Take Breaks

19 Oct

Just because a toddler is potty-trained does not mean she will always take breaks. The more attractive the distraction, the higher probability she will have to be reminded to go. Scratch that. The reminder will often be met with, “No, I don’t have to go.” In this case, physically remove the toddler from the scene and cart her off to a restroom. This is what I should have done last weekend. But my toddler, Phoebe, has already been potty-trained for a year. I thought she’d be fine. She had also already emptied her bowels before donning her swim pants and floatation-reinforced super swimmie-suit. All was well with the world.

My husband took Phoebe into my grandmother’s pool and splashed around with cousins, aunts, uncles and nieces. It was my cousin Olivia’s birthday and everyone was in a great mood. I sat with my Grandma on the deck under the shade of an umbrella catching up and enjoying the day.

Phoebe was having a ball. My husband, Brendon, was throwing her high in the air so she could make huge splashes. My sister, Terri, then took Phoebe duty and caught her while she jumped repeatedly from the side of the pool into the water while Brendon tossed our nieces from the shallow end into the deep end. Grandma and I watched this happy routine for several minutes until my sister shoved Phoebe away from the pool and shouted, “No! Phoebe, stay on the side! Don’t jump in!”

“What happened?” Brendon aked. And then he saw his answer running down Phoebe’s legs. He scooped her up and carried her towards me.

“What happened?” Phoebe asked.

“What do you mean, ‘what happened?’” Brendon muttered. “ You know what happened. You crapped your pants.”

And then I saw the damage too. “Oh, man.” I wrapped Phoebe in our towel from home in an effort to contain the brown ooze. I carried her to the bathroom and deposited her in the shower. Thank God for removable shower heads. Slowly I unzipped the floatation-reinforced super swimmie-suit. Bits of yesterday’s carrots and black beans spewed forth into the tub. There were at least two quarts of the nastiness.

“I see a carrot Mommy!” Phoebe actually sounded excited.

“Forget the freakin’ carrot Phoebe! “ I barked. “Why didn’t you tell Daddy you had to poop?”

“I like the pool. I didn’t want to stop swimming.”

“I understand you like to swim, but you can’t poop in the pool, honey. No. You have to take breaks.”

My grandmother is ninety-years-old. She has those old-school individual plastic flowers with suction cups on her shower floor to prevent slips. Not the mat like everyone else from the twenty-first century. No. The individual flowers with tiny suction cups collected little chunks of carrots and black beans and whatever else Phoebe had ingested over the past twenty-four hours. I removed the flowers and washed them off, replacing them carefully. I didn’t want to be responsible for my grandmother wiping out and breaking a hip in the shower because of my kid’s shit attack.

“I ‘m sorry I pooped my pants,” Phoebe offered.

“Okay. Okay.”

Then we heard someone huffing and puffing outside the bathroom door, and the sound of someone wringing out rags in the adjacent laundry room.

“Stay here,” I ordered Phoebe, who was now wrapped in a towel and standing on the bathroom floor.

I peeked out into the hallway. My aunt was cleaning up a trail of shit on the carpet that led at least twenty feet from the threshold of the bathroom door to the deck.

“Oh. No!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, yes,” she sighed.

All I’m saying is make sure they take breaks.

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