I put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, shut it, locked it, and turned around to find my angelic nephew in a puddle of goo on the floor. Oh yes I said “goo” with all the stickiness that that little word implies. But it wasn’t a repeat of this morning’s projectile pooping diaper catastrophe. No, this was different. There was a thick sweet smell that I immediately recognized as my $22 bottle of Vermont's Finest Pure Maple Syrup.
In the time it had taken me to fill the ice bucket and flirt ever-so-briefly with the cute bellhop; the little monster had gone into my suitcase, pulled out the bottle, peeled off the protective quality seal (how DO you do that when your mother has clipped your tiny nails down to the quick?) and dumped half the contents on his head and the other half into his pampers.
The demon child (his mother’s nickname, not mine) was sitting there giggling up at me as he sucked on his syrup slathered fingers.
“Darius!!!! What the fried zucchini did you do?” I screamed substituting the first thing that came to mind for the forbidden “F-Word”
He yelped happily and laughed as he explored his gooey diapers with one hand.
I carried him at arms length into the bathroom and plopped him down on the bare tiles. I sat on the edge of the tub and started to run the water. But apparently this was a mistake. You see that left him 30 inches away from me. The length of my left arm is only 26 inches. My overnight bag (the one with travel sized bottle of talcum powder that was not quite closed) was only 15 inches away from him. Now, calculating the speed of toddler and multiplying that by the angle at which my head was turned away, divided by the 2.5 seconds it took to turn on the faucet… well you do the math.
The result was one sticky powdered baby and one face full of talcum powder for Aunt Jenny.
“Fuh, fuh, Flying SQUIRRELS!!!, Darius, dance you!”
Now let me explain. I am single and childless.
Not enough? Okay my sister, Abbey, is one of those moms who like to remind people how tough it is to be a mom. Well, okay, she likes to remind ME. Now since I had nothing better to do this summer than be reminded of this daily, I decided to tag along with her, her husband and my nephew on their trip to Vermont. Two days ago I made the mistake of saying “hell” in conversation. A "not-nice" word which my 15 month old nephew instinctively seized upon and began repeating. My sister took me to task for my language and I stupidly defended myself by saying that it’s easy for her because she only has to deal with sweet little Darius every day. I deal with pain in the “nether-quarters” adults in the world of high fashion, thank you very much.
“HA! You’re kidding me right? I love my son, but he is a handful. It takes a lot of self-control not to curse like a sailor from sun up to sun down. Believe me, Jenny you don’t have that kind of self-control. One ice cream stain on your Juicy Couture jeans and you’d be cussing like a mafia princess,” she sat back and "harumphed" matter-of-factly after this smug tirade.
“Puuh-lease, I have self-control!” (I have none, but it’s the principle of the thing when you’re accused like that.) “Just leave him with me for one day and I’ll show you self-control.”
At this point my brother-in-law John perked up, “whoah! Did she just say what I think she said?”
“Yeeeeesss,” purred my sister and her eyes narrowed as a thin maniacal grin spread across her face.
Now at that point I should have known something more was up beyond stepping into a steaming pile of free baby-sitting duty. But you know, my pride was in play now, so I had to follow it down the path to certain destruction. And that’s how I came to be sitting on the cold hard tiles of room 1420 of the Hilton with talcum powder in my eyes and a squirming sticky dough boy in my arms.
You have to understand it had been a long day. Let me break it down for you in prêt-a-porter casualties and near curses:
- Projectile pooping destroys Donna Karan blouse: “Son of a biscuit eater!”
- Mustard stains on new Coach bag: “Fire-me, you little BOOGIE –BOARDER!!!”
- Flying tonka truck obliterates Fendi sunglasses: “God-double-it, shirttails!!!”
- And oh yes, chocolate ice cream on the white Juicy Couture Jeans that dribbled down to the equally white Prada sneakers: “FUCSIA POP-ROCKS-SUCKER!!!!”
I came way too close with that last one and got some really weird looks from the counter staff at Baskin Robbins. “Whadda-you-lookin’-at? You-godda-problem?”
Aw, jeez, I WAS starting to sound like a mafia princess.
At this point I figured it was time to head back to the hotel and kill the rest of the afternoon with some mindless kiddie tv drivel and some frantic calls to hotel drycleaners.
Everything seemed to be going well. Darius knows what he likes, Franklin the Turtle, Dora the Explorer and something called Vegi-tales that quite frankly disturbed me with all the phallic-looking anthropomorphic vegetables. But, hey I’m not his mother? Besides after about two hours my sweet little nephew nodded off to sleep.
I thought that naptime would be the right time to dart out for some ice. Big mistake. Hence the syrup and powder predicament I now found myself in.
Anyway, I now had only an hour to get us both cleaned up before Abbey and John got back. I bathed and dressed my sticky nephew with lightening speed and I think even he was impressed with how good he looked. Then I got out his “craft sack” the one that had the special markers that only worked on the special coloring book pages. I sat him on the bathroom floor and bade him color and “sing Auntie Jenny a song” while I showered. I wanted to make sure I knew where he was at all times.
I disrobed behind the shower curtain and showered as I listened to his sweet voice singing me the abc’s in dubious order. He never stopped. Never a change in cadence. Never a pause. Never. Just that sweet innocent voice.
So it was a big surprise when I stepped out of the shower with the towel wrapped around me to see my brand new Marc Jacobs silk dress on the floor in front of him. It was a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions to see him holding an uncapped bottle of Elmers glue and a handful of sparkly stars that he was apparently using to “bedazzle” the only dress on Earth with the magical ability to make my ass look small and my boobs look big.
“dook!” he held it up for me and smiled proudly, ”pwetty!!”
*Gag* * choke*
I grabbed a spare towel and ran out of the bathroom.
I sat down on the floor of room 1420 buried my face in the towel and groaned as softly as I could.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”
Then I felt a soft little hand on my knee.
Shit, did he hear that? No, he couldn’t have. No.
“It’s okay honey. It’s okay,” I said to the deeply concerned little face.
I dressed quickly and finished my hair and make-up just as Abbey and John arrived.
“So how’d it go?”
“Great!” I said but my voice cracked a little. Abbey raised an eyebrow and John stifled a knowing laugh.
“Did Auntie Jenny teach you any new words today, sweetie?” Abbey cooed.
“Shirttails!” laughed Darius.
“Hehehe, we did a little shopping,” I stammered.
“Anything else?” Abbey fished, smelling a rat. (I knew that if he were to blurt out pop-rock-sucker then the jig was up.)
“fied shookini,” Darius offered.
“Uh..lunch?” I submitted to Abbey’s puzzled look.
“Well, I’m impressed,” Abbey looked at me approvingly.
Yes, thank you God. I was home free.
“tirsty, popa!” Darius whined.
“okay baby-boy,” John said and pulled a juice box from the snack cooler that they carried everywhere.
Darius was thirsty. So thirsty that he squeezed the juice box too hard and the juice went all over his face. He let out a wail and began to sob hysterically.
“It’s okay baby,” Abbey said and grabbed a small towel from the cornucopia bag. As she wiped away the tears and juice a muffled sound came from the little face behind the towel. It was so quiet we almost missed it. Almost.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”
[Dedicated to my nephew Darius who only deserves the name “demon-child” on rare occasions and who thankfully has never done any of this to me... though I wouldn't put it past him.] Join the Flash Fiction Friday fun.