So, last Saturday, Spouse, K., and I hopped in the car and headed south for the beach. K. was a champ most of the way there, with only sporadic episodes of crankiness. During one particularly antsy stretch we decided we simply needed to find a place where we could stop, get him out of the car, and give him the opportunity to stretch his legs. Shortly after crossing into North Carolina we came to a lovely rest stop. (I'm sure you don't equate the words "lovely" with "rest stop" but I must say that this one was indeed scenic, with a newly renovated visitors center and surrounded by beautiful, tall pine trees ... then again, when you are sick of being in the car, I suppose any opportunity for respite looks good.)
Anyway, we unloaded K. and some food for his lunch. My husband fed him while I took a bathroom break, and by the time I came back they were nearly finished with his lunch. We traded, and I did lunch cleanup duty while DH went to the mens' room.
I sat there on the grass and let Kibi run around and play under the pine trees. The needles from the trees weren't sharp; they were actually quite soft, and made for a sort of natural gym mat for him to run on. So, I stretched out my legs, took a few deep breaths and observed just how relaxing it was to sit in the shade of these pretty pine trees while K. played and explored.
The day was looking to be perfect. In a few hours we'd be at the beach house for a week of fun and relaxation, and we had had no major meltdowns so far. I glanced over at K., who was about 10 feet away from me, examining a pine cone at the base of one of the trees. So far, so good.
I daydreamed a bit, and then looked over at him again. Still playing with the pine cone. It occurred to me that we were bumping up against the maximum amount of time for him to be playing with a singular item (about 5 minutes), and I suddenly got the urge to walk over there and see just what about that pine cone was captivating his interest.
I walked over and, to my horror, discovered that what he was squeezing in his right hand was not, in fact, a pine cone.
That's right. My son was squeezing a PINE CONE-SIZED PIECE OF CANINE FECES.
I immediately dry heaved (those of you who know me well know what a weak stomach I have when it comes to bowel movements, clogged toilets, and tub hair) and, while doing so, swept K. up (while making it my ultimate goal not to let the "soiled hand" touch a) his other hand, b) his face, c) his clothes, or d) any part of me) and back over to my picnicking station.
Fortunately I had my diaper bag with antibacterial soap and wipes, which I immediately put to use, scrubbing his little fingers furiously. At this point DH came back and asked me what was going on. Upon my explanation, I think I saw him give me a "I'm so glad this happened on YOUR watch" look, although if he did, it was quickly gone. I felt the need to cleanse myself to the point of rawness, so I asked DH to continue the scrubbing with special instructions to clean the poo out from under K.'s fingernails (the image of the stuff under his nails still haunts me to this day). Meanwhile, I ran off to the restroom and proceeded to have a panic attack.
When I came back out, K. was once again playing happily and DH was throwing away the used wipes -- our only evidence of the episode. I couldn't get over my repeated urges to dry heave, and wondered aloud whether our son was going to die of e. Coli or something else horrible like that. To ease my concerns, my husband proceeded to tell me the story of something he learned in his high school biology class, in which his teacher proceeded to tell the class that, especially considering those people who bite their nails, "We're all fecal eaters." He demonstrated by singling out one of the nailbiters in the class - my husband -- and scraping out some of the substance from under his fingernails and putting it under the microscope.
What did they find? The same bacteria that is found in.... (wait for it) ....
Ah, so, knowing that my husband and I both (regrettably) bite our nails, and considering Kibi's starring role in the NC Rest Stop Scandal of 2008, now I can rest easy knowing that my family is a bunch of Fecal Eaters.
Now THAT's something to be proud of!