I sneak out of the kitchen while they’re distracted and make my way like a ninja through the sitting room, bedroom, and into the room that once was my sanctuary — the master bath. The deep, white soaking tub large enough for a synchronized swim team; his and her sinks; a glass walk-in shower that almost disappears from view when freshly cleaned. It’s a goddamn porcelain paradise.
Once the baby came, the creamy white marble surrounding the tub became a makeshift changing station for seven months. The tub, an oversized swimming pool for a newborn, party of one, three if you count my elbows. The shower might as well have dried up or vanished like an oasis that first year — sort of like my hygiene habits. Wait, did I shower yesterday or was it the day before? *armpit sniff*
I remove the monkey safety door stopper and slowly, stealthily, ever so quietly turn the knob and close the door. I’m sweating from the effort, but I’m free to pee. Then I realize…my phone is tucked into my sweatshirt. Oh freedom, sweet freedom, ring.
I sit on the potty and open my email, my Facebook, my text app. My fingers can’t move fast enough. It’s a good thing I’m on the throne — I can finally break out of maternal isolation and catch up with my kingdom. My vicarious senses humming, I surrender to my covetous lust over people’s plans for the weekend, old teammate’s tales of racing, the latest deals at Target, and what shenanigans the political campaigns have pulled overnight. I’m giddy. I’m focused. I am fully absorbed. And then…
My spidey senses start tingling. I get that pinging feeling in my core. I anticipate it before I hear it. It’s faint and far away, but it’s closing in on my location. I stop breathing. Still coming. I play dead. Getting closer. There’s no stopping it. It knows I’m in here, and I’m trapped. I see one finger, then two, underneath the door. And then the glass-shattering, bone-crushing, wail of “Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” followed by the peaceful, sweet perplexed questioning over his shoulder: “Dada?”
I’ve probably been away for a solid two minutes. I understand why panic has set in. I could be dead, maimed, carried off by gypsies, halfway to China, even. There’s an unexcused absence from the morning routine and answers will be demanded. Either 1) something is very wrong and 911 needs to be called, or 2) it’s literally number two. The darling toddler is still baffled. My hand is over my own mouth. “Save yourself,” the voice in my head says. My heart aches, and I begin to whimper “Mommy’s coming.” But before anything is audible…the dada chimes in to soothe the panicked cherub: “Moms poop too, buddy.”
And there it was.
Four years ago, I would never have uttered that word to or in front of my husband. Never, not ever. Not for any reason. “Litter box has to be cleaned!” or “Um, you forgot to fully flush this morning.” But never the P-word. No need. I would wait until he left the house for the day to go number two. If we traveled, I timed my BMs for hotel lobby bathrooms or the ladies’ room in a bar or restaurant. Gas during pregnancy — I’d go into the guest room or nursery or outside. I’d find secret places he’d never think of to hunt me down and find me out. This whole strategy worked nicely for a long time, and he probably questioned if I even really had a rectum. It was perfect. Exactly the impression I was hoping to leave.
But then came the C-section. They put me on massive amounts of meds that not even Wonder Woman could fight off. The gas exploded from my derriere. I was wearing diapers and bending over for nurses to insert suppositories up where the sun don’t shine. Prune juice replaced the wine in the fridge. The jig was up. Sexy was not coming back.
“Moms poop too, buddy.”
Four years ago, I would’ve denied such a blasphemous accusation. How dare you, sir! Parenthood has changed us, and our relationship. We are more human, in all the perfect and not-so-pretty ways, and I’m so OK with it. And anyway, today there’s way too much good stuff to read, friends to touch base with, and surprisingly, that shower is looking mighty inviting.
“Yes, Mama’s pooping! I’ll be out in 10.”