Friday, April 01, 2005


The Resume (A Random Anecdote)

Job #2: Baby-Shitter Part II

Part I is right here, of course...

Well, when little Sally informed me that her brother Pig-Pen had pooped, there was nothing else for it. I was the baby-sitter, and shit stopped here.

So up I went, holding little Sally's hand. I trundled her off to her bed, then took a deep breath and headed for Pig-Pen's room.

And I gotta say, Pig-Pen's room stank. It smelled like burnt beans and propane in there. Talk about a stinkboiga! This kid must have earned his Master's degree from P.U.

He was fussing and bitching in that way toddlers do when they're uncomfortable. I turned on a little desk lamp to survey the situation. His mom had counseled me that, if I had to go in to Pig-Pen's room, I was not to turn on the overhead light, because that would rouse him and make it hard to put him back to sleep. The little desk lamp had about the same candlepower as a flashlight, allowing me to see a little circle of the crib, where Pig-Pen was squirming and crabbing.

I wasn't sure what to do first. I tried talking to him--like he was a dog--and that actually seemed to work. While I nattered, I looked around and saw some diapers. I grabbed one, figuring it would be good to have it ready. I don't remember if baby wipes had been invented then or not, but all the mom had left me was some paper towels (maybe there was something else, but that's all I could find), so I dashed off to the bathroom and wet, oh, about half the roll. Ran back to Pig-Pen and, steeling myself for the worst, unbuttoned the jammies and removed his backwards diaper.

And found nothing.

I was suddenly overcome with this bizarre Christmas-miracle feeling. No poop! I was off the hook. The kid must just be gassy, I thought.

And then I heard this distant gurgly, draining sound.

Coming from Pig-Pen's distended belly.

I looked at his face and saw an expression of extreme concentration. He looked back at me and made a little "Hu-hurn!" grunting noise.

I had great reflexes at 13. I could snatch flies out of the air and stuff like that. So instinctively, reflexively, I reacted. I had the clean, open diaper in my hand and jammed it forward, towards him, hoping to catch the payload, I suppose. Which would have worked fine if, in fact, he had been a dog and was about to deposit dog-like droppings in his bed.

But instead, out of his tiny ass came a jet of liquid shit that hit the diaper I was holding. Unfortunately, my hand--and the diaper--were still about six inches away from his little body.

Now, dear reader, I want you to do something for me. Go to your kitchen right now, and get out a spoon and a cup. Fill the cup with water, lay the spoon on the counter, hold the cup about six inches away and pour the water directly into the spoon.

Go on, go try it. I'll wait.

Huh? Huh? The curve of that spoon broadcast the water pretty good, didn't it? Well, I experienced the same hydrodynamics. Only with shit and an open diaper, instead of water and a spoon.

So...if you were 13 and this was your first baby-sitting job, what would YOU do?



INCOMING CALL: 10-12-80 7:01 PM EST

Mom: Hello?

MM: MaPigpenjustshitalloverhisbedandhimselfandmyshoe!

Mom: Where are you?

MM: Inthehallwayoutsidehisroomwherehejustshitallovereverything!

Mom: All right. Calm down. Take a deep--no, don't. Breathe through your nose. Are you listening?

MM: Yesbut--

Mom: Now. Take off your shoes. Don't track anywhere.

(fumbling noises)

MM: Okay.

Mom: Where's the baby?

MM: Stillinthecribwhereheshitallover--

Mom: All right. Go run a tub. Put your elbow in the water. That's how you'll know it's not too hot for the baby.

MM: Okay.

Mom: And stop saying "shit."

MM: Yes, Mom...


Well, you don't need the whole transcript. It's amazing how that night has all come back to me. Especially that terrible gloopy spattering noise, like someone had poured about a gallon of beef stew through the back end of an electric fan. Almost as bad was the next horrible instant, when I heard about a million tiny impact sounds of hellish droplets landing...everywhere. In the crib. On the floor. All over Pig-Pen. And yes, my God, yes. On MY SHOE!!!!

I was like a passenger who suddenly found himself at the controls of a 747 and Mom talked me in for a landing. I found some rubber gloves under the bathroom sink and gingerly removed Pig-Pen from his sodden clothes. I gave him another bath and then, after the shitty water had drained out, I ran the shower on him for about 30 seconds. I didn't want to scald him, so I just ran it cold (Wow, did he squawk!). Then I toweled him good, put a brand-new diaper on him (frontwards this time), found some new jammies and laid him on the rug in his parents' bedroom, surrounded by every pillow and cushion I could find so he wouldn't roll away and down the stairs or something.

Then, still wearing the gloves (but no shoes) I got a garbage bag from the kitchen and loaded the foul jammies and crib sheets into the bag. During one of my many trips back to the hallway phone, Mom had given me some cursory instructions about running the washing machine, but frankly, my brain was full at that point. So I just marched em right out to the back porch and put the whole thing in the trash.

On the way back in, I looked under the kitchen sink for some kind of cleaning agent: Fantastik, Bon Ami, anything. All they seemed to have was Drano and a familiar spray bottle of blue fluid.

So I sprayed down the crib and the floor with half a bottle of Windex, wiping it all up with the remnants of the paper towel roll. If I had been less addled, I probably would have turned on the overhead light. But instead, there I toiled in the dim semi-circle of light from the desk lamp, wiping, wiping, like a character in a Dickens story, if Dickens had been allowed to write the word "shit." Finally, I spritzed my one shoe, wiped it furiously, then put it back on.

I carried another garbage bag of used paper towels down to the trash, then found a can of some pine-scented freshener in the bathroom and sprayed it all over Pig-Pen's room to try to clear the air. Now it smelled like someone had crapped a Christmas tree, but it would have to do. I ran back to the parents' bedroom.

No kid.

I hadn't thought about him getting up and walking away.

I almost went completely insane right there and then. But instead, I turned on the light...and found him up on his parents' bed, nestled among the pillows, sound asleep (oh thank God). I gently carried him to his crib, put him in, shut out the feeble desk lamp.

Mom was still on the phone in the hall. I told her everything was fine and hung up on her. I'm pretty sure I didn't even thank her. Such grace at 13! Such gratitude!

I almost passed out on the couch downstairs, I was so spent. I looked at the clock: it had only taken me about 90 minutes to clean up this disaster. And as it turned out, that had been barely enough time. Because about five minutes after my ass touched the sofa, the door opened and here came the parents.

How was everything, they wanted to know. Oh fine, fine, I lied. I was still in shock, to tell you the truth, and just wanted to get the hell out of there. I said I was tired. The dad drove me home and gave me my hard-earned 5 dollars as I got out of the car at my house.

Mom was waiting for me at the door. Then I did thank her (I think) and walked her back through everything I did. She tried to be shocked at me for throwing out the jammies and crib sheets, but she was already laughing too hard. The I got to the part about wiping up the shit with Windex and she lost it. So we had a right good chuckle.

Until my mom caught her breath and said, "Oh, I hope that Windex doesn't leave any streaks on the wall."

I blinked. "The wall?"

She looked at me. "Of course, you DID wipe down the wall behind the crib, didn't you? Didn't you turn on a light to see where it all landed? If it hit your shoe, for crissakes it must have hit the wall!"

I blanched. Mom was always right about these things. But I had never turned the light on to check.

If Pig-Pen's mom ever wondered why his room smelled like A Very Shitty Christmas; if she ever wondered what happened to those footed jammies and a whole set of crib sheets; if she ever noticed rivulets of dried shit on her baby's wall the next morning, she never called and said so. And for that I was extremely grateful.

But that night, I retired from baby-sitting.

I also recall announcing my pre-emptive retirement from fatherhood. "I am never ever EVER going to have a smelly, stinky baby. Not EVER," I solemnly told my mom.

She just smiled and patted my arm. "Some day--many MANY years from now--you'll forget all about this and maybe have kids of your own."

"Oh sure," I said. "Then you'll tell them this whole story and embarrass me!"

"Don't be silly," she said. "I have plenty of other stories to embarrass you with."

And, as in all other things, she was right about that too.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

OMG, Its a wonder you have any kids, eh? Lmao, I loved this story! It is funny how time helps us to forget those horror stories long enough to have kids and even want to have them. LOL! Thanks for the story!
That was great! I'm sure Pig-Pen's Mom figured out exactly what had happened.
Brilliant, knee slapping, laugh out loud. Isn't it wonderful how humor is catastrophe in retrospect.
Oh God, that was hilarious. I'm glad you changed your mind and decided to have some "smelly, stinky babies" of your own. Amazing creatures, they are. ;-)
Jesus, I enjoyed reading this. I have no spawn of my own, but when I was a summer camp counselor for disabled kids, I dealt with a shitstorm or two. Ah, memories!
I'm really glad that I found your blog. This story was absolutely hilarious. We've all been there with the poopy babies, but your account was classic.

Thanks for your work.
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