A familiar smell enveloped the air. A little fear sank in as I acknowledged Jaycelle’s facial expression that Bryce might have pooped. And this was right in the middle of flight which had the longest time I waited for the “buckle up” light to turn off. Little fear was how I would describe the feeling because of the cramped C.R. an ATR plane has and how I am the default janitor of diaper mess.
As soon as we were allowed to unbuckle, we zoomed pass to the back just like how we do in wedding buffets. Aggressively enough, we were first to lock ourselves in. To my horror, Bryce’s poop was like melted chocolate that was smushed in his shorts and right leg.
Instead of complaining in front of a toddler how he could have held it in his tummy or how he could have taken force to relieve himself the first time we went in there or how the guardian seated beside him should be the one in charge, I pulled out the wipes I brought with me. And it was like going to a gunfight—AK-47 in my hands but with only two bullets in the cartridge.
In a little space surrounded by an air of hurriedness, Bryce was on top of the toilet seat cover standing there in a helpless fashion. He knew there’s nothing much he could do but to follow my instructions like “harap, talikod, ikot, bukaka, tuwad (face me, turn your back, turn around, feet apart, bend over, in English, respectively)” or suffer the prolonged ickiness of poop outside his body. I discerned that his current level of maturity already longed for pooping in the toilet instead of in the diaper because of yuck.
After using the first two wipes, I resorted to wetting tissues and hooking up all brown pigments until there was none left. To cap off the gruelling half hour procedure, I lathered his contaminated skin with the green apple-flavored liquid soap by the sink. Both his brand new shorts and socks went in the barf bags that I pulled out of the stainless shelf. Pretty much we halved the plane’s supply of whatever was inside.
Clad only in diaper, I carried my son in one arm—both skinny legs and sock-less feet dangling—and emerged in front of about three seniors tapping their feet, waiting in line for who-knows-how-long. I dared not look them in the eye as we went past back our seat row. A sigh of whew was delivered that day to the passengers of that flight—especially to Jaycelle who near missed being the target of darting stares of people if they traced back the source of the horrid smell.
Always my greatest fear is getting caught in a massive earthquake while doing number two. It was the same feeling in that pressing circumstance—when my fear was not of a messy splat, not even of banging doors from equally-soiled babies or seniors, but of encountering a turbulence while being unstrapped in the C.R. while dealing with fecal matter.
Uncovering and going over or under hurdles is what keeps our family going—to experience another day—to experience better days. In this case, it was only quarter to eight in the morning in the sunny island of Busuanga.