So, my littlest baby girl had to have surgery when she was just barely 12 months old. She had a very, very, very rare birth defect that caused her belly button to explode with exudate (AKA: pus) all over my close friend Rane in the middle of Susan’s co-op preschool class for which I was (obviously) volunteering as the assistant.

Poor baby Kathryn then had every. single. complication. imaginable.

This is the story of bath time one night very shortly after the aforementioned surgery:

I had been instructed by her surgeon that warm compresses and baths were acceptable, as long as the surgical site (her bellybutton) was not completely submerged in the bath water.

So, I’m preparing a warm compress (AKA: soaking a clean wash rag) to help cleanse and soak her surgical site (belly button). I begin to wipe the baby’s belly. She giggles. (SO CUTE!) I hold the warm compress against her belly button, per the surgeon’s instructions. The pus and gunk easily slides off her adorable, recently sliced open, abdomen.

And there’s a bit of white gunk on it. I use the warm compress rag to attempt to wipe it off. I am unsuccessful. So I use the rag to try and pinch it and pull it off her belly so it’s nice and clean and shiny.

The baby screams.

I feel resistance.

I start. Woah, what the fuck?

I decide it’s probably just some super crusted on pus around her surgical site. (Kathryn has been known to be super sensitive about these kinds of things.)

So I try again.

She screams. Again.

My husband asks me if “everything’s okay in there?”

NO! Everything is not okay!!!

I realize that what I am trying to pull off of my daughter’s abdomen is internal suture from her surgical procedure. It’s basically white stitches that are not where (THEFUCK) they are supposed to be!


I take a deep breath and have to focus myself and pretend this is not my kid. (It’s the only way my previously full time emergency medicine brain can not flip out. Scott deals with spiders. I deal with this.)

So I leave the bathroom – my husband is in the room with the 12 month old baby girl and the 3 year old girl in the bathtub. I run out and call Children’s Hospital (lying that I’m a practitioner to get through more quickly, of course….). I am being intense on the phone about my daughter’s dehissance that is clearly occurring post surgically, etc etc etc.

I talk and talk and talk and get an appointment and instructions and a prescription from the PA on the phone (there is still pus, people!). I ask incredibly specific questions (nurses are the worst patients) about what to do in a plethora of circumstances.

Right as I’m hanging up the phone my husband starts hollering. “Oh! Shit! No. Mari?!! Can you come here?!!!!”

So I run into the bathroom, expecting my baby girl to be bleeding all over creation.

I look into the tub and am instantly confused.

“Scott?” I ask. “Who threw mulch into the bath water?”

Because that’s clearly what has happened. My two baby girls are sitting in a tub full of what has now obviously become mulch water.

“No, no, no. Help me get them out. Right now.

He rarely speaks in this tone, so I follow directions.


Scott snags Susan out of the much-filled tub (I already have baby Kathryn wrapped in a towel in my arms).

“NO.” He informs her. “You may not play in shit.”

Shit? I think.



Kathryn is on a metric ton of antibiotics, which cause her stool to be absolutely disgusting. (To be fair – her autoimmune disorder has made her shit almost never solid most of her entire life — this has just complicated matters.)

Usually this adorable baby defecates in her diaper. Not in the bathtub.

Actually, I don’t think any of our four children have ever shat in the tub…….at any point in our entire combined 21 years of parenting.

I drain the tub. All the while laughing at myself for wondering who the fuck thought it was a good idea to throw huge handfuls of mulch into my bathtub while my children are gaily splashing around in it? That’s really what you thought was going on.


Mulch in my bathtub.

It’s obviously not mulch. My baby girl has had antibiotic induced diarrhea in a tub full of water. Which – if you were ever wondering – looks exactly like chunks of mulch floating in water.

I swear, I can’t make this shit up. (See what I did there?)

Luckily she’s cute.

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