It was 9:45 A.M. on Wednesday morning. Ordinarily at this time I would have been at work in Center City Philadelphia, but now three weeks into motherhood, I was standing in the kitchen holding my newborn daughter.
Like all new moms, I instantly bid farewell to modesty, vanity and sleep and was now at the mercy of a mini-human whose schedule revolved around sleeping, eating, pooping and crying.
As far as my new wardrobe, I traded business casual attire for the middle school gym teacher look defined by old t-shirts, shorts, a disheveled ponytail and a cosmetic collection that consists of a stick of deodorant and a tube of chap stick.
I had just finished rinsing off a pacifier and putting it on the drying rack when I locked eyes with my daughter. I know that at three weeks old a baby’s vision is equivalent to that of a legally blind person, but she was staring so intently at me. Chalk it up to hormones, lack of sleep or that sobering “I have a baby” feeling, but suddenly I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I embraced this obvious mother-daughter bonding moment…
Then I heard it… a loud gurgling rumble in her tiny belly registering at about a 5.3 on the abdominal Richter scale. I knew that rumble. It was the kind of rumble that you usually only experience when you’re in a quiet setting like a staff meeting or a doctor’s office surrounded by a lot of people, and you can feel your face getting red because you know that everyone heard the rumble and most of them assume it was a fart, and you just want to stand up and announce “it wasn’t a fart, it was just one of those weird stomach rumble things.”
With no other warning, the rumble was followed by a loud forceful squirt (think squeezing-the last-bit-of-ketchup-out-of-the-plastic-bottle-squirt), and baby diarrhea with the color and consistency of spicy brown mustard shot out the side of her diaper all over the front of my t-shirt. Before I could even react, an aftershock soon followed, but this time the stray mustard poop bullets bypassed my shirt and instead grazed the side of my shorts and splattered all over my socks and the kitchen floor.
Obviously the poop explosion killed the mother-daughter bonding moment. As I patiently endured a long 30-second waiting period to see if a third squirt was looming before cleaning up, the door bell rang. I peeked out the window and saw the UPS driver standing there with a package and that small electronic signature pad device for me to sign. You’ve got to be kidding me. Do I ignore him or boldly answer the door in my poop-covered state?
I put about 2.2 seconds of thought into it before concluding that I should just answer the door. He’s a UPS driver… He delivers hundreds of packages a week, and he’s probably greeted by all walks of life, like pervy men in their tighty-whities, senile old ladies offering him shortbread cookies, and vicious pitbulls trying to lunge at his crotch as their owners struggle to restrain them. A little baby diarrhea was probably the most benign thing he encountered all day.
I marched to the front door, opened it and smiled at him, hoping that my pearly whites and an irresistibly cute newborn would distract him from the fact that I was covered in human excrement. No such luck. He had a look of disgust on his face as he pushed the signature pad towards me and blurted out, “um, you need to sign this.” I shamelessly took my time signing the pad and waved goodbye as he sped away from poopville. I retreated back into the house, cleaned up the mess and slipped into a clean t-shirt and pair of shorts, the perfect canvas for another diaper mishap.