Sick again, strong again, learn again

by ryanpmulligan


Big Moments for the week:

Pushed me to the fridge to get him Rice Milk

Grabbed my hand and lifted it up towards the Skittles

Smiled at Kathryn on too many occasions to recall

Let his sister touch him

Rolled a car back and forth for a good minute before flipping it upside down to inspect the underside.


As happens every month now I end up with a Rotavirus. ( At least that’s my story. )
When we enter a public bathroom, Hobbs and I, my legs go to the ground.  I pull his pants down while keeping his hands off of the toilet, the flush, the toilet paper, the bars, the walls, the tiles, and the wonderfully enticing pool of urine under the bowl.  He is exploring with his fingers and his mouth more than ever.  Touching surfaces and remembering their sensations by immediately placing that hand in his mouth.  I help hold his little body up on the toilet, arms braced on the seat knowing that the second he gets off his hands will enter his mouth.  Ninja speed, distraction, and constant correction only go so far, but 9 times out of 10 we make it to the sink, both his hands grasped at the wrist by my one hand, trying not to cut off circulation.  I do a pivot, turn, toss and lift his little body up so his legs straddle my thigh bracing his body against the sink.  Turning the faucet on, redirecting him from splashing or soaking his jacket in the fountain of water, I somehow manage to get soap all over his little hands.  Nine times out of ten he does not eat the soap.


We scrub, we sing, hand over hand we turn off the faucets. (This has been a 20-minute adventure by now and my dinner is very cold).

Paper towels require a grip, were working on that, but honestly nothing is remotely enjoyable about removing water from hands… it is so much more fun to lick it off.

I open the door with a damp paper towel protecting his little self from infection, disease, and filth.

The next day I’m living in the bathroom with a stomach bug.

But why don’t you put him down after he washes his hands to wash your own better?

Because a bathroom has tiles, and a single drop of water will sparkle, shimmer, and shine like a Christmas ornament on the ground ready to be inspected by little hands, smeared by tiny fingers and destroying any semblance of cleanliness.  This I know.

The laws of fluid dynamics are truly breathtaking.

One only has to witness a toilet flush in the presence of my son to realize the joy of scientific discovery.  He is Bill Nye, Temple Grandin, and Archimedes shouting from the clenched right side of his tiny mouth.  The vortex of water or vortical motion if you’re a scientist is incredible.  Water is pushed down straight from pipes under the bowl, yet immediately swirls in a regular and breathtaking motion.  And then by some continued magic the water refills, the universe is back in order quiet and still with a glass sheen reflecting light back at us because of surface tension that we see yet never really perceive.

The hydrophilic surface of porcelain causes liquids to pool and generate force if acted upon, hence why spashback happens to men who attempt to aim at a 90-degree angle into the urinal.  Hobbs sees the agitated water movement when I pee, (yes I pee in front of my son holding him off the ground because after he goes I really, really have to go) and sometimes hand-flaps himself with such joy that I almost loose grip, or loose my pants to my ankles.

NPR just recently did a story about finding the secrets to the universe in a faucet and a toilet and I couldn’t help but cry as I drove in to work listening.  My little scientist made me look up a few terms, do a bit of leg work, lock away some information so that one day, if he ever asks we can experiment and call Kathryn’s friends in Australia to have them send a video of their toilet flushing.  We can read about gravity together, learn about the axis of the earth, and play with a compass and a magnet.

Or perhaps he will ask me about the inventor of the modern toilet, about the roman sewage system.  I like that he makes me different and so proud to be a dork, nerd, and weirdo.