Thursday, April 16 2020

work, bad chicken, and pooping in the potty



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends! Hope you’re feeling healthy and strong as we turn the final corner of this work week. Today is Thursday. Thursday is a day for challenging your mental stamina - for giving your work one last valiant push of effort. I’m reminded of the car racing video games I used to play where your car was equipped with a NOS tank. It was usually a good idea to save all the NOS for the home stretch, when other racers are bearing down on you and and you know the finish is going to be close. Today is a day to open the NOS tank all the way up - the finish line is in site.

The work week has been crazy. I’ve been pulled in many directions, and every work day this week has felt like a blur of slack messages and meetings. I feel like I’m running on fumes, but I’m encouraged that we’ve almost arrived at the weekend.

And there’s an even longer period of solace on its way. I keep forgetting that once we have our baby, I’ll be off work for practically the entire summer. Maybe I should save what’s left in my NOS tank for the week before our due date.

Sip. The work day was busy, but fulfilling. It probably peaked at lunch time, when I left my computer and wandered downstairs to heat up some lunch. Wanting to be a good quarantine comrade, I left the fresher, more alluring leftovers in the fridge for Marisa and Rodney, selecting a suspiciously old chicken breast from the back.

“You’re going to eat that chicken? Isn’t that kind of old by now?” Marissa warned me as I slid the plate into the microwave.

“Nah, it’s fine,” I said. “I’ll just cover it in hot sauce.” I sat on the couch, catching up on my youtube queue and feasting on suspiciously old chicken breast and a mound of brussel sprouts. Rodney joined me on the couch for a cuddle and we watched some Dude Perfect videos. But before long, there was trouble in paradise, and the chicken started to turn in my stomach. Nauseous and pale, I sheepishly passed by Marissa on the way up to the bathroom. Hearing the rattle of Tums in the medicine cabinet told her the rest of the story.

Luckily, I didn’t eat a lot of chicken, so I was able to just work through the touch of sickness for the rest of the afternoon. I rolled out a change to production, sleepily watching a colorful moving line graph that displayed the number of our production hosts successfully converging their chef runs. At one point, I imagined that the line graph represented the leftover chicken breast breaking down in my stomach, and I could have sworn that I had one last little wave of nausea that lined up with a swell of server errors before both subsided. That’s probably a sign that I’ve been staring at too many graphs.

The work day ended, and I triumphantly flopped down in bed. Marissa joined me, staring up at the ceiling. I could tell from the faint smell drifting into the room that she had just changed Rodney’s diaper.

“I’m worried about getting Rodney potty trained,” she said. I pondered her concern without opening my eyes, arms folded behind my head. Marissa continued. “He basically just poops during naps or bed now, and that’s the only time he’s wearing a diaper. I’m worried we’re stuck, and I just don’t see it happening.”

“Let’s try googling it,” I suggested. “You know, see what’s out there.” Marissa rolled over to her side, producing her phone in her hand, her fingers jabbing at the keyboard. The first result was a blush pink website that loaded in her browser, then loaded a second time. Visibly frustrated, Marissa scrolled through personal anecdotes, product placement, and banner ads. “I hate mommy-blogs,” she said with a sigh.

“Try somewhere else. Oh look, there’s a reddit thread,” I said pointing to her phone. We continued to perusing the web for advice.

“So if it’s nerves, maybe we just need to make sure it’s not a big deal. There could be too much anticipation. How about before his nap every day, I’ll have him sit on the potty for a few minutes just to establish a routine.”

“I like that,” Marissa said. She nodded with satisfaction, then drifted off to sleep. After a nap, we ordered food and ate it on the couch watching TV. Soon I was back upstairs putting Rodney to bed. He was in a silly mood, and we took our time, allowing for lots of side quests and detours in the bedtime routine. We put his toys away, exchanged silly faces in the bathroom mirror, and even did some play fighting.

“Oh, you’re still in ondergoed, dude. Let’s get you in a diaper before bed,” I said.

“Dada,” said Rodney leaning back in bed. “Potty goes in the potty, poop goes in here,” he said pointing to his underwear. The topic jump intrigued me, especially since Marissa and I were talking about it earlier that afternoon. Did he overhear us from across the hall?

“Poop goes in the underwear?” I asked.

“Yeah,” replied Rodney. “Poop…” he paused, lips still moving, trying to find the right words. “Poop goes in here in the back.” He pointed to his butt, miming a liquid diffusing motion with his hands.

“No dude,” I said shaking my head. “Poop does not go in underwear. It leaks out and it gets everywhere. It’s vies. Poop goes in the potty.”

“Noooo,” said Rodney. “Poop goes in here!” He picked up the diaper that was beside us. “Oh it goes in the diaper now?” I replied with a laugh.

Sensing we were starting to talk in circles, I changed the subject. “Dude, I have a question for ya,” I said. “What do you like better. Diapers? Or underwear?” I held the diaper out in front of him.

“Yeah! Underwear!” he replied enthusiastically.

“Good stuff dude,” I continued. “Now I’m going to open the kimono for you. Can I be honest?” Rodney got quiet with anticipation. “We’re almost done with diapers, dude. The only reason these things are still around are because of poop. Dude, if you start pooping in the potty, goodbye diapers.”

“Goodbye diapers?” repeated Rodney.

“Poop in the potty. Goodbye diapers.” I repeated the words like a campaign slogan. “Dude, Mom and I talked. We’re gonna start sitting on the potty every day before nap. No big deal, all you gotta do is just sit there,” I assured him. “And then goodbye diapers.”

“GOODBYE DIAPERS,” shouted Rodney. He leapt into my arms for a hug.

Thanks for stopping by this morning. Hope you have a wonderful day. Take a long lunch, heat up some leftovers, and maybe take a minute to sit on the potty and do some thinking.