I know people who don’t have children get really tired of hearing people who do have children talk about their kids’ poop. I get that. Totally makes sense, but here’s the deal. You have no idea how much your life revolves around poop for several years once you have children. Literally from the moment they take their first breaths, you become concerned about the frequency and type of poop your children have. (If you don’t know what meconium is, wait until you are about to have a baby to google it.)
Every proud parent can tell you at least one story that involves one or more of the following:
- Ruined Christening/Christmas/Easter outfits
- Changing the sheets on a bassinet/crib/bed multiple times in one night
- Poop in a carseat
- Ten days without poop, resulting in the use of baby enemas
- Realizing the problem too late because poop has escaped UP a shirt, spilling out a baby’s collar
- Bathtub poop
And for some reason, we all LOVE to tell these stories to anyone who will listen, despite the fact that common sense says this is NOT appropriate. No way, no how.
I’m at the stage now where poop is less of an issue because my children are five and two. Poop just doesn’t affect my life all that often anymore. So...
Ben and I picked up Will from school and headed to karate just like we do every Monday. There’s a Carvel next door to the karate studio, so it’s become a tradition that we grab an ice cream and soft pretzel to share before heading to Will’s class. As Will slurped down his melting hot pink birthday cake ice cream, a look of panic crossed his face. I knew the look.
“Mom, I need to go to the bathroom. Right now. I feel sick.”
I hopped up and scooted him toward the door, as he waddled across the restaurant. He pushed my hands away and said, “I want to go by myself.”
When he came back out, I asked, “Everything okay?”
He acted like everything was fine, skipping even to throw his empty ice cream cup away, and we headed next door to karate. We headed toward the bathroom, so Will could change into his uniform, and when he dropped his school pants, I threw up in my mouth.
EVERYTHING. WAS. NOT. FINE.
“Holy shit.” It came out before I could stop it, and I covered my mouth and nose to stop from vomiting. Through a small opening in my fingers, I said, “Buddy, what happened?”
“Oh, I had diarrhea before I got to the toilet!” He said this in the same way he would have said, “I like superheroes!”
I stripped him down and threw away his underwear (silencing his protests of “my Batman underwear!” with fire in my eyes and a quick, “We’ll buy more!”), then wrapped his pants in a trash bag I found under the sink. Will recovered well from the loss of his beloved undies with a “Welp, I guess I’m goin’ commando!”
We hurried out of the bathroom, and I tied his belt on, turning him toward me. “Will, if you start to feel sick again, get off the floor IMMEDIATELY. Go straight to the bathroom. Don’t ask. Just go.”
Will, doe-eyed and mouth gaping, whispered, “Okay, I promise.” I wish I could say I was being a good mom and wanting to save my child the embarrassment of a public poo incident, but really, I was just thinking I already have to depoop one pair of pants tonight--I do not want to have to depoop white karate pants, too!
We made it through the class and got in the car to leave. Three minutes down the road, we were sitting at a red light, when I glanced in the rearview mirror to see a red-faced Will, eyes bulging in desperation. I said, “Buddy, are you okay? Do I need to pull over?”
“YES! It’s happening again!”
“Okayokayokayokayokayokay!!!” Cursing the red light, I scanned the road for a place to stop and landed on a CVS. I forgot to mention that I was driving in a torrential downpour. Nothing to do with poop, but it did make our mad dash to the store (Ben flailing off my hip, and Will trying his best to not fall down in his flip-flops) even more fun. Because you know what’s better than poopy karate pants? Poopy, rain-soaked karate pants.
We found the bathroom, and Will continued to explode. And I actually threw up in the trash can. Ben stood at the Xcelerator, waving his hands under the air (which was good because he was soaking wet from the rain) and laughing hysterically. Thank God.
Realizing Will now had no pants, I told him to stay where he was while I went to find him some underwear and shorts in the store. Praying that no one needed to use the bathroom while my poor, poopy five-year-old sat pantsless on the pot by himself, I scanned all the shelves as fast as I could, dragging Ben behind me. “Look for undies! Look for undies!”
The manager (probably in an effort to make sure I wasn’t a crazed meth addict looking to score some pseudo) stopped me and asked if he could help me. This is when I learned that CVS does not sell:
- Children’s underwear
- Women’s underwear
- Men’s underwear
- Children’s shorts
- Children’s pants
- Children’s leggings (yes, I asked--I would have just told Will they were superhero pants if he asked why I was making him wear girl pants)
PULL-UPS! I ran to the diaper aisle and grabbed a package of pull-ups and ran back to the bathroom to make sure no one had kidnapped my poor, poopy son that I’d left in the bathroom by himself. There he was, still sitting by himself. When I opened the door, he said, “Mom, I’m still pooping. It’s like a tornado in the toilet.”
I realized (after looking up at a “No Merchandise Past This Point” sign as I burst through the bathroom door) that I was definitely going to need to go back out to the car to get my wallet to pay for my ripped open bag of pull-ups. I told Will to stay and ran with Ben back to the car to get my wallet, praying again that none of the employees would make their hourly rounds to clean the bathroom and turn me into child services for abandoning my poor, poopy five-year-old.
When I got back to the bathroom, I placed Ben back under the Xcelerator, and helped Will get cleaned up. Let me tell you now that I am really, really, really grateful that Will in this instance decided to be easy-going (I sometimes call him Contrary Mary for his ability to make every situation more difficult than it needs to be .)
Will, my beautiful boy, had to walk out of the CVS bathroom in a bright green karate t-shirt, a pull-up, and a pair of flip-flops (which were about two sizes too small but had been forced on his feet by his mother because they were the only ones in his karate bag and she didn’t want to waste time tying his school shoes). And he didn’t complain at all.
As we walked toward the counter, I was struck with the realization that because of this CVS encounter, we were now set back time-wise to set us up for Charleston traffic failure. We would probably be in the car on the way home somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, right through dinnertime. So, I marched my diapered, pantsless five-year-old and half-way blown-dry 2-year-old to the snack aisle and let them pick out dinner. And I also said yes when they asked if they could buy some more silly bands because really--what’s the purpose of saying no at that point?
Armed with my open bag of pull-ups, two one-serving bowls of Fruit Loops, and a package of peanut butter crackers (oh, and a pair of poopy karate pants), we approached the register to pay. I know the woman really wanted to ask what the hell was going on, but I averted my eyes. She was gracious enough to not press. Before she’d finished ringing me up, I said to Will, “Grab those ring pops!” My children have been raised in the south, and no meal is complete without “somethin’ sweet” even if that meal is Fruit Loops and peanut butter crackers.
As we dashed back through the rain to the car, both boys held on to the edges of my jacket (as they have been instructed to do in parking lots), laughing the whole way. As I got them buckled in, getting drenched the whole time, Will yelled, “Mom, that store was awesome!”
We eventually made it home (in one hour and twenty minutes), got cleaned up and jammied, and read bedtime stories. I put Ben to bed. I put Will to bed. And I sat down to write. When I’m finished posting this, I’m going to go soak two pairs of pants while I watch The Bachelor and drink wine.
Yes, it’s completely brain-numbing and worthless, but I think you’ll agree, friends, that tonight is not the night to judge me.