Twice a week I pick up two boys after school, walk them home, and play with them until their mother returns from work. Allegedly my job is also to teach them English (they're French), something at which I have not been particularly successful. The brothers are 3 and 5, and about as well-behaved as one can expect two boys of their ages to be. (I'm kidding - they're actually pretty good most of the time, except for when they get too rambunctious and I have to physically separate them). Last week, however, was an incident that I doubt any of us will forget any time soon.
We were about halfway home when 3 starts tugging on my arm and crying for his mother. I reassure him that she will come back soon, but as we continue to walk the tantrum escalates in volume and intensity. Finally he stops in the middle of the sidewalk and, still holding my hand, stamps his feet while screaming wordlessly.
And that's when I hear it - an unmistakeable fart followed by a god-awful stench.
"He needs to go to the bathroom," says 5, unhelpfully.
We're only a few blocks away from their apartment, but 3 doesn't want to move. (Not that I blame him; soiling yourself is probably one of the most uncomfortable feelings ever). He's still crying, so I pick him up and continue onwards with 5 in tow.
By the time we get to the front door the tears have subsided and 3 is babbling on about what he wants for his afternoon snack, but I'm thinking ahead to how I'm going to handle the situation. (Previously, 3 was too shy to go to the bathroom in my presence and preferred to wait for his mom to get home).
I set their snacks out on the dining room table, noticing that 3 doesn't take a seat like he usually does but instead eats standing up. 5 keeps wrinkling his nose and scowling at his brother, telling him to go to the bathroom. I ask 3 several times if he wants to go, but he keeps saying no.
They finish eating, and 3 asks if he can have some chocolate. I take the opportunity to bargain, saying that if he goes to the bathroom he can eat chocolate afterwards. 3 merely pouts. After turning down my offer again, I hold my breath and carry him into the bathroom.
3 initially struggles, but becomes submissive as I start to remove his pants. It immediately becomes clear that not only did he poop, he appears to have had an episode of exploding diarrhea. As I try to figure out where to put his soiled clothing so as not to contaminate the house, 3 takes the opportunity to clamber up to the toilet to take a piss, smearing crap all over the seat in the process.
Naturally 5 bursts in at exactly this moment, on the pretext of having to pee, and freaks out when he sees the state of the toilet seat.
"Go play with your toys," I urge him.
"You better clean that really well!" 5 says to me over his shoulder as he leaves.
Meanwhile 3 has finished and looks at me expectantly. Seeing as his entire lower body is covered in filth, I decide it's best to stick him in the bathtub and hose him down with the detachable shower head. 3 acquiesces, but only after I reassure him that I won't get his head wet.
Once clean 3's mood lightens considerably. After drying him off he escapes to the hallway, and I have to catch him so I can put clean clothes on.
I guess you could call it a bonding experience, because I notice that suddenly 3 is a lot less shy around me and that he actually listens when I tell him to do (or not to do) things. Seeing as this was around Thanksgiving time, I couldn't help but think how thankful I am not to be a parent.
But it seems that 3 finally trusts me now, so that's something.