I have a habit of multitasking throughout the day. Re-tarring the roof while folding the laundry. Vacuuming while breastfeeding with no hands, and the like. Some days it’s putting on my make-up in the bathroom mirror while giving Brandon a bath. It’s something I do fairly often: hurriedly slather on my warpaint for the day while he frolics in the tub 6-inches away from me. Usually, it happens unremarkably and without incident. But not yesterday.
Yesterday, while putting the finishing touches on my eye-liner, Brandon became curiously quiet for a moment. A few seconds (SECONDS) of silence had passed after I noticed a lingering lack of noise. “He’s quiet…… too quiet,” I realized. My reptilian brain screamed “something’s not right” when I looked over my shoulder and beheld…….. abject horror. There Brandon stood, waist deep in water that was once crystal clear, now murky green and floating with turds. Turds in the water. Turds on his skin. Turds on his hands. Hands in his mouth.
I wasn’t sure what to do first. I noted the immediate need to get the turds OUT OF HIS MOUTH, and that seemed simple enough, but it required me to navigate a complex series of obstacles faster than he could swallow. If he hadn’t already.
The look on his face said he was having a great time. His literal shit-eating-grin spoke it in volumes, as forest green strands of poop snaked between his teeth. His smile suggested this was the best bath-time ever, and this would surely be his first memory.
Meanwhile, I’m all like COULD YOU STOP TRYING TO MURDER YOURSELF AT EVERY TURN? At least wait until your father’s shift.
Up until yesterday I wasn’t sure if eating shit was a viable means to kill yourself, so you know, I started panicking. Brandon was pretty amused by my panic. At least ONE of us won’t recall this incident at our therapists office (I don’t actually have a therapist, but it couldn’t hurt at this point).
I figured, at the very least this was a surefire trip to the ER, followed up with questioning from Child Protective Services.
I didn’t know what other tool to use, so I jammed a finger in his maw and tried to fish-hook as much poop out of there as I could. But was that enough to stop the impending e.coli infection? I had no expert to turn to. My mom and my husband were both at work, so no help there. And my fingers were too clammy with sweat and poop to type out “does eating poop kill you?” on my phone’s touch screen. So I told Siri to call Illinois Poison Control. At least THEY could talk me off of that ledge, right?? Well, kinda.
The poison control lady had to cut me off because I felt compelled to share the whole story leading up to the poop eating. I just wanted her to know that I’m not a neglectful parent, so there’s no need to put me on some watch list because my kid ate poop.
“Eating feces is considered non-toxic,” she said.
WORD TO YOUR MOTHER? That can’t be right. Don’t you always hear about swaths of people getting sick because poop got in their bag of triple-washed spinach? “Are you SURE?” I asked, daring to question the experts.
“Are YOU sure it was HIS poop?” she asked.
Of course it was HIS poop. What kind of operation do you think I’m running? “Yes,” I assured her. At the very LEAST I know whose poop my kid is eating. WHAT THE HELL DO I LOOK LIKE?
“Well, that’s a relief,” she said.
Oh. I didn’t think relief was the appropriate emotion to go with here. But go on, poison control lady, I’m listening. “Eating your OWN feces is non-toxic,” she explained. “Just watch him closely for the next four hours and give him some water.”
Just give him some water and THAT’S IT?
Okay, I can do that.