Tag Archives: baby poop

The Mile High Snub

27 May

Planes, elevators and port-a-potties probably top the list of what get my neurotic juices flowing.  My husband, who loves to laugh at me, enjoys flying with me because the face I make during turbulence trumps all my other idiosyncrasies. He even has a name for it: ‘the monkey face.’  Oh, and it comes with complimentary monkey noises too.  Very attractive.  The antidote for the monkey syndrome came when our daughter was born.  Babies know when you’re faking it, so when she was four months old and we took our first flight as mommy and baby, I had to replace ‘monkey face’ with ‘game face.’

My in-laws flew me up while my husband was away at work, and being alone with our baby girl Phoebe meant I would have no back-up in the event “the monkey” made an inadvertent appearance.  Thankfully, flying with a little one who is still nursing brings a set of challenges that completely distracted me from my usual preoccupation with falling out of the sky in a ball of fire.  Fear was quickly replaced by an apologetic air while Phoebe screamed, and then an even more apologetic air while I stuck her head under my shirt so she would stop.  I lay a blanket over my shirt to shield the spectacle and relaxed while she enjoyed a snack that would fill her tummy and pop her ears.

To say the man in the seat next to me was “visibly uncomfortable” is the understatement of the century.  He had eyed me earlier as I made my way down the aisle toward his row with all the joy of someone anticipating root canal.   He recoiled from my aisle seat and hunched so far into the fuselage wall and window that I thought he might actually have a parachute strapped to his back.

Just in case I wasn’t picking up the vibe, he proceeded to ring the flight attendant bell and ask if there were any free seats, “… any at all anywhere else on the plane.”

“I’m sorry,” the female attendant said without sympathy, “It’s a full flight today.”

When the attendant was out of sight, I addressed the man who was now unsuccessfully feigning sleep with a scowl on his face.

“Listen, I’m not going to apologize for feeding my daughter.  You either deal with the most natural thing in the world or deal with a baby screaming in your ear.”

And then the turbulence hit.  I could feel the monkey coming on.  The monkey who was stopped dead in his tracks by the sound of my precious baby farting and crapping so loudly it could be heard over the steady roar of a 737.

Ah the sweet sounds and smells of comic relief.  I didn’t even care that the plane was being tossed about like one of my daughter’s toys.  After about fifteen minutes of baby grunts, and the unmistakable sound of a diaper filling up, Mr. Uncomfortable felt compelled to actually speak to me.

“You should take care of that.” He eyed my daughter like she was a Hefty bag that needed to be taken to the curb.  The new mother in me resisted the urge to slap the hostile look right off his face.

But he had a point. She stank.

The thought of changing her diaper at 37,000 feet in a cramped space the size of a genie’s bottle that doubled as an international germ factory was bringing on a round of anxiety that threatened to dash my calm veneer.  I had been so good.  No monkey noises.  Phoebe wasn’t picking up on my fear because I’d kept it in check.  Taking her to that closet with a vacuum that posed as a toilet just wasn’t an option.

And then I took a deep breath in an attempt to shore myself up for the task, but inhaling just shored up my gag reflex.  At a mere four months, my daughter had managed to produce a stench that could rival the dumps on Staten Island. (FYI for the non-New Yorkers- those suckers can be seen from space.)  Sour milk and garbage.  This is what she had created.  My urge to hurl subsided considerably and my baby was content in the way one can only be after a great meal and a spectacular shit.  I held her in my lap and debated whether stripping her down in an airplane toilet while the plane was still bucking against a headwind was the best option.

As Mr. Uncomfortable had no emotional attachment to the source, he couldn’t suppress his gag reflex and he retched several times before issuing a reminder.

“Take care of that.  Now.”

I usually play well with others.  I swear.  But this was war.

“Sure thing,” I said, syrupy sweet.

Cradling my daughter in the arm nearest the aisle, I reached into the diaper bag to pull out a diaper and baby wipes, then began unbuttoning my daughter’s pajamas.

“You aren’t going to change her right here are you?” Mr. Uncomfortable’s eyes were enormous.

“It’s not safe to get up during this kind of turbulence with a baby.  And we’ve already started our descent into LaGuardia.”

He studied me to see if I was bluffing.  I wasn’t.  I had changed this kid on my lap, on sidewalks, on backseats.  I gave him my best “try me” look and finished unbuttoning Phoebe’s pajamas.  Without that extra barrier of clothing the shit was intense.  Mr. Uncomfortable gagged while I smiled and handed him an air sickness bag which he snatched from my hand.

“Should I just wait until we land?”  I offered.

He nodded.

The captain came over the cabin speakers.

“There’s a little bit of a backup at LaGuardia tonight due to high winds.  We’re going to have to circle around for awhile until we get clearance for landing.  We’ll have you on the ground in about thirty minutes.”

For thirty minutes I bounced Phoebe in my lap and sang to her while she smiled and continued to reek of sour milk and garbage.

Mr. Uncomfortable just clung to his air sickness bag, staring at the back of the seat in front of him and enduring the longest thirty minutes of his life.


Strange Days Indeed

2 Feb

My daughter is three now, but sometimes I just stare at her in disbelief across the breakfast table.  There is a person there, where before there was no person.  She grew in my belly like a science project.  And now she talks to us.  Some days it’s as if she’s been living in our house for always, other days she seems miraculous.  Sometimes it’s just weird.  The truth about parenting is that nothing can prepare you for just how weird it can be. 

The things kids say and the things they make you say….It’s all just unexpected and unpredictable.  Living with a three-year-old is a lot like living with a drunk midget.  They’re tiny, loud and demanding.  And there’s the occasional puddle of puke and random dump on the floor.  You never know what the day will bring.

Before I was a mom, I’d see stories on the news about terrible things happening to kids and I would be very judgmental. Not anymore.  When I have to go to the bathroom and my toddler is playing quietly, I think to myself, “What’s the worst that could happen in the two minutes I’ll be in the other room?”

Well, the kid could catch on fire or end up unconscious and bald sprawled out next to the electrical outlet with a fork in one hand.  But that’s not what I think about when I am desperate for a quiet dump alone without my drunken midget audience smacking my knees and asking why poop smells so awful.  All I am thinking is, “Victory is mine!  I can shit in peace and the little bugger won’t even know I’m gone.” 

Several months ago, I had such an opportunity for a private poop while my daughter was completely lost in her watercolor painting.  When I returned from the bathroom, the dog was walking around the house with a pencil hanging out of his ass.  

“What happened here?” I asked my little midget.    

All I got was a blank stare and a meek “I dunno.” 

Sometimes bad stuff happens and I’m right there, powerless to stop the onslaught of bruises or the soiling of clean clothes.  The very next day after the pencil-in-dog-ass incident, my daughter was eating at the table with no pants on.  I don’t know what she did with them.  Just when I was going to ask her what she did with them, she burst out, bright as sunshine, “Mommy I just had a wet fart.”

“What do you mean?” 

She sat up and announced, “Look at it Mommy.  It looks like a little slug.” 

It did.  There was a poop slug curled up peacefully on the kitchen chair. I scooped up my daughter roughly and ran to the bathroom, because another ‘slug’ was in the process of escaping her ass.

When I returned to the kitchen, intent on disposing of the wet-fart-poop-slug, my bleach wipes were met with an empty chair.  Genuinely perplexed, I stood there examining the other, equally empty, kitchen chairs. 

“There was poop here twenty seconds ago,” I mused aloud to nobody in particular but the dog. 

The dog who stared at me, licking his lips. 

“Oh, no!”  I shouted. 

His response was to merely lick his lips again and wag his tail, alternating his gaze from me to the kitchen chair as if to say, “Yeah, yeah. Give me another one of those poop slug snacks.”

My first instinct was to reprimand the dog, but then I spotted tiny little shit crumb he had left behind and said, “There you go buddy you missed a spot.” 

And then I laughed until my cheeks burned and my abs ached.  Not just because my dog ate my daughter’s shit, or because just the day before my daughter had shoved a pencil into the dog’s ass. It was because John Lennon was speaking to me through the radio.  Normally when Lennon “speaks” to me through the radio it is some poignant reminder of the simple necessity of peace, but not that day.  That day he seemed to speak to me about the wonderful weirdness of parenthood: the drunken midgets, the poop slugs, the poop-eating puppies; all of it.

“Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed.  Most peculiar Momma.” 


On the Road Again

10 Dec

For a lot of us the holidays mean traveling.  My husband’s family still lives on Long Island and we live in South Carolina.  We make the trek a few times a year, and we usually drive it.  A toddler, a dog and my small bladder usually make for many stops along the way.  The trip always takes us between fourteen and fifteen hours.  It doesn’t matter what time we leave our house, somewhere along the way there will be traffic.  There was one time, however, when we made it in ten and a half hours.  This is the trip against which my husband gauges the success of all other trips.  But it’s a bogus yardstick.  First of all, it was before the kid and the dog.  A pit stop in those days was actually a pit stop.  We fueled up, peed, grabbed a drink and a snack from the racks of the gas station and were back on the road again in three minutes flat.  Secondly, that ten and half hour miracle was performed on National Hangover Day.  We had spent New Year’s Eve with friends in New York and then hopped on the road at ten the next morning.  The roads were dead.  It was eerie. We rolled into our driveway at eight-thirty that night. It was a once in a lifetime feat. 
Now that we travel with a three-year-old and the dog we have to unload the tribe every time we stop.  It’s not that incredible of an undertaking, but it’s definitely more of a time suck than our former three minute pit stops.  My husband, Brendon, understands this on some level, but once we get into the car he develops logistical amnesia.  Every time my daughter or I ask to stop to pee we are greeted by the exaggerated and exasperated sighs of Brendon the Toilet Nazi.  His sympathy for my tiny bladder is limited, as he is what I refer to as a Piss Camel.  He can drink a gallon of Gatorade and drive comfortably for five hours.  I cut off my liquid intake at 6 pm the night before a trip.  That morning I will allow myself a tablespoon of water to wash down breakfast and will only suck on throat lozenges until we are at least six hours into the trip.  I wish I were making this up. 
Our three-year-old, Phoebe, has inherited the Piss Camel gene.  For this I am thankful.  But she is what I refer to as a Turd Terrorist.  You never know when one of her crap attacks will strike.  When she is at home on her regular routine she poops at pretty regular intervals.  On the road?  Well….let’s just say it’s a crap shoot.  The only predictable aspect of a Phoebe crap attack is that it will most likely occur when it is most inconvenient, when you’re stuck in traffic, or when the only place to go is a farmhouse only barely visible from the interstate. 
This year on our way up to New York for Thanksgiving, we were delayed for forty-five minutes on I-81 in Virginia for “dynamiting.”  Yes.  Dynamiting.  There was no detour.  Just a dead stop.  Some asshole had made the decision to dynamite the side of a mountain beside an interstate on one of the most busy travel days of the year.  We stopped the engine and got out of our car to join the other travelers in conversation on the side of the road while Phoebe took advantage of an opportunity to actually play in traffic and pet other dogs.  Just when it looked like we were going to get moving again, Phoebe announced to everyone within earshot that she had to poop.  Now. 
A friendly trucker retrieved a crusty towel from his vehicle for Brendon to use as a privacy shield while Phoebe joined the ranks of her newly made canine friends who were also crapping in the grass along the road’s shoulder.  Just as she was squeezing out the last bit of chocolate soft serve, the construction vehicle just ten car lengths ahead started its engine and gave everyone the go ahead to return to their vehicles.  We had just enough time to wipe her rear, toss the nasty towel back to the trucker and strap Phoebe into her car seat before people started to honk. 
On the return trip Phoebe was kind enough to reserve her crap attack for a clean and accessible rest area.  She must have been saving up all the mashed potatoes she had consumed on Thanksgiving for this one massive dump.  It lay in ambush in that shallow part of the bowl hidden from view as I reached back to wipe her tushy.  The poop was piled so high that my unsuspecting hand actually became lodged in the stuff. When I retracted my hand it looked as if I had just dipped it in thick brownie batter.  Phoebe took advantage of the acoustics in the restroom to inform everyone of the disaster.
“Ewwwh!  Mommy!  My poop is all over your hand!”  Then she laughed maniacally. 
After using toilet paper to sweep the poop from under my nails and scrape it from my palm and Phoebe’s tushy, we exited the stall and doused ourselves with soap. 
“Mommy you’re using a LOT of soap.”
“Sometimes Phoebe, you just can’t use enough.”
We returned to the vehicle where Brendon offered me a bag of chips.  I checked my nails one more time, just to be sure.  Then I reached into the bag and silently thanked whoever invented soap.  And we were on the road again.



The United States of Poo

19 Oct

One of the many things they don’t mention in parenting books is the normal circumference of a two-year-old’s poop. Why should this matter? Well, my two-year-old, Phoebe, was laying poop pipe with the diameter of an adult-sized turd. No wonder her little bum started to bleed. It wasn’t anything drastic, just a little red smear on the toilet paper. But it was enough to make me panic. After collecting a stool sample for the doctor, an interesting task in and of itself, I was apprised of my daughter’s unusual poo girth. The temporary solution? Miralax stool softener.

The downside of a Miralax regimen for a toddler is that it often narrows the already narrow margin of error for distinguishing between the urge to fart and the urge to defecate. A few days ago, Miralax blurred this distinction for my potty-trained daughter at her most vulnerable: the haze of sleep.

The diarrhea hit her during the tail end of her nap, and she woke up while she was already in the process of polluting her pants. All I heard from her room was a violent outburst of “Oh No! I’m pooping! I can’t stop! Mommy!”

I opened the door and she was standing in the middle of the floor with butt sludge oozing out of her pants and running down her little legs. The look on her face was completely indignant. She was standing on her tip-toes and struggling to keep her balance.

“Why is this happening Mommy?”

It was so pathetic. I scooped her up hastily because I feared that if she fell, the overloaded pull-up would literally explode and send the poop soup spraying in all directions.

I made a bee-line for the tub. We needed a space with water and a drain. The smell was awful, and I recognized it as that fetid brand of dog shit that occurs when the dog eats something it shouldn’t have. I peeled off the clothes and put them in the sink. They were sopping wet. The pull-up pants were bloated and nearly bursting at the seams. When I pulled them down…well, let’s just say that Willy Wonka would have been proud.

I handed the shower head to Phoebe and instructed her to sit down while I ran to the kitchen to get some grocery bags. The shitty pull-up needed to be triple bagged and removed haz-mat style. Phoebe has never had a bowel movement so foul, and I pray she never does again. It was a diabolical combination of a black bean quesadilla and left over falafel.

When I returned with the grocery bags, Phoebe was standing in the tub directing the spray at her belly and watching the thick clumps of black bean-falafel paste make their way towards the drain. She was laughing and pointing at the clumps as casually as if she were cloud watching.

“Look Mom, that one looks like South Carolina.” I peered into the tub.

“Well what do you know,” was all I could muster between belly laughs.
It really did look just like it. Is it weird that I felt a little proud?

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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