Last night Matt took over Jane’s bath time duties. I lit candles on the fireplace mantle, turned on our little electric “pookins” (Jane-speak for pumpkins), and snuggled into the couch to watch TV. I was also really happy to dodge washing Jane’s hair, as she had taken particular delight in smearing her cheesy dinner into every possible strand near her face.
Mabel flopped happily in my lap and I flipped channels, listening to Matt and Jane’s scintillating conversation.
“That’s a blue cup.”
“That’s the green cup.”
“Oh Jane, you’re so smart.”
And then, screaming.
“Ahhhhh! I, uh, I, uh…. AHHHHH.”
I debated getting up, so warm and cozy were Mabel and I in our couch nest.
“Do you need me?” I called, hoping the answer was no.
Slowly I got up and walked into the bathroom.
Matt was holding Jane up by her armpits over the tub.
She saw me and started to cry.
I glanced down at the churning bathwater beneath her (churning because of how quickly Matt yanked her up) and noticed it was tinted brown. With tiny bobbing brown chunks in it.
“Pooooooop,” Matt screamed in my face, and Jane cried even louder.
He put her down on a towel, “I turned around for one minute and there she was, playing with poop!”
I started wiping her hands off, and Matt ran little hyper circles, back and forth through the bathroom door.
“Go get a plastic cup and scoop them out,” I told him.
“And do WHAT with them!” he yelled.
“Put them in the toilet and flush them,” I said, trying to keep Jane’s flailing arms away from my face.
He returned with a cup and I took Jane to the sink to wash her hands.
“We’ll have to clean the tub and give her another bath,” I said.
But Matt wasn’t paying any attention. All his steel y reserve was concentrated on Jane’s bobbing poop floaters, and with each swipe of the cup he let out a horrified screech.
Jane held out her hands for me to hold her, upset and confused about what the pandemonium going down in her bathroom, which had moments before been a fun place, only now reduced to an apparent horror show for her father.
“ACCCCHHHHH,” he screamed as a floater eluded his cup.
“See, Daddy is funny,” I pointed to him and Jane gave me a tiny smile.
“EEEEEEKKKK,” he yelped again, as it plopped into the toilet.
“See, Daddy sounds like a little girl,” I said, and this time her face broke into a wide grin, tears still on her cheeks.
“Matt, tell her you’re not upset,” I instructed him, trying my best not to lie down on the floor and have a laughing fit.
He turned, roused from his panicked state, a shimmer of sweat on his forehead, “I’m ok , Jane. It’s ok.”
Then we all laughed in the crowded apartment bathroom that smelled like poop. We laughed because it really was ok. But mostly we laughed because it really is funny when Matt screams like a girl.