Exactly fifteen minutes after we arrived home from hospital your screaming grandmother forced our attention to the nursery. It’s terrifying how many worst case scenarios we were able to conjure up in the thirteen steps it took us to get to your room. The mind is powerful, yet fearful.
This is what we saw as we entered: Your grandmother grinning proudly from ear to ear, holding your legs splayed in the air. Amidst all the confusion, your first poo exited with profuse abundance all over the changing station. My voice jumped an octave higher, my vocabulary deteriorated into appreciative oohs and aahs and, as is the curse of excited Afrikaans people, I managed to reduce whole sentences to their diminutive form:
“Ag moedertjie, kykies hoe oulikies is jou kakkies!”
This roughly translates to:
“Ag Mommy, lookey at how cutie is your shitties!”
You pooed and immediately our collective IQ dropped by several points. You celebrated this milestone by peeing all over your face.
Then the gates burst open and amidst the sound of farting trumpets the four horsemen of the apoocalypse came charging through astride their steaming steeds. If there was a fan nearby, I could have devoted a whole paragraph to lame jokes.
It was like watching a sausage machine, which I thought was a really gross thing to think, until I read somewhere that scientists are making baby poo sausage now. (All that wholesome probiotics is apparently good for you.) I prefer strawberry flavoured yoghurt, but different strokes and all that sort of thing.
Enter Grandma Google. We just wanted to compare your poo to the norm. So we Googled: What does normal baby poo look like? And with a few key strokes we opened up Pandora’s toilet. The internet is a useful tool boy, except if you want to raise a child. Every mother is suddenly an expert and the sheer amount of information is paranoia inducing. It takes a village to raise a child, but the global village is an example of too many mothers trying to simultaneously stir the broth of knowledge with an anal thermometer.
Which is why, very soon, I was knuckle deep in your excrement poking a paranoid finger at what appeared to be blobs of ricotta cheese. Is that mucous or curdled milk? Are you dying? Do we need to go to the hospital? Like scientific soothsayers we tried to predict your mood for the rest of the day by analyzing the colour, consistency, frequency and smell of your faeces and comparing it to everything we read on the internet. This is very gross. But not as gross as when I had to pull a piece of stuffed toy out of the dog’s ass. Never, ever eat stuffed toys boy. They don’t agree with the digestive system.
Then you became constipated. That was Grandma Google’s diagnosis, at least. Watching you trying to poo, was like watching someone who had swallowed one of those handheld maze games where you have to guide the ball through the labyrinth using elaborate twists and turns. At the same time it sounded like somewhere in your belly there was a buffalo and a rhinoceros trying to play Thunderstruck on a concertina. Either that, or they were trying to make love, the result, regardless, was the same: An epic arrangement of grunts and moans.
Grandma Google offered various cures from prune juice to enemas with eyedroppers. Your father however refuses to put things up your bottom. He can suck the snot out of your nose, but he can’t put nowt up your naught for nowt.
Deeper down Grandma’s Google rabbit hole we descended following a trail of possible cures for your lethargic bowels. Are you dehydrated? Are you allergic to something? Your mother became so paranoid she started drinking rice milk in everything.
This is also how we learned a valuable lesson. The internet is useful, especially if you’re looking for a recipe for perfect roast lamb or cats doing stupid things. You’ll probably even find a video of a cats doing stupid things with a roast lamb. It also creates the illusion that if you can’t find an answer within the first three websites that pop up, the answer simply does not exist.
Evolution has gifted us with thousands of years worth of instinct, which we trade for technology because we think that’s what advanced people do. But if instinct didn’t work, none of us would be alive today. Basically, it’s that voice inside you that tells you to call your mother when your in trouble. Which is what we should have done.
When your grandmother came over, she calmly pulled your legs up in the air and moved them in a circular motion, finally pinning them back so that your knees touched your stomach. She applied pressure to the inside of your bum. And then a tempest, fierce and relentless, erupted from your sphincter. There are some things you can’t find on Google or YouTube. Sometimes, they are the simplest of things, like how to take a shit.
P.S. We spoke to your doctor. She says you are not constipated, but that your guts are being lazy and that your intestines are like a car full of Capetonians in Joburg without a GPS; absolutely clueless. This means that every now and again when that buffalo and rhino whip out the concertina you get a suppository up the bottom to get things, well, moving. I still can’t watch.