‘What? Why?’ he asked.‘Oh,’ he said.
The Mop was sitting stark naked on the potty in the middle of the family room. Next to her a roll of toilet paper, her undies and her dress. She clutched her favourite toy, tears in her eyes.She had been there an hour.
I should have known better than to allow a tradie to come by at 5.30pm on a Friday. It’s not a time typically known to be particularly relaxed in most households with small children. Dinner was burning on the stove, the baby was screaming because she was hungry, the Bombshell was sulking because I wouldn’t let her start painting five minutes before dinner. And my husband was nowhere to be found.The Mop, in her own good time, had finally decided she should start using the potty. It’s been going ok, except for the bit where she had diarrhoea for a few days. Somehow, good fortune had it that she was always in a nappy at the times her bottom exploded. Like bedtime. Awesome.
Except today, when she ran inside to do a wee on the potty, her bottom decided to explode. I didn’t realise this initially, as I was making meatballs and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.‘I’m afraid of the stick,’ she wailed.
‘What stick?’ I asked. ‘Did you step on something outside?’‘No,’ she moaned. ‘The stick, I don’t like the stick.’
‘I think she means the stink, Mum’ the Bombshell said helpfully, from where she was reclining next to the potty. ‘She smells pretty awful,’ she added.‘Then move!’ I groaned. I went and sat down next to the Mop. She looked so miserable. ‘Stand up honey, and I will wipe your bottom,’ I told her. She shook her head. ‘I don’t like the stink’, she said.
‘Honey, poo always smells funny. It’s just that you haven’t noticed before because it’s been in a nappy. Trust me though,’ I added, ‘Mummy has noticed.’I tried to pull her up off the potty, and she started screaming hysterically. ‘Well you can’t stay there forever,’ I said. ‘Yes I can,’ she told me. ‘I want a nappy,’ she moaned. It’s a bit late for that, I thought.
I knew the painter guy was only minutes away at this point and decided not to risk hauling her off the potty and having her have a poo melt-down all over the walls (although, they were going to be painted in a day or two). So I went back to the meatballs.Every few minutes I would check in with her. ‘Can I wipe your bottom now?’ I would ask. ‘No. But can I have dinner?’
‘No dinner on the potty,’ I said.The doorbell rang and I invited the painter in. He said hello to all the girls, including the naked one on the potty, which I think was awesome. I hate it when people ignore my kids in their own house.
Still she sat there. She was waiting for Daddy, she said. I wondered if she thought Daddy would magically take the stink away. I had already sent him two text messages warning him of joyous task that awaited him when he got home. The second one simply read ‘she’s been on there for half an hour. HELP!’I took the painter outside to show him downpipes that needed painting. The roll of toilet paper got stuck on my foot and it rolled outside after me. He bent down and picked it up for me. Now that’s service.
Finally, after an hour my husband, the poo saviour, walked through the door. The Mop burst into tears. ‘I did poo. It stinks,’ she told him. He went to change out of his white work shirt and I took the painter out the front to look at more downpipes.A few minutes later, with a new nervous tic in his eye, my husband reappeared with a clothed and nappied Mop. ‘Got a tummy upset, has she?’ was all he asked.
Something like that.