“In the Parenthood Justice System, the people are represented by only one all powerful unit. The parent who investigates crimes and the same parent who prosecutes the offenders. These are their stories.”
It was March of 2008. I was a new mom for the 2nd time. My son was 2 weeks old and my darling first born was just over 2. The transition for her had been rough. The transition for me had been rough. Lots of tears. Lots of jealousy. Lots of mistakes. Lots of “learning moments”. Our daughter, OLD baby, was taking a nap. I was hanging out with NEW baby in the living room, nursing, making lovey dovey googly eyes at him. You know, the usual. I then heard my daughter call for me. A very (suspiciously) sweet and light, “Maaaahhhh–mmaaahhhh“. I pick up new baby and head over to the door. As I began to open the door, I was hit with the unmistakable smell of nap poop. Now, parents know what nap poop is. It is, hours old, burn the hair out of your nostrils, stagnant closed door poop. It is vile. I brace myself by taking a deep breath so I can run in, grab O.B. (old baby) and get out of the toxic fumes. Sadly, it was not just low level breathable toxins that awaited me. It was so. much. worse.
The next few minutes are a blur. I’m fairly certain I went into a sort of trauma coma. I do not know how much time passed before I recovered, but, when I did, this is what I saw.
1) Completely naked 2 year old covered in crap from head to toe
2) Crap wall “mural” behind crib (looking back, masterful artistry)
3) Crib bars, rail, mattress, sheets, blankets and stuffed friends (with friends like my 2 year old, who needs enemies) covered in crap.
4) Crap filled diaper (how much crap was in there?!?!?!??) upside down on CARPETED floor.
I managed to muster some sort of quasi sentence out. “Annabelle..what…what…happening? What?!?”
Her reply, “Mommy, I eat it? Why I do that?”
The sound that came out of me at that moment can only be described as the deep, primal, guttural bellowing that people generally reserve for grieving death. (To be fair, part of me died at that moment). I sank to the floor, still holding my newborn, and started to sob while screaming, “NO…NO…ANNABELLE! NO. NO. You did NOT eat it! YOU DID NOT EAT IT.”
Annabelle begins sobbing and shrieks, “WHY I DO THAT?”
At that point, Mother Bethany bitch slapped Falling Apart Bethany on the floor. “GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! Welcome to motherhood!” In a daze, I picked myself up and began to formalize a plan of action.
Step 1 – Put. Baby. Somewhere. I set up new (and now favorite) baby in his bassinet. Ok, I can do this. One step down.
Step 2. – Find gloves. No gloves to be found. Ok, I’ll improvise. Wrap hands in saran wrap. Check.
Step 3. – Retrieve toddler (from Hell) from her room. If we can even still call it a room. I remembered thinking, “We may have to move.”
Step 4. – Shower toddler with bleach? No, that can’t be right. Ok, no bleach.
This went on for HOURS. I meticulously corrected every foul, ungodly thing my daughter had done. At the end, not even CSI (The S, clearly standing for something else) could have detected the horrific event had even occurred.
I don’t like to talk about it much. It is one of those parenting stories that will live on as family folklore. Maybe one day, a few generations from now, they’ll forget all about it. Sadly, I never will. It is burned into my brain and corneas. In the history books of my time as a parent, this will be my Vietnam.
After this happened, I was not (and still am not) afraid of ANYthing. I know I can do it. And, if for a second I doubt my strength, I can count on Mother Bethany to give me a good bitch slap back to reality.