September 23rd, 2009
Parenthood is not just about doing things that you’ve never done before, it’s also about not doing things that you would have done before the pitter-patter of little feet hit the floor of your previously non-paternal pad. In my case, gagging is one thing that I seldom do now . . . yet just at the thought of what I have faced as a new father, the old John would probably have been done in by now.
I know that few like to think about it and some of you even wish that I wouldn’t acknowledge it, but the arrival of Sadie brought with it a new relationship with an old enemy: poop. I say enemy because in an adult world devoid of little darlings, poop is seldom discussed. You rarely see a group of adults sitting at Starbucks knocking back venti frappacinos and talking about each other’s colonic health. But in the kindgom of “kid-dom,” poop is king . . . so to speak.
I merely mean that this topic, which was verbally quarantined in my previous life, quickly became a daily ticker across the screen of my conscious thought. To my defense, the nurses and doctors at the hospital conditioned my cognition in this way. From the outset of Sadie’s entry, they constantly asked us about bowel movements . . . good, old-fashioned poop. So you can cringe and judge me for my observations if you wish, but I blame medical science for my newfound fixation on all things fecal . . . strictly regarding my daughter . . . obviously. I’m not a monster.
As I became more cognizant of the importance of Sadie’s pooping to the overall development of her body, psyche, disposition, and intellect, I suppressed the thoughts of my previous life and embraced the “poop count” game . . . and that was where I first earned the illustrious title of “The Poop Whisperer.” Several degrees from a sundry of institutions of learning prestigiously hang upon the wall of my office, but none of them surpass this particular title that has been mounted on the wall of my heart. So, join me in a short walk down the lane of my memory that led me to where I am today.
It first began on the famous day in question, July 15th, 2008 . . . Sadie’s birthday. The emotional events of the day led up to a seemingly peaceful and surreal moment when Laura and I found ourselves alone with our new little bundle. But then nausea descended upon Laura like a bile blitzkrieg and as I hurried to remove Sadie from the path of vomitous destruction, I made a startling discovery . . . nausea wasn’t the only thing that had descended. Sadie had decided to bestow her first poopy not upon a doctor, a nurse, or even her mommy . . . but upon the likes of me. I was less-than-honored.
The first bowel movement is very important one . . . it’s even got it’s own name: meconium. It was a moment in which Sadie’s medical personnel knew that everything seems to be going according to plan in that little body of hers. I changed that diaper with reckless abandon and “The Poop Whisperer” was born.
But it didn’t stop there. From that day forward, I can’t even begin to count the number of times that Sadie has spent hours upon hours with her mommy, a babysitter, or a grandparent, yet has restrained herself until “Dadt” enters the house. Then, presto! Apparently, I’m like a walking Fiber One bar. Some people bring out the best in others; I bring out something else altogether. Go figure.
Now, you can relax because unlike some reflections that I write, I won’t be adding any photos or audio clips to this one to demonstrate my point. Sometimes I get comments from readers that my sentiments about my daughter and the wonder of fatherhood brings tears to their eyes. Again, I wouldn’t hold your breath on this one . . . or actually, maybe you should.
What I am saying is that fatherhood features more than just cute moments of baby bliss. Sometimes, it’s down right nasty. But as I said in the beginning, the relationship between parent and child propels you to either do things you never would have attempted before or to withhold emotions and reactions that would have been mainstays in your previous life. The variable is the child.
We are God’s variable. The differences between us and God are too numerous to list, but one similarity is that God is the kind of parent who is willing to deal with our nastiness. At times I fear that this concept may become redundant in my writings, but then I remember that it’s kind of redundant in scripture as well. Over and over again, the Biblical narrative reveals a Father who was constantly changing the diapers of those whom He loved. Rejection of God by us. Redemption of us by God. Our mess; His intervention. The cycle continues.
I hope that by now you know me well enough to know that I’m not advocating a lifestyle of blatant disregard for what is right. Seeking to do what is pleasing to the Father is the chief indicator that we are His children. No, I simply mean that God is neither surprised nor estranged by our stinky struggles . . . He is always ready to continue to “change” us.
Now, I doubt that God is blogging around heaven about the humorous anecdotes of his misguided children . . . but I do know that He has written extensively about His willingness to make us clean. “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.” Micah 7:18 (NLT)
God has infinite titles. I have few. God is the Almighty One. I am the Poop Whisperer. Yet, we do share one thing in common: we both delight in showing love to our children . . . even when they stink.