Human waste. Bodily secretions. Discharges. Emissions. Call them what you will, but these are the bane of my existence. My entire life has been spent avoiding these at all costs. First, as a grade school boy, I utterly detested the loogies that my friends would hurl across the playground during recess. Disgusting! I would have nothing to do with the farting contests. Gross! And I would never ever go #2 at school. Ever.
Moving ahead to my college years, and I saw an uptick in my exposure to vomit. But no matter how much I drank or how nauseous I was, my vomit would only be expelled in the privacy of my own room. I felt horrified to let others watch as my waist constricted three sizes smaller and my mouth opened wider than a snake eating a chicken. College also saw an uptick in expulsion of my DNA, especially during interactions with other equally amorous persons, but that particular secretion is beyond the scope of this blog. However, suffice it to say that with the AIDS crisis during my college years, ANY exposure or contact with bodily fluids would blow the anxiety level through the roof. I’m sure that has led to my hyper vigilance in regard to said fluids.
Now here I am, a middle age parent, and with that comes a new set of issues. My bladder insists on feeling like it’s going to explode at the most inopportune times: car rides with the children and no restrooms in sight that can easily be visited with three kids in tow, or just as I’m fiddling with front door key, trying desperately to get it into the keyhole while holding my bladder as well as my one-year old in my arms, and then finally getting in the door but getting beat to the toilet by two toddlers who “really really have to go.”
I’m in a happy monogamous marriage, so the past issues of sharing body fluids are just that – a thing of the past. At 52 and with three kids, we may not see my DNA as frequently as we would like, but this is also beyond the scope today! Puking is also few and far between, since I barely drink alcohol or spend time at bars. Occasionally I’ll eat some bad sushi, but it’s rare.
Ah yes, but now I have the three boys who have given me new fluid experiences. First there’s the pee. I lecture and lecture about aiming when one pees in the toilet, but still I find more urine outside the toilet and on the seat than in the toilet itself. I also plead with them to please please remember to flush after pooping, but still I’m left with a pleasant surprise waiting for me when I enter the bathroom, which is sometimes hours after they’ve made their deposit. It’s gotten to the point where now every time I enter a bathroom I immediately flush FIRST.
Of course, unlike our two older toddlers, our one-year old is nowhere near potty-trained, so I have to deal with the diaper changes that have taught me that poop comes in many varieties of color, amount, consistency, and odor. I’m not fond of any of them. And I’ll do anything not to change a diaper in front of another grown-up. It brings me right back to grade school. And I certainly don’t want to discuss the varieties, amount, etc., with anyone. Sometimes I will get detailed reports from our one and only babysitter after her time with the baby, including the types of secretions, frequency, etc. Please, just tell me everything went well and leave it at that.
Since our one-year old has been fighting a cold and fever for the last three days, I’ve been battling the attack of the fluids. There’s no way he has a mean bone in his body, but I could swear he is trying to infect me with a rhinovirus or two. He has coughed in my face. He has tried to pry my lips open with a snotty finger just for the fun of it. He has pointed his nose right at me and sneezed rainbow-colored secretions. He has thrown up various amounts of milky white vomitus over much of my arms, chest, and clothes. I’ve had to pick his nose (since these said secretions do dry up) and wipe his rear more times than I can count.
Finally I throw in the towel and put up the white flag. I surrender to it. I come to terms with my pending illness. My husband the doctor says to count seven days after one of our boys gets a cold, and that will be when mine will start, and of course he’s right. It comes with the territory. So the boys will start feeling better and I will start feeling worse. And right about then I will roll over and whisper lovingly into my husband’s ear these two words for him: “Start counting.”