In two days, on 12/9 my mom will have been gone 8 years.Â Before she passed away, Mom who was very creative constructed a book of family history as part of her legacy.Â It included a variety of essays and recollections from family members.Â Included is a short story I wrote.Â It was written in late 199o while living in Charlotte, NC.
It’s A Dirty Job, But Someone Has To Do It!
Last month I experienced something new! As we say in the broadcast advertising business, I left a demo. No longer will I be a target of those advertisers trying to reach the 10-34 year old consumer. Yes, I just turned 35! Not that this has anything to do with what I’m about to share with you, except a belated “Happy Birthday”, would be nice.
But, what being 35 did do was that it forced me to reflect back on my life.
Now, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced my fair share of life’s offerings. I’ve been taught to expect the unexpected. I’ve also learned not to over think things in life, for sometimes things just are and stuff just happens!
My wife, Marguerite is due with our second child in early April. Our son Nicholas will be one month short of 3 years old by then. I can recollect vividly Nicholas’ birth, and his transformation from infant to toddler to little boy.
Marguerite had organized two photo albums called, “Nick’s Books”: which is a pictorial chronological history of Nicholas. We are always reading these with him. This has helped embed in my memory his rapid development.
Some parents might remember their child’s growth by their mobility. The first time they crawled, then stood up, and finally when they first walked. Others might retain the first moments of a child’s sound, then the first word that was uttered, and finally when they actually began to talk.
I, on the other hand have become an authority on “Pampers”, “Huggies” and “Luv’s” . Unless you’re a parent and have actual “field experience”, you can’t possibly in a million years relate to changing diapers! Not only at home, but in the car, shopping centers, restaurants.. You name the place, they got to go. Let me share with you some of what I’ve learned.
Infants need to be changed regularly, they usually have very regular and I might add,small movements. It’s always a celebration when they only have their once a day! When Nicholas was a baby, I remember the most important
questions I’d ask Marguerite on the phone was “Did he go”? or she would call me up and the first thing she’s say was, “Hi honey, Nicholas just had a dirty diaper!” You have to understand, these words would pick me up for the rest of the day.
As they get older, their “performance” will alter, depending on their daily nutritious intake. If raisins worked for me the way they affect Nicholas, I’d be a very content and very “regular” type of guy.
If per chance your proboscis misses this malodor his scream of discontentment will signal his need for a change. Geographical location is of no consequence. Fortunately, Marguerite is the mistress of location diaper changing.
The goal of all parents is to eventually “potty train” their child. Because we don’t want to be the cause of our children winding up in therapy later in their life, in time they usually “potty train” themselves. We are just there for encouragement. If you thought about some of your child’s behaviorisms during this process you’d go insane.
Nicholas will not flush away his business until both mommy and daddy see his accomplishments. Makes sense to me.
I would hope all parents would feel about their children as I do. I think Nicholas is the BEST! Sometimes, because of his strong personality he can be a pain in the butt. He always has to do what daddy does. “I don’t want to make in the little potty. I want to use the big potty, like daddy. Can you imagine visualizing a little boy, sitting on a commode?Â That’s like us trying to go atop a wheel barrow. It sure is a funny sight. Fortunately, he hasn’t fallen in, yet.
Have you ever been in a situation that was embarrassing and you couldn’t believe it was happening to you? You wished it to go away by closing your eyes, but only direct action by you would solve and eliminate the problem. You were in the wrong place at the right time.
Last week, I experienced a first. I met Marguerite and Nicholas at a restaurant for dinner one night after work. It wasn’t crowded. We were seated in the back booth, close to the restrooms, where the lighting was soft. The restrooms were guarded by a swinging door. We were surrounded by several other families.
Most nearly 3 year old boys can’t sit still, especially in restaurants, and especially Nicholas. I guess Marguerite and were just in an S&M mood! Half way through our entree we let Nicholas leave the table and cruise the restaurant. He was more unruly than usual. There was a jukebox on the opposite side of the restaurant, a place that benefited from Nicholas’ generosity with quarters. We just assumed the music machine would get even richer tonight. He chose however to go through the swinging door and greet the people as they entered the restrooms.
After we finished our entree, Marguerite and I had a taste for hot apple pie a la camode. I mean a la mode. After we ordered, a man had asked Nicholas if he wanted to go into the men’s room. Nicholas said yes”. I immediately got up and joined him.
So now I’m in the men’s room with Nicholas. He’s dying to try out the big potty”. What’s a father to do? I stand him on the counter top, take off his sneakers, then his pants and finally his diaper. I now put Nicholas on the seat when he tells me to shut the door and wait. I sneak outside, grab a bite of the pie and am informed by Marguerite that she doesn’t have another diaper. I figure, OK no big deal!
I return back to the men’s room and Nicholas is still inside the stall, refusing to come out, even though he has accomplished his mission. Now, not only did I not have a great deal of patience, one because this was now becoming an ordeal, but my also my dessert was melting and being devoured by a 7 1/2 month pregnant woman.
I knew the more I tried to coax Nicholas out, the longer he’d sit. This was his game! Ten minutes later he exists the stall, I put on his pants, sans diaper and then his shoes. I reminded him that he did not have a diaper on and to try and hold it in ’til we got home. A major mistake. I just planted a subconscious NO NO in an almost three year old.
We washed his hands and began to leave when Nicholas sees the urinal and asks what it is. I told him that, it’s where the big boys make pee pee. WRONG ANSWER!
Now he has to test it out. Well, I pull down his pants and tried to help him by lifting him over the urinal, but he had to do it by himself. I obviously didn’t want him to climb on top of it, so once again we went through the tedious process of undressing him in preparation of going to the bathroom. First his sneakers, then his pants… By his time my irritation level was very high. After a couple of minutes, Nicholas had his first urinal experience. I was then able to redress him, pay the bill and finally head home.
The piece de resistance to the whole evening was as we joined Marguerite, I was to find out that our whole conversation was being listened to throughout the restaurant.