Will’s birthday was Wednesday. We had discussed all of our birthdays together, since we’re all within 12 days of each other, and decided without hesitation that any birthday budget would absolutely go for Stella’s birthday. More on that in another blog, I’m sure. Still, I hated the fact that Will’s would pass without any kind of fanfare at all. Back in “the day,” he and I would simply pick a Saturday or Sunday and run down to New Orleans for a day in the Quarter as a way to celebrate together. We did that every single year. This year that was not an option. Even if we had the funding, I don’t think it would be quite the same if I couldn’t have a couple glasses of cab to wash down chicken wings or beignets.
Still, I had to do SOMETHING. Stella’s not quite old/cooperative enough for arts and crafts projects, so painting a ceramic mug or doing a set of plaster handprints isn’t practical. By process of elimination, that left cooking. I decided I’d make my pumpkin pie and do a surf and turf using steak and salmon I had found in the chest freezer looking for mmmmmm-pizza. Since Will never goes in the freezer, I figured that would be a surprise. The pumpkin pie is strange and unseasonal, but Will loves it and it only required me purchasing a graham-cracker crust and a can of pumpkin. All other ingredients were in the pantry already. I rushed home from work Tuesday to make the pie before he got home from work and hid everything else in plain sight – the best hiding place in the world. He was surprised and enjoyed a big piece of pie for his birthday breakfast.
Fast forward to dinner, and all was right with the world. I had already fed Stella and he and I were sitting down to eat while she watched cartoons. It was one of those surreal mom-moments when you just know something’s not right. At first glance, she was hanging out in front of the TV, singing and dancing a bit. Will had taken off her clothes earlier, so she was just chilling in a diaper before I put her PJs on. I noticed her digging in the back of her drawers and didn’t initially think much of it. By the end of the day, she sometimes has a bit of a heat rash, so that’s nothing new. I looked closer.
Yep, her fingers were smeared with poo. So was the baby fence in front of the TV and god knows what else. I said “Oh Shit.” Will said “What?” I said “Shit.” He said “What?” It was a huge Abbott and Costello moment. I had dreaded this day ever since having a child. Almost every mom I’ve ever met has a poo-painting story. I guess mine could have been worse.
I don’t know what single parents do in these cases. I grabbed the kid and, more importantly, her hands to keep from any additional smearage. Will went immediately to run the bath while his birthday dinner congealed on the counter. He washed the baby while I decon-ed the living room. Somehow, she had even gotten poo in one of my shoes. I finished first and sent Will back to resume eating while I dried, lotioned, and PJd the kid.
It was a memorable birthday for my husband. I think Stella’s true gift to her father was a lesson: don’t remove pants/shorts with impunity as it does provide an extra layer of poo protection.