In our house the babies room is the absolute farthest point from the master bedroom. Because of this, we have a crib set up in our bedroom. The logic is, each kid will usually wake up at least once a night and that kid will wake up the other one. And so to prevent us from having to cross the entire house several times, we just set them up across the room.
Which means that I was sleeping peacefully, minding my own business and slowly dozing off to sleep, when I heard a noise.
To fully appreciate the noise I need to give you a little piece of combat aircraft trivia.
The Airforce has a ground support plane called the A-10 Thunderbolt. Amongst the many impressive features of this plane, is the front mounted gun, called a GAU-8 Avenger. The Avenger is an automatic cannon that is design to more or less cut main battle tanks in half. If shoots about seventy rounds a second, and each one of those is a giant shell capable of going completely through a large orphanage without slowing appreciably. When it fires, the individual “pops” of the rounds going off are so close together that you cannot make them out. It all melds together into one larger sound, which comes off rather like a thick set of sail canvas being torn apart.
Well the sound I heard was rather like that. Except instead of 30mm depleted uranium, each round going off was a largish water balloon filled with chunky banana pudding.
My first thought was “What the hell was that?”
I then reflected on the sound and my second thought was “I really hope that wasn’t one of the babies.”
Further reflection made my third thought “If that wasn’t one of the babies then it was my wife….and that really isn’t the better option, considering that they are wearing diapers and she probably isn’t.”
Further investigation determined that my daughter was not feeling well, and had created some sort of poop tsunami apocalypse. The force of it had actually created a sort of “back blast” that had shot out of the waistband and legs of her Huggies. If there was any more force involved, there would have just been a baby shaped clean spot where she was sleeping, surrounded by a halo of poop, sort of like those pictures of Hiroshima victims, just less pleasant.
And thus my wife and I were introduced to the wonders of baby flu. It was determined that first thing in the morning we would call our Pediatrician, and seek medical advice. We bunkered down for a long and unpleasant night.
First thing in the morning, before we had a chance to call we received an email from the good Doctor informing us that his wife had just given birth, and that he was now on paternity leave. All I could think was, “Well that was rather rude of her. Couldn’t she have waited?” It turns out she could not, and thus we had to find alternative medical care rather quickly.
Shortly thereafter, my son caught it. And we discovered that being a talented lad, he is capable of creating horribleness from both ends simultaneously. Strangely, no matter which end it comes out of, it all looks the same. And there is so much of it. I know for a fact that he didn’t eat this much in the past week. He has already exceeded his body mass in filth, and I’m not sure where it keeps coming from. My current theory is that he has tapped into some previously unknown dimension that is made entirely of some sort of sour custard.
It’s not just the quantity that is a cause for alarm. It is the sniper like precision that he can place it, with pinpoint accuracy, exactly where it will cause the most chaos. On my phone, in my wife’s hair, down my shirt, directly past the towel we were holding in front of him to prevent a mess and onto the white carpet.
I suspect that this is revenge for the constant monitoring of his temperature. Since he is so little we have to use the thermometer “the hard way”. And the whole time he fights us and gives us a look of tiny indignant betrayal.
On the Doctors recommendation we have given them some gator aid in sippy cups to help replenish the electrolytes they are no doubt missing. Every time we do this I find myself saying “Brawndo has what babies crave!” My wife insists that this is not nearly as funny as I seem to think, but I know she’s lying.
To make matters worse my daughter has predictably developed diaper rash during this episode. We have just discovered, to our horror, that she is evidently allergic to the active ingredient in her rash ointment. Which means that she has nightmarishly bad diaper rash now.
Which is not at all good in combination with her intestinal troubles. The new treatment takes a long time and two adults to apply, since she now resists us over it. And if there’s one thing you don’t want when you have a baby with the flu, it’s to have their diaper off for any length of time. Changing is now a procedure akin to bomb disposal, with us in a race against the clock to get the job finished before something horribly goes off.
So for the past few days, and I really have no idea how many at this point, it’s all been a blur of cleaning up, hosing babies off, and occasionally passing out quietly for a little bit until the next crisis. Lack of sleep, and constant exposure to icky nastiness has resulted in a dramatic shift in attitude and priorities.
This afternoon I fell asleep while my daughter was sitting in my lap, nibbling on saltines. When I woke up she had managed to climb off the couch, open the remaining snacks and was very earnestly stuffing soggy crackers into all of my pockets, of which there were many as I was wearing cargo pants. She was concentrating very hard, and very deliberately slipping them in one at a time, as if this was the most serious and important work she had ever done. And this no longer even registered as strange to me. All I could think was “Thank whatever gods are listening that she’s not throwing up.”