This is a guest post by my sister, Rita Spann. She’s hilarious. For more of her laugh-out-loud content, follow her on Instagram: @ritas.digest
I can’t believe it’s only been a week. I’m watching H pretend a chunk of cheese is a pirate ship at the dining table. He’s taking a brief break from playing to scarf down some lunch. His legos are spread out all over the living room, there’s a tent set up in his bedroom and there are crayon marks on the coffee table. Lucy and Thomas’s home is now officially a kid zone.
Having a front row seat to this seismic shift in my big sister’s life has been wild.
Becoming a Parent
This time last week, Lucy and I were putting new sheets on H’s bed. She said “Should I have washed these? I mean, I guess I’ll probably be changing them soon. I think little boys are pretty dirty.”
I said “But don’t kids take baths every night?”
Lucy responded “Ugh. I think so. That seems pretty excessive. But I don’t know, they are pretty low to the ground…”
I started cracking up. “Low to the ground?!? Are you ready for this?”
Lucy shrugged. “We’ll see.”
When Thomas got home that night he got started installing a baby gate at the foot of the stairs while Lucy read a book about raising kids who have experienced trauma called “The Connected Child” out loud to him.
Between my sister the planner and her husband the doer, they were going to be as ready as possible.
The Truth About Parenthood
I think the truth is, no one is really ready for parenthood regardless of the circumstances. I realize that this isn’t a particularly hot take, but bearing witness to H’s first week here and watching Lucy and Thomas learn-on-the-go has brought that fact into glaring focus for me. Figuring out what to feed him, teaching him to wash his hands, setting up a bedtime routine. They’re doing an incredible job, but I mean, how can anyone know how to do all this stuff? But once you have a kid and it needs to eat, and be clean, and go to bed, it turns out you have no choice but to figure it all out.
And now that I’m on the topic of “having no choice” and “figuring it out on the go”, I happened to have an opportunity to rise to the parenting challenge myself this week.
H arrived last Friday. We three adults played with him and got to know him all weekend and then Lucy and Thomas went back to work on Monday. H couldn’t start his new daycare until after MLK Day so I happily volunteered to spend the day with him.
We woke up and said goodbye to Lucy and Thomas and I made H some scrambled eggs, bacon, and apple juice. He was eating his breakfast and watching a cartoon (allowed on weekends and, if I’m babysitting, holidays) when all of a sudden he jumped up and said “I have to go to the bathroom!” and darted full speed out of the room. I ran after him and by the time I got on the scene his pants were down and he was peeing in the toilet, liquid poop was shooting out of his butt, and he was bawling.
Poop-splosion: A Part of Parenting
Nothing in my life so far equipped me for this situation.
I had literally no idea what to address first, the tears or the poop. I took a deep breath and opted for tears.
“It’s okay buddy! Accidents happen. Let’s get you out of these clothes.”
I stripped the still sobbing kiddo down and set him in the bathtub.
“It’s okay buddy. We’re gonna get you all cleaned up!”
Gagging, I mopped up the bulk of the poop so I could get next to the tub.
“You don’t have to cry H, we’re gonna get you all cleaned up.”
I turned the faucet on, stood him up, and poured cups of water over his little legs and scrubbed him down. Once I got him cleaned up I ran the bath water and he sat down, stopped crying, and started playing with a toy boat. Tears handled, I got to work cleaning and disinfecting.
I told H “You see, no big deal. But next time we’re going to go to the bathroom earlier, aren’t we? We’re going to go in the toilet, not the floor, right?”
After the impromptu morning bath we took a walk with the dog, went on some quests, played hide-and-seek, ate lunch, and had a generally excellent day all around. And just before Lucy and Thomas got home there was another poop. This one solid, and in the toilet.
And I was MORE than prepared to deal with it.