Holidays, fork-mashed with sweet potatoes and breast milk. Part three.
After the initial incident with the fireflies, our first real away-from-home stint with the babies was a success. An exhausting success, but a success all the same. By the time we were packed up and ready to make the journey back home, I was drooling over the idea of a four hour date with my pillow in the front seat of the car while Kyle drove. We had the babies in clean diapers, cozied up in pajamas and ready to be tucked into their car seats for some quality car-slumber. As we said our goodbyes, Kyle's mom held Quin up and made a face. "I think he pooped."
"Nope," I said, offering an optimistic and perhaps slightly desperate smile. "We just put him in a clean diaper. It's probably gas."
She gave him another sniff. "It's poop."
I took Quin from her, ready to prove the gas theory. I took a deep breath in. It didn't smell like gas. It didn't smell like poop - at least not any baby poop I'd ever been acquainted with. It didn't smell like anything that should be coming out of an innocent and squishy little baby. I sent Kyle to dig the diaper bag out of our warming and packed car, and set Quin down on the floor. Within seconds, one of the dogs ran over to him and started sniffing and licking. It was as I reached down to intervene that I noticed the green soupy seepage coming through the back of his pajamas and making a trail on the floor behind him. I flashed to the image of my soft and warm pillow in the front of the car. I wanted to be there. So tired. So close to making it home without major incident.
I picked Quin up and held him out at arms length in a feeble attempt to remain sludge-free. He swung his legs and cooed. Where the hell was Kyle? Hadn't I sent him for the diaper bag, like, five minutes ago? I looked around the kitchen at Kyle's family. I offered an "I'm totally relaxed right now" smile. Quin cooed and kicked. My arms burned. Where the hell was Kyle? I attempted a casual yell to Kyle's brother who was heading out to pack up his own car: "can you ask Kyle to hurry up? Maybe let him know that Quin has poop running down his legs and all over the place? Maybe remind him that I'm waiting for a diaper?" I offered a totally non-desperate smile. I scanned the room again at the smiling faces of Kyle's family.
When you try to have a baby for years, it's easy to fall into the thinking that when it finally happens, you'd better be damn good at it. Like you have to prove your worthiness. That all your heartache and pain and wanting was well spent because LOOK at those parenting skills that are finally able to be put to use. I try to ignore these thoughts, and in the privacy of my own mind, I usually can. But in front of other people? I am a crazed woman on a mission to prove my worth and competence as a maternal figure.
Holding Quin out at an increasingly weak arm's length, these thoughts took over. Must do something competent! screamed the nagging little voice that had convinced me of fireflies the previous evening. I shot a pleading glance toward the doorway, willing Kyle to walk through. No Kyle. I looked around and weighed my options. Remove the pajamas. Simple. Efficient. Necessary.
I unzipped Quin's pajamas and pulled his arms out. Without his arms to hold them up, his poop-laden pj's slid off his legs and landed on the floor in a squishy, sopping heap. Poop splattered on the floor. It splattered the cabinets next to us. It splattered the wall in front of us. It ran off his legs and landed in heavy wet plops below. The room started to spin. Must look competent. Do something! Do something! More plops. I saw the smiling and expectant faces of Kyle's family. More plops. As if the heavens had opened in a festive holiday poop storm. Do something! I shot a last desperate look to the door, and there was Kyle. His eyes wide, taking in the scene. Me, standing in the middle of the kitchen, holding our now mostly-naked-save-for-the-copiously-poop-filled-diaper baby out at arms length, a puddle of mushy poop below us, totally frozen. Seconds passed, our gazes locked. Plop, plop, plop.
"I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!" The words burst out of me, louder and harsher than I'd probably have chosen if I'd had any warning that I was about to speak. And without warning I repeated it. "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!"
And then time started again. Kyle's sister came to me and gently ushered us into the bathroom. We got Quin washed up, re-diapered, into clean pajamas. The asshole in my head kept us company the whole way.
Into the bathroom. You bring a poop-covered child into the bathroom. Bathrooms have water and soap.
Kitchens are a bad place for poop.
Weren't you the one who wanted babies more than anything in the world? You, who doesn't know how to handle a poopy diaper?
Nicely played. Way to show that you're a natural.
And so on and so forth. We said our goodbyes. I attempted some casual laughter and smiled and offered seventeen feeble apologies for the poop-covered kitchen.
We drove home. I drifted in and out of sleep, stewing in my mortification and carrying on quite the internal dialogue.
Are you kidding? Everyone noticed!
This sort of thing happens all the time.
No. No it doesn't.
You're a new mom. Of twins!
And you did a bang-up job of demonstrating your motherly prowess.
And so on and so forth.
I later learned that as a last show of competence, we accidentally left the poop covered pajamas sitting in a mushy bundle on the floor, leading to Kyle's sister having to wash the pajamas and Kyle's mother having to transport them back home for us. Which I believe kind of seals the deal on everyone remembering this for a very long time.