islandparent Parenting A Meconium Congratulations

A Meconium Congratulations

Good friends of mine told me the other day that they are having a baby. It’s amazing, hearing that news and seeing their excitement. I was still thinking about it that evening when I was changing a diaper and accidentally thrust my fingers into a mound of soft excrement.

“Congrats, me,” I muttered to myself as I stared at my fingers, coated in what no human’s fingers should ever be coated in.

It made me think I needed to warn my friends about the meconium poop. You know the one, the black ooze that your baby births not long after they’ve been birthed, the alien horror that can give heart attacks if arrived unannounced.

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Changing that diaper, I stopped and stared off into space for a minute, toddler staring at me confused, wondering what I was doing with fingers covered in poo and staring blankly at the wall, but truth be told by that point, I was wondering if my friends were going to use cloth or disposable diapers and wondering if we have old cloth ones we can give them.

Poop slowly hardening on my fingers, I snapped out of it and tried to remember what was safer: leaving the kid on the bed and washing my hand (risk: him falling off the bed; reward: poo off fingers faster) or finish changing kid and then wash my hand (risk: good god man; reward: toddler lives to terrorize another day). Always one to make a half-assed decision that is somehow the worst of all worlds, I kinda literally popped half of my body into the neighbouring bathroom, while keeping one of my feet in the bedroom, as if prepping to steal a base, when really I’m just prepping excuses in my head as to how he fell off the bed that didn’t involve the phrase “wanted to get poo off my fingers.”

So, I kinda washed my fingers too quickly, if we’re being honest here, so I could whip the top half of my body back in the room as if none of this ever happened. Of course, I snapped my torso around so fast it felt like Andre the Giant had grabbed my skull and smashed it against the wall, which happens, because I forgot the wall was there because there was poo, and also there was a toddler in a maybe-precarious position.

I tried not to swear, but probably did, re-adjusted my glasses, remembered the poo even though it was history, whipped my hand away from my face, and looked at my kid, who was just staring at me, not having moved an inch throughout the whole ordeal. I laughed like a complete maniac for no reason, then went blank as I caught sight of and stared at the crib next to our bed, the crib that these days gets used as…well, nothing, actually. It’s just been sitting there forever.

Yeah, we’ve had that crib for a long time, so long that parts of it may no longer be legal to sell in Canada, so I started wondering about things like expiration dates on car seats and I wondered if there’s some weird underground black market for parents for stuff like this, but I really don’t want to know. I’ve already told my friend that car seats expire, a bizarre fact he was unaware of, but isn’t parenting in 2022 full of bizarre facts we were all previously unaware of?

But the poo on the fingers, man, that goes back. Since the dawn of time, parents have accidentally rammed their fingers into piles of poo, and the sensation never fails to horrify me. It’s a horrifying, horrifying thing that no one ever warned me about. There absolutely will come a time when there is poo under your fingernails and you have to work to get it out.

Oh man, I didn’t check under my fingernails.

Uh, anyway, all of which is to say, congrats, you two. And watch out for that meconium poop.

Greg Pratt
Greg Pratt
Greg Pratt is the father of two children and a local journalist and editor. His writing has appeared in, among other places, Today’s Parent, Wired, Revolver, and Douglas.