Brad was sick at age 2, instinctively put her hands out to catch his throw up, in order to save the carpet? Why did I have to pick up the dead mouse that was in the garage, blocking the door to the car? Why do I kill the spiders, clean up the bloody nose messes, or the carpet after an "accident," arrange for the disposal of not one, but two dead birds, all while trying not to breathe or even look at what I am dealing with?
The answer is, because I'm the one there. I am around more, therefore the likelihood of me being the one to have to deal with the messes is increased. I happened to see the dead birds, to have to step over the dead mouse, to be standing next to the throwing-up boy, so it ends up being me who cleans it.
But tonight is different. I am, after all, in the kitchen, cleaning the Kool-Aid mess, while Ryan is the parent in charge of the bathroom when the pooping took place. Which is why I felt it was so unfair for me to be the one to clean it up. But Ryan pulled out the trump card, "I can't handle this!"
"I can't handle this!" is typically what we say to let the other parent know that if they care about the particular child that is causing a problem, they better get over there and step in. This code phrase originated in the pre-dawn hours when Brad was a baby, when we'd take turns rocking him to sleep until the crying got under our skin enough that we needed to be in a different room than the crying.
The bummer is that the magic phrase works on a first-come, first-served basis. It's kind of like calling shotgun, or claiming something before your siblings. The first parent who throws in the towel gets to avoid whatever pain is being distributed, because there's really no way to respond with "No, I can't handle this more than you!" That just leads to an argument about who is the absolutely least capable parent at the moment, and that's just a lose-lose situation.
So Ryan, who has been dealing with insomnia for quite some time, decides that he's not the right person to deal with Zack, who is sitting on the toilet trying not to cry, and a bathtub full of a prodigious amount of poop. I'm called in as the relief parent and trudge upstairs. I take precautionary measures, such as only breathing through my mouth, and throwing away every toy in the tub. I tell Zack to get off the pot (heh heh) and I use a cup to scoop the poop and dump it in the toilet. Afterwards I throw the cup away too.
Then the water gets drained, and I proceed to use the greatest invention of the 21st century to clean the tub. No, it's not the new iPhone, it's Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, which promises to rid the world of 99.98% of horrible, disease causing germs. I wipe the tub, hoping that poop germs are not in the .02% that don't get eradicated by my wipes, and vowing to never take a bath in there, just in case. I still am not breathing through my nose, and Ryan comes in with a lovely, baby powder scented candle to try to get rid of the smell, which is what brings me to my original statement.
The matchbox he used was a favor at my brother's wedding, it has a picture of him and his wife with the date of their wedding, July 2, 2005. Why, that's today! As I stood at the sink, scrubbing my arms to the elbow as if preparing to perform open-heart surgery, I thought about their happy day two years ago, a beautiful wedding in the DC temple, where I was also married, the love of their family and friends, their peaceful life together, where they can talk to each other without being interrupted.
Drew and Kim, happy anniversary. I wish you happiness, love, and a bathtub free of poop.