Question for you: What do the these three things have in common: baseball, the weather, and parenthood? C'mon. Think about it. Take a minute. Form an educated guess.
Ready for the answer? Here goes: they are all impossible to predict. Oh, people will try. Very smart people. Enlightened people. Talented people. People in the know.
In baseball, you are only as good as your next day's starting pitcher. So if he's off, even if he's your best guy, your ace, chances are you're gonna lose. See? Impossible to predict.
Next, how many times have you watched the local news only to find that the poor meteorologist is getting an earful from a hairdo in French cuffs because he or she said it was it going to snow and it didn't or said it wasn't going to rain but it did? The weather... I'd go as far as to say it's impossible to predict.
Which brings me, in pretty much the most roundabout way possible, to my point. Parenthood. Forrest Gump's momma was onto something. You really never do know what you're gonna get. Sometimes you expect a caramel and then bite into one of those fruit-filled abominations.
Every morning, when my daughter wakes up, she'll talk and sing and giggle. She'll play her musical turtle and hold court with her Lammie. She'll read the books that we put in her crib at night and finish off the sippy cup full of water that is at her disposal. This allows for a peaceful morning, especially on the weekends. We can wake up at our leisure. There's no crying, no tantrum, no immediacy required. She's relatively low-maintenance.
Except one Sunday morning early in May. It just so happened to be Mother's Day, so I was on duty. No problem, she's easy in the morning, right? Not this morning. I was jolted from my slow and lazy semi-conscious state by the frantic, gut-wrenching cries of my daughter. "I'll get her. Don't worry," I reassure my sleepy-eyed wife as I began the short dash down the hallway to Penelope's room. My heart is now racing. It's gone from zero to sixty in less than three seconds. What could possibly be lurking, awaiting me on the other side of that door?
I slowly crack it open, as to not startle her even more, to find my daughter had stripped off her clothes, including her diaper. She was holding the diaper with an outstretched arm. It was hovering dangerously, on the outside of the crib, teetering like an Olympic diver ready to make a gold medal-winning splash. The look on her face was one of horror, dismay, and disgust.
She didn't even give me the chance to say "What's the matter" or "What happened." As if her face, and the surreal scene I had just entered, did not say it all. For she stopped me dead in my tracks. "Daddy, this is yucky!!"
So true, my princess. It is indeed. It's disgusting, in fact. What the hell is it doing in your hand? Can you not touch it next time?
I hastily, but calmly, with a tinge of amusement, plucked her out of her crib and onto the changing table. Luckily, this was just a wet diaper. I explained to her that she can just let us know that her diaper is wet and that mommy and daddy will take care of it. I also told her that if she's ready to start trying the potty, we can also take of that.
Everything seemed to be going smoothly once again until her afternoon nap. This is the 3 hour respite that we get in the middle of the day. The oasis within the desert of chaos. My wife and I were relaxing when a sudden screech of terror ripped through the silence once again. It was coming from the baby monitor. We looked at each other with confusion and concern. This never happens.
I hurdled myself upstairs, skipping two, three steps at a time. The shriek was deafening, more so than before. I barged into her room to find her only half naked this time. But the scene was much more gruesome. There she was, standing in the back of her crib. Her pants were off, mindlessly discarded like a banana peel. Her shirt was on. Her diaper, however, was wrapped around her ankles. And what was inside was much more sinister than before.
"Daddy, I don't like that chocolate." I mentally gagged but physically surged toward the suspect. "Sweetie, that's not chocolate. You didn't eat it, did you?"
I proceeded to inspect her mouth as she screamed with fright and repugnance, at the same time, being surprised that I had not joined her. I sniffed her mouth like a dog obnoxiously begging for food. There was no sign of fecal ingestion. Score that a minor victory.
Quickly I changed, cleaned, disinfected her. We calmed down and I reiterated my mission statement from before: "Penelope, if you have a dirty diaper, just tell us and we'll gladly change it for you. Don't touch it."
Here's what I was thinking: "Are you insane, child?"
And just to prove that you can't predict the unpredictable, this has not happened again since that day. But if it did, I would not be surprised.