Last week was a rough one for the Ninness Family. I was really starting to feel the pangs of absence in Orange County, while my family tumbled through their own struggles in San Diego. My wife was exhausted, up early every morning, working all day, and taking care of the kids at night; that kind of schedule will take a lot out of anyone. Then, Wednesday night, my knucklehead of a two year-old decided to crack her skull on the dining room table, sending her and my wife to the hospital for a series of check-ups, a bit of financial stressing, and two staples to the skull.
By Thursday, we were all exhausted for different reasons.
When Little One woke up in her own puke, our fears of concussion (or worse) began to pulse through our minds. I left work early, drove to San Diego, and spent the night with the girls so my wife good have a break, albeit brief. On Friday, when my kids got home from school, I took them to Orange County. I did this to both give my wife a break, because I am a great husband, but also because I am selfish, and wanted some time alone with the kids.
The children pack light. I grabbed some clothes, a few diapers, some wipes, and their pajamas. And their toothbrushes. Big One has a yellow toothbrush with Wolverine on it. Little One has a green toothbrush with The Hulk on it. Sometimes when they brush their teeth together, you can hear Big One shouting, “SHNK! Wolverine!” and Little One scream, “Ulk, MASH!” It’s adorable.
We get to Orange County and I unload the girls’ things into my basement bedroom. My mother-in-law was there, setting up a crib for Little One and laying out an assortment of toys and blankets for the girls to enjoy. Big One was upstairs, playing with toys, while Little One had followed us down the seven steps to Daddy’s temporary living quarters, watching Gram-Gram and I setup for the weekend together.
That was when I smelled the familiar stench of foul and bitter butt… I looked around the room to find Little One, squatting in the corner with her pooping-face, a mix of angry Robert DeNiro and that “duckface” thing some people do on Facebook. When she finished she flashed me a smile like nothing was wrong.
Little One is not a fan of changing her diaper. It slows her down. She has stuff to do and when we change her diaper we impede her daily progress. So when I asked her if she pooped she said the same thing she has said every time before, “No poop.”
“I think you did poop.”
She was backing up to the steps now, moving slowly away from me, and an eventual changing. My mother-in-law continued unpacking and must have pulled out the toothbrushes because that is when the unfortunate happened. Little One stood on the first step, smiling at her Gram-Gram and I before shouting, “Ulk, MASH!” She then jumped into the air and dropped her poop-filled diaper to the stair behind her, lifting her little legs in the air for maximum impact. She did this again and again while ascending the steps.
I was speechless. She was crushing her poop and, while a layman might think the poop and the hulk were unrelated, I knew better. Little One maintained eye contact as she did it over and over, moving further out of reach, shouting “Ulk, MASH!” She was smearing that poop all over her everythings and she knew it. It was malicious. My daughter was filled with malice and she was letting me know.
I waited until she got to the top before I was able to say anything. This vitriol was unlike anything I had experienced with her before. By then it was too late. I stuttered, “I need to change your-” She was gone, off gallivanting around the living room with her older sister.
I turned, stunned to my mother-in-law. “Did you see that? She smashed her poop at us!”
Gram-Gram smiled her always-there smile and said, “Yeah. She did. That was cute.”
Gram-Gram made her way up the stairs and called back to me, “I’ll change her. Don’t worry.”
My mother-in-law shut the door behind her and chased after the younglings. I am not ashamed to say that I actually let my mother-in-law change that diaper while I finished unpacking, the whole time wondering when my wife would be coming up to Orange County… I needed a break.