It’s either Tuesday or Thursday, I know this by the pungent smell assaulting my nostrils, a smell that increases in intensity the closer I draw to the door leading from the mudroom to the garage. In the garage, this is waiting for me.
You probably don’t have one of these in your garage and thank God for that. This is where we’ve decided is best to put our toddlers soiled sundries. Yes, it’s archaic and I know it’s not a Diaper Genie, but I'm not aware of The Diaper Genie ever fulfilling his promise of an odor free nursery.
With that in mind we've resorted to the bucket. It a cheaper alternative and apart from the absence of a thin layer of fragrance that attempts masking the poop smell it’s served its purpose. But, as of late the bucket has begun to runneth over and I think we are going to need to upsize to a dedicated trash can
That these small humans can make so much poop in such a small span of time defies what seems sensible. We have a 32-gallon trash can that goes out to the curb twice a week and it's usually only half full with the run of the mill trash items. But it's startling that when adding the diapers in the bucket to the trash can it brims over the top. This happens twice a week. Twice a week! So really if you took the bucket full of diapers over the two days and consolidated to one day, our toddlers are capable of filling the large trash can with just their poop! Our children eat no more food than standard America child but their digestive system is that of a large mammal, capable of producing massive waste many times their own body weight. I haven’t weighed the bucket but I’d venture to say the heft ranges from fifteen to twenty pounds. It’s enough of a burden to require some serious schlepping.
The bucket is the anomaly in is what an otherwise normal suburban garage. We store an SUV, bikes, splash pools and a variety of sports balls. We considered putting the bucket outside but we live in a wooded area and neither I nor my wife has time to clean up diaper debris left by enterprising raccoons. So the bucket stays in the four walls until toting to the curb on the days starting with “t’s.”
On those days that I tend to this odious task I reflect on my status in the world and it’s humbling. I can’t help but think myself the low monk in the monastic order, the monk who scrubs the toilets, empties the bedpans, and pop the boils on the invalid’s back. It’s the opposite of the monks who make cheese and high gravity beers, a high celebrity status in the monastery so I hear.
OK, comparing undesirable parenting chores to monastic living is an exaggeration. But both parenting and monking require selfless service. As a parent, I do for my children things that I would never do for another man or woman. I would never wipe a man’s butt, tend to his soiled undies, or catch his nose nuggets. I catch boogers and tend to diapers because I love my children. I do for them what they can’t for themselves.
I apologize that what I share lacks manner and arguably substance but at this stage of my life, many minutes and hours are spent tending to bodily fluids. Getting these toddlers potty trained should retire all this talk of excrements. I imagine once these kids can use the John my prose will clean up.
If I should live long enough to see all my faculties fail me my hope is my children will care for me the same way I care for them. I hope they will do for old dad what he would never do for another man or woman, what he would only ever do for them—-empty the bucket—mine will be on the left side of the bed.
Also published on Medium.