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I am trotting out this post again after pulling it shortly after posting it late last summer/early fall. It’s gross. But I like it. I called it “Mercy” because mothering = mercy-on-demand.

“Mama! Mama! I gots da di-rah-REEEEE-rah! I gots da di-rah-REEEEE-rah!”

Ryley shouted words you never want to hear strung together. He was three years old and standing at the top of the stairs. It was nearly bedtime for a tired tummy-flu battling mommy and the last thing any mother wants to hear.

The virus was eventually vanquished. Left behind in the rubble was a richer family lexicon. Our word for the very last malady on Pepto Bismol’s list is now “di-rah-REEEE-rah!” someone, give that kid a spoon

It is difficult to shake the new and improved pronunciation of this particular word. There have been several times I’ve held a feverish child in the pediatrician’s office and told the doctor “da di-rah-REEEEE-rah started yesterday morning…”

Early this morning I heard the jingle of our dog’s collar. She was walking up and down the stairs. I didn’t think much of it because I know she checks on everyone during the night. She briefly came into our room but didn’t try to rouse us. No bark, no whine, no help me, people. I fell back to sleep.

When I opened my eyes I could hear the three big kids in Ryley and Sam’s room, playing. I got up to tell them to go downstairs so we could start breakfast. When I walked in their room there was a stench that punched me squarely in the nose and gut. It was big and it was wearing giant red leather gloves. “What is that smell?” I demanded.

“I think it’s Sam?” offered Ryley.

“I doubt it!” I gasped, “Go down stairs!”

I followed them with the horrible suspicion the dog had something to do with our aromatic wake-up call. I tiptoed around and turned on the lights, holding my breath in anticipation of seeing a mess. From across the room I saw a pile of poo that on closer inspection turned out to be a Stitch figurine from a Happy Meal. Feeling relieved because I saw nothing alarming, I was on my way to make coffee when Sam ran up to me and said “Junie pooped on my comforter!”

It seemed unbelievable. But hubby confirmed that the dog did, indeed, have di-rah-REEEEE-rah all over Sam’s comforter.

The athletic, brave, and crazy souls running on the greenbelt behind our house this morning when the sun was shyly peeking over the horizon were treated to the sight of a man in his boxer shorts and t-shirt hosing off a dark bulky object. My first impulse was to wrap it in several trash bags and drive it to the nearest Superfund toxic waste dump, but with gas prices the way they are I had to rethink.

After the hose-down, we put it in the washing machine, set it on Hellfire Hot, and dumped enough bleach to rid WaterWorld of every last bacteria, even the good ones. Turning stomachs are discriminatory stomachs. It is now on its third wash. I don’t think I will ever be comfortable seeing the comforter back on Sam’s bed.

Junie is going to spend the day outside. The kids feel awfully sorry for her, but none more than 23-month-old Joel, who knows how to unlock the back door and insists on letting her inside. I put her out. He let her in. I put her out. I stood by the door. He collapsed to the floor, feeling sad for her and wanting to exercise mercy. “She has da di-rah-REEEEE-rah, Joel!”

He wrinkled his nose. “Di-rah-REEEEE-rah! Uck.” His mercy came to a smoking halt and threw itself into reverse.

Moms do not have that luxury. We are called upon to go elbow deep into the muck of life and make it all better. Heather, on her new blog, wrote about such a night. It is so familiar. We are all in the same boat and we know we should bring bailing buckets. Big buckets. And a hose.

And a sense of humor.

12 comments to Mercy

  • No truer comment was ever made. Mom’s do go “elbow deep in the muck of life” even when we are feeling under the weather ourselves. The funny thing is, when it is my own kids “muck” I don’t seem to mind so much. We must have some sort of component that enables us to shut off our “totally grossed out valve” when the “di-rah-REEEEE-rah” comes from our own DNA. This unfortunately does not apply to the excrement of pets!

  • Oh my gosh! A story about poop told only as you can tell it! I missed this the first time around but remember that it caused a fuss. Thanks for the re-post and, as always, your keen insight. It is amazing how becoming a mother instantly changes your definition of “gross,” at least as it applies to your own offspring.

  • speaking of poop I had my 13 month old in the bath the other night with his thre year old brother and out of my eye I see this tiny tiny little poop floating in the water my friend who does not have kids about passed out my self on the other hand leaned over the tub and scooped the tiny tiny poop into the the toilet and went on my merry way she on the ohter hand has decided she is not ready for children yet lol

  • When you’re sliding into first and you feel your stomach burst….

    Too bad you don’t have an audio file/button on the blog so we can hear the pronunciation.

  • Hi Gretchen,

    Don’t know if I’ve posted before, but I’ve been enjoying your writing for several months now.

    I can’t imagine any true mother being offended at this post! Every word of it is true, and put more delicately than *I* would have done! LOL!

    I have to ask, though, if the word “trotting” was an intentional pun in the little forward, though…

  • goslyn

    Hahaha. I totally relate to this post. Our dog, Coletrane, had an episode of di-rah-REE-ah not too long ago. Fortunately, he’s crate-trained, but man, it was gross. He managed to aim out of his crate and mostly hit the carpet. Thank goodness for steam cleaners.

    I love the pronounciation, too.

  • mopsy

    Jenni—was “trotting” an intentional pun? Whatever do you mean?


  • I have had to deal with so many bodily fluids in the last 9 years I didn’t even really think was all that gross. I’m not sure that signals an improvement in me!

    FYI, our second child has named diarrhea “mean poopy”, and that’s what we call it in our family now.

  • This post, and the comments, had me in stitches. I’m glad you posted it now instead so I could read it!!

  • too funny 🙂

    Lexie, you crack me up.

  • Glad to see this back. I liked it and it is soooooo true!

  • goslyn

    Ok, another comment – every time I see the Pepto-Bismol graphic on here I start singing that stupip Pepto-Bismol kids commercial that’s out now.

    Upset stomach, sour stomach, heart burn, acid-indigestion … try pepto-bismol …

    So, thanks, for the soundtrack. 😉

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