My cousin has this two and a half year old that looks and acts unsettlingly like a high-pitched midget version of myself. Lil, like most toddlers is precious as hell with her big eyes, chubby cheeks and “I lisp just enough to be adorable without appearing to be Perez Hilton.” But by god, the independence and attitude of this girl gives the lie to the apparent cuteness. She’s recently decided she’s had enough of nappies and graduated herself into underpants of her own accord. A few weeks ago I wandered over to pilfer some wine and dinner, and Lil proudly displayed to me her ‘big girl knickers’ that she demanded her mother buy. I showed her my big girl knickers too and my cousin yelled at me for encouraging her daughter to be a big ol’ hussy like her Aunt Inga. Lil and I get on well.
Over the Easter weekend, my cousin asked if I’d mind taking Lil for a few hours while she and hubby went out to dinner. Sure, says I. We had a merry old time watching Winnie the Pooh movies and building cubby houses out of blankets, then:
“I need to go…the toilet.”
Now children and toilet habits have always confused me. At what point do you trust them to wipe themselves? At what age is it inappropriate to bring your son into the ladies’ room with you? How the hell do you teach a boy how to aim that thing? I just don’t get it, and hopefully I never will.
None of this helped in my present situation. Lil had already taken off her trousers, and was standing in front of the loo in a nappy. Nappy?
“Lil, where are your big girl knickers?”
“I’ll go get them!”
“Noooo you won’t. Stand still.”
I squinted at the nappy for a moment. I was hoping it was one of those ‘pull up’ thingies I’d seen on the TV with the creepy rapping kid, but alas, they appeared to be a regular pair fixed in place with voodoo and double sided tape.
“Lil, how the f*** do I get these off?”
Blank look. Ok. I fiddled around, yanked hard, down they came and…
SWEET MERCIFFUL SPAGHETTI MONSTER, THAT’S ACTUAL POO.
I plonked Lil down on the dunny and told her to finish doing whatever she had to do while I went hunting for gloves, disinfectant and a high-pressure gurney. I was rifling through her bedroom looking for equipment when I heard her singing happily from the other end of the house.
“Lil! Get back in the toilet! Stay out of the kitchen!! Oh my god, is that poo on your hands?!”
I scrubbed her hands (and mine) vigorously with antibacterial soap, then let her run off while I pondered what to do with her backside. Eventually I unearthed wet wipes and a new nappy. Random, awkward wiping ensued.
“Ok Lil, I have a nice clean nappy for you!”
She stood obediently in front of me while I unfolded the apparatus and stared at it in mute bewilderment. For a full five minutes I tried to wrap it around her while she was standing up, before realizing I’d never seen a single sane person try to re-diaper an upright child.
“Maybe you should lie down, kiddo.”
Down she flopped, and in no time at all I had her taped and swaddled. Granted, one fastener was up near her armpit and the other somewhere around her left knee, but she seemed content with my effort. We resumed our cubby-house architecture.
Forty minutes later I noticed a grim odour wafting from her general direction.
“Lil, have you pooed again?”
“Are you sure? Maybe we should go to the toilet again just in case you-” ….
…HOLY MOTHER OF GOD HOW DID YOU MAKE ALL THAT POO?!
I tore off the demon faeces nappy with a sound that was half-sob, half-retch, threw it in a corner, dumped her back on the toilet and bolted to get the wipes.
“Are you all finished now?”
“Ok, let’s clean your tushie and-“ …
..OH SEVEN HELLS POO ON THE TOILET SEAT POO ON MY HANDS OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGOD I’M GONNA DIE I’M GONNA DIE
Five hundred and eighty wet wipes and ninety dry reaches later, Lil and I were watching cartoons and cuddling on the couch when her slightly tipsy parents came home.
“Lil-leee! Were you a good girl for Aunty Inga?”
Lil and I exchanged a look, and I know we were both silently vowing to visit a cocktail bar together in sixteen years and forget the whole sorry episode.
Seriously, I’m not having kids.