Sep 20, 2005

"Mommy, I have a tummy ache"

9/20/2005 — cori
If you ever hear those words fall off the lips of my beloved middle child, Bennett, you might consider two options at your disposal. One, run and hide. Or two, reach for the the nearest HAZMAT suit. You might even want to have an extra one on hand.

These words were spoken to us the other night as we were on our way to a small gathering at church. Bennett never acts sick until he is. The malodorous odor permeating the minivan should have clued us into the fact that this was more than just a 'tummy ache'. We were about to be dealing with harmful, chemical odors here.

Chuck & I both figured that the lunch we ate (6 hours ago) did not sit well on poor Bennett's tummy. Before we left him in the hands of the unsuspecting and innocent child care worker, Chuck decided to take him to the potty. Come to find out, the odor that enveloped us in the car was not only in the gaseous state - there was matter attached to it. Actually, more accurately put, the matter was attached to Bennett's Batman underwear. We no longer own that particular pair anymore. Chuck had no idea how to clean diarrhea out of big boy pants - so he opted to let his son go 'commando' instead. Great. Now I have a somewhat smelly child running commando in the church. We are looking like the great Christian parental influence they desire to become apart of their congregation, I'm sure.

We enjoyed visiting with the other adults for nearly an hour. At that point, I thought I should run and check on the kids. The babysitter said that Bennett was rather quiet, choosing to just sit in the corner. I remember thinking how odd it was that the room still smelled of Bennett's previous episode.

I went over to my sweet child and asked him how he was feeling. He said he was fine, except that his tummy still hurt. I asked if he would like me to take him to the potty (there was a bathroom attached to the room). The rest of the events are still rather blurry to me. After you see a large, wet, tan colored mass fall out of your son's shorts as he rises from the corner, one tends to fall into a trance like state (I should know, it has happened to me often enough). Thanks to Daddy, we were commando, so there was nothing there to catch the mass as it landed on the carpet. The malodorous smell magnified. I almost fainted. My knees grew weak. I don't deal with smelly situations well - especially in front of other people.

With all the dignity I could muster, I continued to walk across the room with my poor child. The bathroom seemed like it was a mile away. It was the only safe place I could think of going. More remnants fall as we pass the onlookers and maneuver our way through toys. No one who witnessed that event will ever be the same. You may as well throw away the toys.

Once we made it to the bathroom, I had not a clue what to do. I asked Bennett what happened and he said he didn't know. The poor child never had diarrhea before and was unaware of the particular urges associated with that awful phenomenon. My mind was blank. I could think of nothing. I felt myself falling away to a far off place. Then a whiff of reality brought me back to the here and now. Suddenly the solution was clear - run and get Chuck. I did not have to handle this crisis alone! Thank God!!!

As I make my way back to the small gathering, it was obvious that I was interrupting. It didn't take much for one to figure out that we were having issues with a child and an 'accident'. I guess I gesture with my hands way to much when I talk (or even whisper, for that matter). The kind pastor offered to let Bennett sit in his office for the remainder of the meeting. We declined rather heartily for fear of being banished from the church - we still had our pride.

Feeling confindent that Chuck was in control of the situation, I calmly sat back and enjoyed the rest of the gathering - far, far away from any smells that didn't resemble coffee. However, once Chuck made it back to the 'war zone' he was overcome with that same sense of gagging that rendered me useless. He said that he stood there for a good 5 minutes just talking to Bennett stalling for time and ideas.

Being that Bennett is almost 4, we don't carry an extra set of clothes or big boy pants with us everywhere we go. After this experience, however, you will see a duffel bag in my trunk that is packed with an extra change of clothes for my entire family. Experience dictates that you NEVER know when you will need an extra change of clothes. Chuck decided to sit Bennett in the sink and rinse him off. This was a pedestal sink. It took him 20 minutes to accomplish this task. We couldn't take him home in the condition he was in. And, we couldn't parade him through the church naked on our way to the car. We had a dilemma. Thank God for size 6 diapers. I think Bennett was more mortified by the fact that he was wearing a diaper than by the entire event that just played itself out before him.

Why couldn't this have happened at home before we got to church? Why did it have to happen that day? Why did it have to happen at all? Haven't I had my share of poopy stories to last me 10 lifetimes? Haven't I learned anything from my years of potty training Bennett? Hasn't Bennett learned anything from those same years? If you think these things seem to happen to me quite frequently, you are right. We need to form some type of committee to look into this phenomenon.

God, in His mercy, knew this was going to happen, when it was going to happen and how it was going to happen and he let it happen anyways. I guess God can even use poopy to teach us. Evidently, we listen faster and learn our lesson quicker when overcome with a malodorous odor.

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