Listen, I can go back and try to explain the why and how my daughter’s turd ended up in my hand but at the end of the day absolutely nothing was going to change one simple fact: my daughter’s turd ended up in my hand.
And I was at work.
This, of course, wasn’t supposed to happen. I simply thought that bringing my daughter back to the office for the last hour of the work day would be an opportunity to create a special memory for her, something she could look back on with fondness one day.
“You want colors and markers?” I’d ask, knowing how much she’d light up with excitement. “Now draw daddy a nice picture, baby!”
She’d then get to see her daddy talk on the phone, compose a few e-mails and hear some Pandora; I’d create a station of songs straight out of the Nick Jr. catalog. And if she got tired she could fall asleep on my couch.
It didn’t exactly turn out that way.
“Uh, oh, daddy…”
When my daughter utters these words I go into check down mode, scanning the vicinity for anything broken, spilled, knocked over, torn, ripped, in pain or unconscious. This time, I knew exactly what the “uh-oh” was before she could say the word “daddy.” Because I could smell what she was talking about.
We now cut to the bathroom scene; there I am kneeling atop the bathroom floor, clutching the pungent turd like a savage holding a still-beating heart in some Indiana Jones flick, the runaway piece of crap that almost made its way under the next stall.
There’s my daughter, staring at my hand and frozen in disbelief and disgust (as was I) before turning her attention back to me. Her big brown eyes taking pity on me, she broke the silence by repeatedly asking, “Daddy, what happened?”
“You have the audacity to ask me what the hell just happened? You didn’t give me so much as a grunt much less a warning that you wanted to take a dump in my office,” I wanted to say but clearly didn’t given the fact that she’s just shy of her third birthday.
“Daddy wasn’t prepared, sweetheart,” I muttered. Now whatever you do, don’t…move…a…muscle.”
It’s true; I was unprepared, thus confirming the notion (my wife’s really) that for good amounts of time during the day I am a moron. I had no baby wipes; those were left back at daycare. We’re smack dab in the middle of potty training, but ask me if I had an extra pull-up handy? That, too, would be a resounding “no.”
Imagine you’re the guy walking into a men’s room only to hear the following:
“Poop is for the potty, sweetheart. Big girls don’t poop on the floor.”
What goes through my mind during a situation like this, you ask? Was I going through the litany of excuses to tell my boss for the chaos that was the company bathroom?
No, that would have been the logical thing to do. Instead it was a damn song I couldn’t get out of my head from one of my daughter’s favorite cartoons, Ni Hao, Kailan.
What can we try? It’s up to me and you. We’ll figure out (clap-clap-clap) what to do.
In MacGyver-like fashion, I separated a small stack of paper towels into three categories: wet and soapy, wet and dry. By the time I was finished cleaning up that crime scene, Dexter himself would have been impressed. Ava and I exchanged no words; it was understood that we wouldn’t talk about what had just transpired.
Glimpsing in the rearview mirror on the way home, I saw Ava staring out the window at passing cars. It was that magical moment kids go through when the excitement of the day has caught up to them and they begin to fall asleep. As she continues to grow and develop, well, so do I as a parent. It’s highly debatable that she’ll be looking back on this day with fondness.
But I will.