Is it just me or is parenthood basically a bunch of adults doing and thinking about a bunch of shit they never, in a million years, imagined they would ever do?
Don’t lie. I know it’s not just me.
I mean, have you ever had one of those moments where you find yourself doing something completely absurd for your kids and you just think to yourself, ‘how did it come to this? how did I get here?’ This week I’ve had two of those moments.
The first moment was last Friday. Matty was sitting on the couch at my parents’ house when he suddenly started screaming, wincing and jerking his body around in discomfort. He then began whining at a high pitch and grabbing his butt; every person in the room stopped what they were doing. After waiting to see if he was serious, I took him to the bathroom with a packet of baby wipes thinking it was the side effect of poor wipe job but found nothing.
After our trip to the bathroom, he continued to wriggle and wail in discomfort. We didn’t have any sort of diaper cream (because we’re great parents) so we applied a pure petroleum jelly and then later on, a concoction my parents (and maybe the world?) call ‘bag balm’.
Afterward, Seth pulled me aside.
“I think he scratched it too hard.”
“What? His butthole?”
“Yeah, he was in there earlier with his hand down is pants, scratching his butt and I walked in and told him to knock it off; I guess I scared him because he told me I made him scratch it too hard.”
Cut to later that evening. We had taken Matty skiing (where he didn’t wince, whine or mention his butthole once) and returned to my parents’ house; the boys were in their jammies and we were ready to wind down for the night when he began to whine about his butt again. He begged to sit on my lap while I played cards and when I let him, he sat there moving his butt back and forth on my leg like a dog with worms. I was nearing my breaking point with the butt business when my mom offered some magical type of Neosporin with a painkiller in it (don’t ask, I have no idea). Out of options, I took her up on it. Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the kitchen floor – Matty bent over in front of me, pants around his ankles – fanning the fresh coat of Neosporin I had just applied to his asshole.
This is when the questions started. How did my life come to this?
Seth rounded the corner and was instantly laughing hysterically.
“Megan, what the fuck.”
“What are you doing?”
“I put some Neosporin with painkillers or something on there and I feel like this is helping?”
“Oh. My. God.”
Okay, so now fast forward to Monday evening when we received a health notice from the boys’ school: “Red Star student diagnosed with Pin Worm 2/24/18.”
At first when I saw the email notification pop up on my phone, I had Pinworm confused with Ringworm and – for whatever reason – that didn’t seem so bad, so I didn’t bother to read the email any further.
A couple hours after we had put the boys to bed, Matty started yelling from his room. When I went in to see what was wrong, he was half asleep writhing in discomfort and grabbing his butt again. Not thinking anything of it, I rubbed his back until he calmed down, kissed his forehead and walked out of the room. As I closed the door behind me, a very faint thought crossed my mind.
I scoured for my phone and pulled up the email.
“Pinworms are thin and white, measuring about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (about 5 to 13 millimeters) in length. While the infected person sleeps, female pinworms lay thousands of eggs in the folds of skin surrounding the anus. Most people infected with pinworms have no symptoms, but some people experience anal itching and restless sleep. Pinworm infection occurs most often in school-age children, and the microscopic eggs are easily spread from child to child. Treatment involves oral drugs that kill the pinworms and thorough washing of bedclothes, bed linens and underwear.”
WHAT. THE. FUCK. Now, I can handle a lot of things but the thought of literal worms coming out of my child’s body to lay eggs in the folds around their asshole in the middle of night is absolutely NOT one of them.
I went to consult Seth.
“Hey. I went in there and Matty was whining and grabbing at his ass. What if he has pinworm?”
“Seth. What if he does?”
“Megan. Stop it. He doesn’t have Pinworm.”
“SETH! But what if he does?!”
And with that, I stormed out of the room to do more research.
“The most common signs of a pinworm infection are itching around the rectum and restless sleep. The itching is usually worse at night because the worms move to the area around the rectum to lay their eggs.”
“If your child has a pinworm infection, you can see worms in the anal region, especially if you look about 2 or 3 hours after your child has fallen asleep.”
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Seth walked into the bedroom and as soon as we made eye contact, I started to tear up.
“Megan. Jesus. What? What is it?”
“Seth, you should read this. Oh my god. Worms? What if there are literal worms in his asshole?”
“It says here ‘If your child has a pinworm infection, you can see worms in the anal region, especially if you look 2 or 3 hours’ after they’ve fallen asleep.”
“Nope, no way. Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Seth, I can’t. Like – I can’t. What if there are worms???”
“Well, I’m not fucking doing it! You want me to go in there and look at his asshole while he sleeps?!”
“HOW ELSE WILL WE KNOW?!”
“I’m not going alone.”
“Seth, no. Oh my fucking god. No way.”
At this point I was crying and kind of laughing because what kind of fucking life is this? How did I get here?
“Megan, you’re fucking nuts. Let’s go. You’re coming with me.”
“Whaaaat? No. Please, no.”
“Let’s go. We’re going right now.”
I reluctantly got up, my skin crawling and my mind reeling with ‘what the fuck am I going to do if I see worms crawling out of my Matty’s asshole?’ type of thoughts. I clenched my cell phone tightly in my hand as we tiptoed into the room.
“If Abbott wakes up, you’re taking care of him.” Seth’s whisper cut through the low-volume lullabies filling the room. I rolled my eyes heavily as if he could see them.
Once we reached Matty’s bed, we both assumed our positions. I flipped on the flashlight of my phone and held it in position. Seth very quickly did what he needed to do, sliding Matty’s pajama pants just below his rear and spreading the cheeks. I squinted my eyes as if I was watching a scary movie and shined the light at the target. I saw nothing. And then in a split second it occurred to me that maybe I don’t know what the worms actually look like and I needed a second look for reassurance. Seth had already let go and was moving to pull up Matty’s pajama pants.
“No! Wait!” I gave a hand gesture, Seth let out a heavy sigh and spread the cheeks once more. I scanned the area with my best mom vision.
“Megan, jesus. Come on!”
“Okay! Let’s go!” I jumped off of the bed and leapt carefully out into the hallway.
“I fucking hate you!” Seth whispered as he not so carefully hurled himself out of the room.
We stood in the hallway outside of the door and laughed until our sides hurt. I laughed so hard I cried.
“Megan, I fucking hate you. Jesus! Why do you do this to me?”
“Okay. But seriously we had a 50/50 chance. Like we could have gone in and there could have been fucking maggots hovering around our kid’s asshole. You never know!”
“I mean, I’m obviously not going to second guess you ever again after Matty’s surgery but I fucking hate you.”
“I’m so happy there weren’t any worms in there. I feel like that would have really scarred me for life.”
We sat on the couch next to each other laughing like small children.
“What kind of life is this? How did our lives come to this?”
“Fucking parenthood, man. Fuckin’ parenthood.”
Oh, yeah. How could I forget? Fucking parenthood.