Painting with Poo

2 08 2011

I see a glob the size of a flattened tennis ball askew on the green foam star by the gate before entering the nursery. I look up a bit and see Sidney squatting, wearing only her diaper, finger painting with a moss-green colored substance.

This substance is poo. 

I pause while I stare at Sidney’s smiling face as she runs her fingers through the e-coli laden poo in arches around her. There are books upon books surrounding her. I can see smears of poo on their covers and bindings.

My stomach clenches and I wish for my husband to magically appear to save me from this germy mess.

I enter the nursery and pick up a happy Sidney, her arms held out wide as I hold her a foot away from me while walking down the hallway. I place her into the freshly sanitized tub. I ruminate over the irony; while I was disinfecting the bathroom my daughter was infecting her baby-proofed nursery just fifteen feet down the hall.

I turn on the water then peel off the adhesive on her diaper and see in surprise, whole pieces of mango from two days prior and a piece or two of blueberry from that morning’s breakfast. I quickly glance around me and realize I have nothing to put the horridly messy diarrhea-laden diaper into.

I walk backwards keeping my eye on Sidney as she plays in inches of feces-infested water complete with floating chunks of undigested fruit and other unidentified objects formerly known as food. I fumble to open the cabinet with one hand, trying to use the magnetic key to disengage the safety mechanism on the other side of the door and then open the door with my only two clean fingers left. At least I hope they’re still clean.

Diaper disposed, I sigh and face the reality of the work ahead of me. I throw my husband’s safari-printed towel on the ground to kneel on and grab Sidney’s washcloth. Lathering it up I drain the tub once and then again, willing the chunks to whittle down the drain. A soaped up Sidney squats to play with the moving chunks despite my feeble attempt at redirecting her attention. I’m still too engrossed in the horror to be mindfully present and wondering how many books will have to meet the fate of the trash.

Minutes later and freshly clean in a new outfit from the Gap Outlet store I place Sidney in her decorative crib and throw every toy within my reach inside. I figure this will buy me ten minutes of speed cleaning.

I set my mind quickly to task and grab a roll of paper towels and a CVS shopping bag for trash.

Throwing rhymed and pleasant words away with their colorful illustrations of animals and cheery outdoor days makes me wonder if doing so will entice bad omens. Fortunately only one book I deemed hazardous waste and the remainder, with only a smear or two, I cleaned with the god-sent Seventh Generation disinfecting spray. Later that night I steam-clean the books for added measure. I ponder whether anyone has ever done this before.

Every child has a poo story and I look forward to embarrassing Sidney at a family dinner 16 years from now with hers.