Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Toddler's Precious

This post is not to be read by pregnant-with-first-child women, nor by women who'd think having another baby. It also goes without saying that any man who'd consider parenting in the near, medium, or far future should look away, too. 

"What makes them tick?" - This is one of the numerous imponderable questions that come around us. Sure, normally "them" is replaced by "women" but life has taught me to seize any opportunity to shut up, so I won't take that path. Thus: women - far too complicated and dangerous; men - we have one desire, one sentence could easily describe it, not worth debating.

However, what I've discovered is what toddlers want and cherish the most. What is that precious thing that they will fight to the death for when you try to take it away from them? Is that a toy? Is that food? Maybe the TV? None of the above. What they really really really have a hard time to part with is .... shit. And I do not mean this as an umbrella term like, say, "music that teenagers listen to nowadays" or "my raise last-this-next year". Not at all. I mean exactly what that is: feces, poo, crap, you name it.

It must be that, for there's no other way to explain how on earth an otherwise adorable kid turns into such a little demon when it comes to have the nappy removed. It all starts with the making of it. As sneaky as it gets. When the nappy becomes olfactorily aggressive, we decide to take him upstairs. It's fascinating how could a small child of 18 months could defy the physics by trebling his weight when he doesn't want to be taken. And not only that, but also throwing his arms in the air and becoming slippery, so you'd be more successful holding a fish in your hands than him.

And, when you finally manage to place him on the changing table, o, my god!, the hell breaks loose. He's writhing like a wounded beast and screams his lungs out, as if you're trying to teach him geometry, not just cleaning him. This brings you on the verge of snapping and you get flashes of your life and really wish to have paid more attention at that ad in Bangkok's airport that advertised vasectomy in half an hour. Just right between two planes.

Now, don't get the wrong message from this. There are good days and bad days. Good days are, for instance, when the poo comes all the way through the pants, smearing the rompers to a point that it cannot be taken out anymore without a pair of scissors and thrown directly in the chemical bin. The bad days are about the same, with a slight change of the decor: we're either at the airport, or it's 5 minutes before you need to go to a job interview and put on your best Sunday shirt and the writhing has gone a bit too far.

But, when the storm subsides, when the new nappy has replaced the old, he gives you that wide happy smile, as if nothing has happened. Of course, that annoys you even more, for it just shows that he's fine with this, but plays tricks on you. And you can't wait to see him grown up so you can tell him then how much you put up with his shit. Literally!