In school I learned that the human body consists of 98% water. As a father I have discovered that this principle is not only true, but that it is incredible as to how many ways that fluid can escape the body of a child.
Of course you start with the basics. At birth they come forth with a gush and continue gushing in one form or another until they leave home.
The diaper is a wonderful but ineffective device as children are equipped front and back with multi directional waste removal nozzles. It matters not if the child is male or female as they are both very effective at bypassing the diaper and marking their real target – their parents. This expulsion system seems to be activated by the presence of nice clothes or the shortage of time.
Our son, Benjamin, had the charming ability to defecate on his loving father’s dress shoes without leaving a mark on the diaper.
Tristan is the sneaky one as he would wait until the diaper was off and his unsuspecting mothers face was hovering closely over him in concern of his lack of “wee wee” in his diaper. The boy is an excellent shot and Angie reports that there is not excessive salt or sugar in his fountain of youth.
Then we have the wonderful world of projectile vomiting.
Our children would lovingly provide us with the advance warning consisting of “I think I’m going to….” followed by the immediate and forceful ejection of the previous hour’s intake all over the couch, carpet, cat, dog or anything else close by.
These situations are bad enough but add their father’s obsessive aversion to the totally natural but unpleasant reverse pump that is in our digestive tracts and it reaches a whole new level.
It seems that our family is plagued by the “psychological Spanish influenza syndrome” which is when every member in the family thinks they are coming down with the flu the minute one member of the family’s stomach goes into reverse. This was caused by the trauma of living through a particularly bad flu that ran through the family when we were visiting the family farm in Oregon.
This memorable event resulted in every member of the family on the farm coming down with the front and backdoor trots at the same time. Two bathrooms and ten people was a recipe for disaster. The only person who didn’t come down with this bug was Angie’s 18 year old cousin, Beth. She might as well have as she spent the time curled up in the corner awaiting the grim reaper. The farm resembled a commune in Central America after a Kool-Aid party. Bodies were all over the yards and in the two homes. I personally left a permanent memorial to the event in the form of a heel print into the drywall opposite the porcelain god in Uncle David’s bathroom.
With this in mind, even a mild case of the flu sends paralyzing fear through the family so when my 15 year old sister in law informed us that she didn’t feel good in the middle of the first night at the family cabin you could smell the panic rising. It was dark in the cabin so I got up and turned on a flashlight to light the way out. She made it to the rear door but didn’t quite get the screen door open in time.
I have never thought to sift the contents of one’s stomach and now I know why you shouldn’t. It is not pretty.
I helped her clean up and got her back to bed, then set about cleaning up the cabin floor and screen door. I must love my sister in law very much as I usually run like a pizza delivery man from a weight watchers’ convention at the first sign of an upset stomach. Fortunately, it was just a case of bad chili and the dreaded plague didn’t surface.
That is on this trip. Another trip was quite the different story.
We were again at the family cabin and Grandpa George came up from the farm to visit us. At that time the drinking water was from a community ladle and old milk can that you would fill from the manual pump at the well. Grandpa went back to the farm and unbeknown to us proceeded to get deathly ill. We packed up the next day and headed off for the 6 hour drive home. Three car loads of unsuspecting people headed out with many happy memories of a “successful” trip. We were blissfully unaware of the evil bug lurking in our digestive tracts.
The first carload actually made it home before exploding. The other two cars were not so fortunate. We made it to the rest stop at the half way point when the first explosion happened. It was in Angie’s car and it was our youngest, Tristan, in his car seat. He managed an even coat of liquid over himself, his seat, and the surrounding area of the van. As Angie was valiantly trying to clean him off she was passed by an elegantly dressed mother and daughter team on their way to the restroom. They stared at her as if they just had an encounter with a leper. My vehicle pulled in behind her and I managed to crawl over to the grass before collapsing. My memories of the rest of the trip is vague at best, but suffice it to say, we welcomed our arrival to home with a gang attack on our two bathrooms.