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Just when I think I've seen it all.

I am no stranger to gross things. I grew up on a dairy farm where I waded through cow excrement in my rubber boots on a daily basis on my quest to deliver hay and grain to hungry cattle and round up cows for milking. I got peed on, pooped on, chewed on, and helped pull stubborn calves that were less than anxious to be born. We used to play baseball with chunks of dry cow poop and sticks, and I distinctly remember being knocked off of my bicycle when my brother threw what he thought was dry cow poop that turned out to only be partially dry, as I found out when the wet part made contact with the side of my face. (in retrospect, that was an impressive shot from about 30 yards away)

My farming days came to an end when I moved away to college, and then got married and became a mother. I've been a mother for 12 years and 9 days now, and I thought I had pretty much seen all of the grossness that motherhood x5 has to offer. I've dealt with every kind of vomit, poop, and stomach spill mess imaginable, or so I thought. Piper is trying to increase my realm of experience in those areas, and she's doing a pretty good job of it this week. Either that or she's trying to convince me that she is a puppy.

Monday afternoon, I was babysitting for a friend and Piper was in the high chair gnawing on some Tostitos (the rolled kind) after having finished a bottle and a container of baby food. I went to answer the door when my friend came back to pick up her kids and when we walked into the house toward the kitchen, Piper started to gag on a piece of chip. Then she vomited. And vomited. And vomited. She emptied her stomach onto the high chair tray. Then she started playing in it. I helped my friend round up her kids and was going to take Piper to the shower as soon as they left, but I didn't want to take the high chair tray off until I was ready to take her to the shower, so she continued to splash and smear it around with her hands. She styled her hair with it, which I've seen my kids do before so that was no big deal, but I had to draw the line at having her pick up pieces of the tortilla chip that she had thrown up and eat them again. That was gross along the same lines as some of the things our farm dogs used to eat.

Last night, she decided to push the envelope of grossness again. Her favorite things to play with these days are the tubing from my breast pump and everything related to Raya's feeding pump. She has also recently developed a love for getting dressed, which she defines as putting something on top of her head and pulling it down so it ends up around the back of her neck. I was in the middle of cooking dinner last night and heard the kids say, "Mommy, Piper pulled out Raya's balloon!" You know you're a seasoned tubie momma when your knee-jerk response to that statement is, "Raya, you'd better not leak on the carpet! Clamp the tube and lay down!"

I walked past the girls on my way to get the syringe and KY jelly from the emergency supply basket. Piper was happily playing with the pump tubing while Raya's AMT Mini One, balloon fully inflated and still attached to the extension tube, flopped around on the floor like a freshly hooked trout.
*note: I thought about calling this post, "She pulled out her sister's G tube and you won't believe what happened next!" but those things drive me nuts so I didn't. You're welcome.

As I turned to walk back to the living room, I looked up and saw Piper holding the G tube in her hand with a contemplative look on her face. I knew exactly what she was thinking. There may as well have been a marquee sign above her head. If there had been, it would have said, "Mommy, I'm going to put this in my mouth and you're too far away to stop me!" And she would have been right. I couldn't get around the kitchen table fast enough to stop her from popping the shiny, squishy, still inflated G tube balloon right into her mouth.

She took it back out as fast as she had put it in. My only regret is that I was not quick enough with the camera to get a picture of the yuck face she made. I am all too well-acquainted with the powerful, permeating smell of formula mixed with Raya's gastric juices, and I can only imagine how awful that must have tasted. But gosh if it wasn't funny to watch.
(I got a new phone and the camera stinks. She's too fast for it.)
You would think she would have wanted nothing more to do with the smelly little G tube at that point, but she was not happy with me for prying it out of her little fist. I sat down next to Raya so I could put it back into her stomach and Piper decided she would help me by pulling the pump (which was beeping) out of the backpack and continuing to wear the tubing around her neck like a feather boa. She is such a helpful child. While I tried unsuccessfully to stem the flinging of formula drops out from the end of the extension tube in her hand, Raya, who is incapable of holding still, knocked over the cup of water I had gotten for the G tube balloon. In a final attempt to get Piper to let go of the extension tube, I offered her a consolation prize of the tubing from my breast pump, which she thankfully accepted. (picture the scene from Cars where the tractors are running amok in Radiator Springs and Luigi says, "Here! Have the snow tires!") That kept her occupied long enough for me to marvel at how beautiful Raya's stoma looks compared to how it used to look:
Aside from being a little bit dirty and a little bit red, it is looking fabulous and is a far cry from before her scar tissue excision. But I digress...

Piper was still trying to help by diving for the medicine cup. I imagine she wanted to dump out the last 3mls of water that Raya hadn't spilled yet. I got enough out of the cup to fill the balloon and then handed her the cup so I could get on with the tube replacement.
I tried to let Raya push the tube in by herself. It didn't happen. It was worth a shot. We got it back in though. When I asked Raya later how it had happened, she said, "I was trying to walk away but Piper wouldn't let go of my tube so I just kept walking and she pulled on it and it came out." She was actually more upset that Piper wouldn't let go of the tubing than the fact that she had pulled the G tube out of her stomach. After all of the excitement was over and the formula puddle was cleaned out of the rug, we washed hands (mine and Piper's) and tried to forget about the part where Piper put Raya's stomach balloon in her mouth. These kids sure like to keep things interesting!


  1. I feel so bad for laughing, but know I do it with support because we have been in similar circumstances. I used to think nothing could get grosser than my grossest Mommy experience when our adorable, weeks old first born son literally pooped in my mouth. Yes, that oh so "lovely" newborn baby gross liquidy poops, right in the old kisser, as I was changing his diaper. Needless to say there was a lot of tooth brushing, rinsing, and tossing of said toothbrush into the trash afterwards. That was nothing compared to some of the gag worthy things we have experienced since then with the kids. Hugs to all involved, especially now that Piper has had a bath and a tooth brushing. Ha ha.


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