Monday, June 16, 2008
10 minutes before we needed to leave for the bus this morning, my son shouts, “Mom! The baby’s mouth smells like poop!”
I deep sigh. Even given the fact that my son tends to be somewhat of an attention seeking-hog, this announcement is not good news.
I wander into my son’s room , who is still yelling “Gross! Nasty! She ate poop! Oh man that’s disgusting!” and try to figure out what is going on. Sure enough, there is a teeny tiny turd on the carpet at her feet, and after doing a quick sniff… yep her breath smells like doodie.
“Where did she get a turd?” I yell. I look at my other two children. Their saucer eyes light up with that it wasn’t me look. But since the cat kicked it last December, I have no one to blame but the five people living in this house. Apparently random turdletts fall from our shorts without us noticing. And leave it to my baby daughter to find the smallest, tiniest bit of excrement possible and then enjoy it like a tootsie roll pop.
My third child is unlike the other two in a few ways. Mainly, the amount of things she can find to stuff into her orifice knows no bounds. She can and will put anything—I mean anything—into her mouth and chew, suck and try to swallow it. In fact I am wondering if she was born without taste buds, because I have found nothing that makes her turn up her nose, nothing she shudders and spits out, nothing she licks and leaves. My other two children were never ones to put much in their mouth, preferring to play with odd objects, or squish things. Even when my son found some aspirin on the floor, he took one lick, gagged and spit it out. Such a good boy.
So the fact that my youngest can digest handfuls of soil, small rocks, pennies, nickels, lint balls, leaves and flowers off house plants, soap bars, anything within reach inside a trash can, leaf mulch, tree pollen and now feces, with the same excitement and enthusiasm that she shovels down her cheese cubes and green peas, absolutely baffles me. I have pulled all these objects out of her mouth, which she vehemently refuses to give me, as if I am trying to swab the gruel out of a third-world-child’s cheeks.
My daughter also starts every meal by throwing a handful of food onto the floor. It’s not a sign that she’s finished or full, and after the first handful or so, she happily consumes what’s on her tray. But the introduction of a new food on the tray initiates the toss-over as well, and by the time she’s completed her eating escapade, the floor has more food on it than what found its way into her belly. This confused me at first, until, after taking her down from her snack chair and proceeding to the sink for a wet rag to clean the floor, I arrive back at the table to find my daughter hoovering up the remains of lunch as fast as she can grip the slimy bananas and old toast bits that she refused to eat any more of a moment earlier. In fact, I have come to discover that my daughter actually prefers to eat off the floor and under the table. There is not a crumb infested cranny, nor a nasty nook in my kitchen that is safe from the diet desires of my daughter. The older and crunchier the remains are, the better she likes it. Apparently throwing food from her tray is her small way of self-preservation. In the event that I stop providing meals for her, at least she’s covered.
My daughter can sniff out actual consumable food like an emaciated rat and has pin-point radar for ground debris. I should know not to leave her alone in a room, unless its padded and she's in a straight jacket. Why was I surprised that poop finally made the list?
I grab my daughter and proceed to try and wipey out her mouth. I consider giving her a shot of grain alcohol, or squirting some anti-bacterial gel into her mouth to at least kill the germs and rid the brown tongue, but I'm out of both. Since she can’t swish-and-spit, Listerine and soapy water won’t work. Tilex and Lysol Foaming Bath cleaner just seem wrong (but I am dealing with poop here), and while using those would probably secure them a book deal later in life and kill the germs, I’d probably be in jail which would leave my husband to raise three kids by himself, and well, he can’t braid hair. So, I’m just left with a little innocent wipey which isn’t doing much to alleviate the brown tongue. I have to sit in the bathroom and silently gag to myself knowing that poop germs are swimming in her system. At this point I should have just let her down and encouraged her to suck on the toilet, because as gross as that is, there is less poop on my commode than my carpets apparently. Who knew.
I call a couple neighbors and friends to ask if their children have ever eaten poop and what they did about it. Nope. Nothing. No one else’s child has ever eaten poop. Only mine. Mine mine mine.
I call the pediatrician, and ask to speak with a nurse. I’m not paying a $30 co-pay if I can get this info on the phone.
“All the nurses are busy, I’ll take a message and have them call you back. What seems to be the problem?” the receptionist asks.
“Well,” I explain, “My daughter ate a little turd this morning, and I’m just wondering if there’s anything I need to do.”
“Was it animal or human?”
I suppose this makes a difference, but at the moment poop is poop.
“Human.” (Of course no one has come forward to own this piece of crap, so I am assuming it’s human, and didn’t wander in on someone shoes, or, or…hang on I’m feeling dizzy.
The nurse calls me back an hour or so later. The baby’s poop breath is gone by this time.
“Mrs. Vidoni? I talked with the doctor, and he said there is nothing to worry about, your daughter will be fine. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway.”
“She can’t get ecoli, or anything?” I ask.
“No,” she quietly chuckles. “She’ll be fine.”
And that was it. Quick, to the point, and I saved 30 bucks.
It amazes me that a person can eat a piece of relatively fresh human fecal matter and have no ramifications from that, but I can’t buy a bag of spinach or fresh tomatoes from the grocery store without getting fifty diseases. How exactly does that work?
It’s been my prayer for some time now, that God might help me deal with my OCD issues. Leave it to His big sense of humor to give an extremely germ-a-phobic-especially-gross-things-from-floors-and-bathrooms-mom a third child who has a penchant for all things disgusting, grimy and previously-left-by-others. Who not only plays with these objects, but eats them. If my daughter’s behavior was supposed to be a way to try and help curb my worrying or lessen my anxieties, it isn’t working. Right after I got off the phone with the pediatrician, I called my doctor. I need to start taking Prozac again.