Holy Sh- -!
Let’s face it, when you have a baby, you contemplate everything that goes into his or her body. In turn, whether you admit it or not, you also become oddly preoccupied with what comes out, too. Yes, parenthood makes even those with the purest minds and weakest stomachs more at ease with the scatological.
My own encounters with dirty diapers during my daughter’s first year of life yielded an array of emotions: sheer awe, given the volume and odor of the product compared to the miniature size and sweetness of the producer; mild annoyance (and, perhaps, envy), given the frequency of her BMs in a single day; and acute humiliation, often (thankfully) resulting in humor, given the public settings she, or her GI tract, rather, deemed appropriate for, well, pooping. One particular incident that resulted in the last sentiment in this list will remain eternally ingrained in my memory.
Not devoutly anything but curious and questioning and a new parent, I felt obligated to seek out a church and expose my daughter early on to religion and God. Married to a surgical resident, I had grown accustomed through the years to going places alone; this changed, of course, with my daughter’s birth, but oh, how I wished, this one Sunday, especially, there had been another person, an adult, okay, my husband, with whom to share this experience, or rather, divide up the embarrassment.
Throughout the service that morning, I nursed Violet intermittently to nourish her, and, honestly, to keep her quiet. Then, the time came to receive communion. I decided, what the heck, I’ll do it. So what if I feel like an impostor. What matter the last time I did this, I think. I don’t know these people from Adam, ha. I stand in the queue, bouncing Violet, who seems remarkably happy, and observing those ahead of me eating what has always looked to me like an oyster cracker and drinking a sip of what is probably store brand, maybe Publix, grape juice. Then, I am next. I feel a peculiar surge of anticipation and guilt, and I wonder if those already seated can see through my impersonation of a mom with Faith. If only I could pause my inner monologue long enough to do something, anything, this, in peace. The walk back to my seat seems to take as long as my wait in line. I am pleased, nonetheless, because I have completed communion. My mom would be proud of me, I think to myself. Church members beam at me, as if to say, “Nicole, you did it” and “Look at that adorable baby. So well-behaved we didn’t know show she was here.” This must be what fellowship is, so I momentarily deduced. Smiles turned to puzzled looks, which turned to snickers. I sat down to discover that my daughter had shat out the side of her diaper and the stool had formed a stripe down the front of my denim skirt. At that moment, I put all the faith I had in the packet of baby wipes in my purse.
Aah parenthood. Now, that’s dramatic.