Monday, July 14, 2008

The eviction adventure

Mention domestic drama and the mind runs to break-ins, stupendous spousal fights or maybe the TV failing just as 'Lost' airs. In Pa's case, he was peaceably changing Sonny's diaper when he felt the sudden vibration.

By way of background, you should know that Mum had earlier begun training our 12-week-old to 'evict on demand': That is to say, if not quite to be potty-trained, then to not just 'go in his diapers, whenever he feels like it'. It's a tradition in her family: The secret, for those mothers whose eyes suddenly burn with interest, is to gradually get the young 'un to associate the act of eviction with a specific sound, or sensation of effort. So Mum emits a certain grunt around the time Sonny is likely to pass motion (after he wakes up, after meals and so on). She encourages him to mimic this. She does the same whenever she suspects that defecation is ongoing. It's a tedious process, but her relatives swear that - with time - Sonny can be trained to reserve his toilet-related activities for when the signal (the grunt) is given.

We mention all this because, as Pa was changing Sonny's diaper, he was perhaps lulled into a false sense of security by believing the training programme to be at a relatively advanced stage. So he was not as prepared as he might have been for Sonny's deciding, on the spur of the moment, to lighten the load further. Pa's only warning was when he felt Sonny's body begin to vibrate alarmingly. But in a deviation from best diapering practices, the soiled diaper was no longer within arm's reach. Neither was a fresh one.

At that moment, Pa felt like an action hero faced with a quickly-closing trap and a need to innovate on the fly. His eyes flickered round the room, disregarding irrelevant items - a soft toy here, a tube of cream there. Instead, he ripped two kitchen towels off their roll and spun them under Sonny's bottom - folding them in one swift motion for extra thickness. Just in time: The gates had opened and what looked for all the world like dark-coloured toothpaste was already beginning to stream down. Through it all, Sonny managed the most innocent of expressions.

Luckily, one arm still suspending Sonny from his little legs, Pa had bought himself time to stretch for spare wipes, diaper and towels. A brief frenzy of tidying-up later, including the absorption of further evictions, the situation was fully contained. It might not have been worthy of a TV movie, but most us of must take our excitement where we can find it. And, after all, Pa feels he performed fairly well.

Except he never did remember to make any grunting sounds for Sonny's benefit.