Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Piecing Together the Past

A parent has many roles. Secret agent is but one. A parent is also an archaeologist of sorts, or at least can be if he or she has the stomach for it.

Dipity gives my wife and I the opportunity to learn about the past about twice a day. Now I'm not talking about discovering the leisure habits of the ancient Greeks, the last thoughts of the people of Pompeii, or the truth behind the myth of Atlantis. I'm thinking more about what we had for dinner yesterday, or even the day before. Until I had a child, I never paid much attention to poop. I certainly didn't call it poop. When you change some one's diaper twice a day, it's hard not to steal a glance. When you have a kid, it's hard to say shit, although far from impossible.

Actually, it's not just that it's hard not to look. You're supposed to look. If your child is sick, one of the first questions the Doctor will ask is whether there was anything unusual about his or her shit ... shit, I mean poop. This means that you, as the parent, are expected to know what it normally looks like and know what it looks like when you're child isn't feeling well. The only way that information is gathered is through participant observation. When you look at your child's feces, it's impossible not to notice more about it than you'd like to. Oh, the things you see in your kid's poop. Today, for example, a rather regular feature of Dipity's doo was everywhere in evidence: corn. Peas don't appear as often now as they did before the great vegetable boycott, but they are like corn in that they tend to exit relatively unaltered from the state they were in when they entered. You never can be totally sure whether the corn and peas in the diaper entered the diaper in the way you would think. Whole corn kernels have appeared in otherwise clean diapers, as have barrettes. She doesn't eat barrettes, so ... Yesterday her poop, which managed to squeeze out of the diaper and onto her shirt and pants, was sprinkled with Rosemary. My favorite will probably always be the Kiwi seeds. That was an unexpected discovery.

Being a parent is definitely a journey of discovery. It is never just the same old ... crap.

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