March 18 th
“Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”
“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.
Maybe I should back up a little bit. I know that I’m still very new to this being a parent thing, hell, our daughter is three months old but what this day held in store for me I didn’t sign up for when I agreed to impregnate my wife.
Earlier this morning my wife and I took our daughter to the doctors. I’ve never been a fan of doctors (what man really is?) but I like our daughter’s pediatrician.
“Hey guys, what’s going on today?” Dr. Sloan asked. As doctors do.
“Well,” my wife took control of the situation. As wives do. “Her poops have been smelling like ammonia for the past two days and we’re concerned.”
When she says “we’re concerned” she really means “she’s concerned”. I’m more old school and kept saying, “Whatever she’s got she’ll shit it out.”
“Does she have a fever?” Dr. Sloan asked.
“No.” My wife answered.
“How about a loss of appetite?”
“Has she been fussy?”
This is where I wanted to say, “See, for once, I’m right.” But as always, I wasn’t.
“Well, I’m going to write you a prescription.”
“For what?” I thought to myself. Didn’t my wife just say that our kids fine other than her poop smelling like ammonia? Well, it turns out that you need a prescription to have specialist examine your child’s stool sample. Only in America.
Scribbling on her note pad she said, “When she has her next stool sample, keep the diaper and take it to this address.” She tore the paper from her doctor notepad and handed it to us.
So I did as I was instructed. The next time baby pooped, I put the evidence into a gallon sized zip lock bag and took it to the laboratory. While signing in they place a large sandwich size zip lock bag in front of me. On it, in huge black bold capital letters read the word “BIOHAZARD”.
“Here you go.” I said, while attempting to hand them my zip lock bag full of soiled diaper.
“Ha, ha, ha…no Mr. Lassen. You have to transfer the sample from the diaper into a plastic cup. Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”
“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.
“Here are some plastic gloves for you. Bathrooms right there to your left.”
I felt dirty.
I thought to myself, “Let me get this straight. You want me to go and scrape the poop out of my daughter’s hour’s old dirty diaper with a spoon and put it in a plastic cup?” I know times are tough in this current economy but who knew that the first to be let go from laboratories were the “dirty diaper shit scrapers.”
“Make sure to get as much as you can. I find that it’s sometimes better to use the cup itself to scoop up the sample rather then use the spoon.”
I rolled up my sleeves, looked them all in the eyes, “That sounded like a challenge. And I accept you challenge.” I grabbed my bags and made my way to the bathroom. I strategically placed all the items in front of me in order of their use from left to right. First up, the green plastic gloves, so that the shit sample doesn’t get contaminated. It’s odd when the priority is to not get shit on your hands for the shits sake. “Shit getting contaminated.” It just made me laugh. All of us men are really 12 year old boys at heart and I’m no exception. Juvenile moment over, back to work.
I struggled slipping the tiny green glove over my big paw that I call a left hand.
I popped my head out of the bathroom door. “Excuse me. Can I get another glove?”
They all laughed and I was handed another green glove.
Maybe it’ll go on easier if I place it on my hand as far as it go, blow into it and it’ll inflate it?
Before I could open the bathroom door to ask for yet, another green glove, there was a knock at the door.
“Occupied.” I said prying the broken glove off my hand.
“Mr. Lassen, it sounded to us out here like you are in need of another glove.”
I opened the door and the nice man laughing handed me another green glove.
After some careful struggling, I got the gloves on.
The smell that wafted out of the zip lock bag with the grubby diaper when I un-zipped it was… well, it was not pleasant. And I grew up on a farm, so I know “unpleasant” smells. It didn’t help any that it had a few hours to ferment. I placed the plastic cup down, unscrew the cap and place it on a paper towel. I was not about to get shit all over the place except for in the cup or on my nifty green gloves. I unwrapped the spoon from its wrapper.
“What the fuck is this?”
It was a tongue depressor not a spoon.
“Great. Just great.”
While I was standing there in my tight green gloves, scraping shit out of my daughter’s soiled diaper with a tongue depressor I thought to myself, “Now, I know and have known many people with kids, and I have NEVER heard of anyone else EVER having to do this. This is the type of things parents don’t tell people thinking about having kids because if they did, those people would get a hamster instead.”
I came out of the bathroom, mission accomplished.
“Thank you Mr. Lassen.”
“Oh no, thank you for this experience.”
“Ummm, Mr. Lassen?”
“Yes.” I said proudly, expecting him to complement me on my immaculate shit scraping skills. I was wrong.
“This may not be enough. Did you get as much as you could?”
“There wasn’t much to get.”
He reached behind the counter and handed me another plastic zip lock bag with the word, “BIOHAZARD!” written on it. Inside it was a set of green plastic gloves, a plastic cup and a “spoon”.
“We may need you to collect more samples if this isn’t enough to perform all the test. We’ll call and let you know.”
“And that’s one call I’ll be looking forward to. Thank you kind sir.”
“Have a good weekend Mr. Lassen.”
“You to.” It’ll be best if I don’t have to treasure hunting in my daughter’s diaper anymore.
Oh, the things we parents do for our kids. I’m just finding out and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.
I AM The Hollywood Clown
April 23 rd
“Don’t mention Easter, they’re Jewish!!!”
“So it’s just a birthday party?”
“Yes. Remember to do a good job, they’re my cousins.”
“I always do my best.” Duh.
I did very well, as usual, and not once did I mention that it was Easter. At the end of the party, the mom handed me a bag.
“Here you go, ‘Honey Bear.’ Lollypops for the kids…” she said excitedly.
Then her voice turned to a whisper as she finished her sentence.
“The kids or the lollypops?” I whispered back.
She didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did.
I AM The Hollywood Clown.
September 7 th
“Do you know what you’re having yet?”
It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, close friend or the checkout lady at the grocery store; it’s the inevitable question that always follows once people hear that you are expecting a child. “No, we’re not finding out. As long as it’s healthy we don’t care either way.”
Then comes the look of, “Yah, right.”
But for us it’s true. And I’m sure if you ask any parent that has ever lost a child, they would agree. There is no worse feeling in the world than going to an ultra sound and having the Dr. say, “There’s no heartbeat.” I realize that it was natures way of saying that they embryo was unhealthy and it made the difficult decision for us of terminating the pregnancy. It still doesn’t make it any easier.
An acquaintance of mine had his twins born a few months premature and one of them unfortunately did not make it.
A friend of mine lost her child, days before her due date, because its umbilical chord had gotten tangled up and knotted in utero. She had to still go through a ten hour labor to give birth to a child that she would never get a chance to see it take it’s first steps, to fall in love, to laugh and cry.
One of my cousin’s and his wife had their baby born four months premature and everyday was a struggle for it to cling to life.
Notice, in the three stories above, I never revealed any of the child’s sexes? Does that make any of them less sad?
My wife and I already have a daughter, fortunately a very healthy one, with a very healthy temper to boot. We are expecting our second child in October and every time we hear from the Dr. that everything looks good, I breathe a silent sigh of relief to myself. Earlier during the pregnancy, we had to have some extra test done because the Dr.’s said that my wife’s blood test came back with things indicating that the baby might have downs syndrome. It’s great that today’s technology can give parents a heads up to something of this magnitude so that they can properly prepare both mentally and emotionally for any added challenges to the already difficult job of being a parent. Anyone with a child can attest, raising a child is hard, but raising a child with any sort of health issues makes it even harder. This type of information is important to me. I would take the info of my child being healthy over the info of its gender any day.
There are so few real pleasant surprises in life these days, I think waiting for the day that you’re your child arrives in your life and in your family to find out if you have a boy or a girl is one of the last true surprises. It’s always been funny to me how differently people act toward the baby, while it’s still in it’s mommy’s belly after they find out what it is. It will have a whole lifetime to live up to and to be categorized, like a book in a library, to it’s expected gender role, why not give it 9 months to just be a baby? Why the big hurry? But to some, the really macho guy who NEEDS to have a son because, “only a man can make a man!” (are we still cavemen?) or the people who are control freaks, I guess it is important. Nothing against my control freak friends, you’re fun to watch.
And there are some out there, you know who you are, that really do want a boy or a girl but feel that it’s taboo to admit to it. I can completely understand that if you already have a child and you only plan on having two, that it would be nice to be able to experience the parenting trials and tribulations, that one day become specific for each gender.
To me, there was no feeling like assisting in bringing my child into this world, raising them high (like in ROOTS or The Lion King), and announcing to the world that I have a daughter.
A beautiful and healthy daughter.
I AM The Hollywood Clown