My 13 month old twins (babies 4 and 5) are teething, terrible, drooling monsters right now, and I don’t want to overstate things, but it’s no exaggeration to say that this poop story I’m about to tell you was the best part of my day, by far. And that friends, is how you know you’ve reached Parenting Rock Bottom.
I was at the park with my oldest three kids (3, 8, and 10 years old) and we were meeting our equally fertile friends who also have five kids. I left the babies with the man responsible for getting me knocked up (my husband) because I couldn’t. take. another. minute. I thought about cancelling our plans and being a martyr-mother at home with the babies because they “needed” me. I also thought about locking myself in my bedroom and sleeping, but deemed that plan unlikely. I pressed on #momstrong. 😉 The weather was perfect, we got Chick-Fil-A on the way, and ate at the park (Fun Mom Badge unlocked!).
It was all going swimmingly until my preschooler came running over, holding his bottom. “I Have to Poop!” I explained how this charming playground had no bathroom facilities and he’d have to hold it. His bowels remained
unmoved moved and (playground) evacuation was mandatory. After a brief consideration of the treeline, we ran for the car (we were only about 3 minutes from home), him holding his backside the whole way, and yelling, “I have to go potty! It’s coming!”
I buckle him into his carseat, and he’s shouting at me to, “Hit it!” (For real. Buddy wasn’t playing.) I zoom off down the residential streets at a feisty 27 mph, heading for the closest toilet. I left my husband’s classic rock station on the radio because my oldest son likes it, and “The Who” is playing: Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?
He shouts from the backseat, “Mom! Are they saying, “Poo on you?!” He is equal parts delight and disgust. I press it to 29 mph because clearly if he’s hearing poop songs he’s got something serious on his mind. I make an executive decision that we’ll stop at the plaza where we got dinner. Chick Fil-A’s potty is 90 seconds closer than our house. He squeals. I decide on Chipotle’s potty because it’s at the top of the shopping center and doesn’t have a weird parking/traffic situation. (30 seconds saved)
I’m using all 10+ years of carseat unbuckling experience to get him out of the van as fast as humanly possible. We are waddling at preschooler light speed (adult equivalent: still not that fast, but he’s trying) through this parking lot, him literally holding on the entire way. An older woman passes us and gives a benevolent smile. I think, “You’ve got no idea, lady.” Or maybe she does. He’s not being super stealthy here. Then I hear, “It’s coming! I can’t believe this is happening to me!”
We’re through the doors! The bathroom is 12 steps away! Thank you, Jesus, it’s a single stall bathroom. Apologies to anyone waiting behind us. I do all the things necessary to get him sitting on the potty and the verdict is: Not Fast Enough.
Now he is looking at his undies and FREAKING OUT at “the accident” in the way that only the truly and thoroughly potty-trained can do. Dismay, disgust, disbelief…all happening at the top of his lungs in and echoing bathroom.
The only thing that can be smelled in this bathroom is the poop in the undies. It wasn’t even that much! And now he’s sitting there and saying he “can’t go”. That was it. Just one little turd. Surely, not. I’m encouraging him to finish…going. I think he’s just worried because he wants to go back to the park and play, he just wants to get back to his brothers, and his friends, he’s worried because, you know, there’s poop in his undies. I just want him to finish because, obviously, I don’t want to be repeating this scenario ten minutes after we get back to the park.
In case you don’t know moms have their own spidey-senses that Spidey can’t even come close to touching. This preschooler was at his breaking point. He wasn’t going to “go” anymore no matter what I thought and my job now was to move him from this moment of insecurity back to the park without the ruined undies and with his self-esteem intact, post haste. NBD, as my ten year old would say. And so I start talking.
Hey, this is no big deal. This always happens. Stupid park without a potty. This isn’t your fault. The park is so fun. (So sorry to the person who has to empty this trashcan. I have no options.) Let’s go! We’re just going to take these off… don’t worry about it! No, it’s fine. Look, we’ll wrap them up. Bye-bye! Our friends at the park are waiting for us. Did you know some grown ups NEVER wear undies? So silly! We’re just going to clean you up. Not yet! (I’d kill for a diaper wipe by this point) You have any french fries left at the park? Yum! (Can I teach him ‘freeballing’? No. ‘Going commando’? Three year olds have no sense, he’ll surely say it at church.) We’re done! We’re going to zoom back to the park! Nope, no undies! How fun is this? What a crazy day! Let’s wash our hands SO WELL!”
We hold hands as we walk out of that bathroom. He’s smiling big. I haven’t ruined him yet. We walk 8 of the 12 steps towards the door and come to a table full of pretty teenage girls who smile at my adorable son. He grins back, all charm, with his blue eyes, a dimple, and little white baby teeth. “I don’t even have any undies on.”
He just keeps on walking. 4 steps to the door. Back to the van, back to the park, laughing until I almost cried.