A few days ago, I arrived – almost an hour late – to a play date.
The scheduled meet-up was with three of my friends and their kids of various ages. When deciding where to go for this get-together, I tossed out a suggestion for my favorite playground and included some of my reasons for LOVING this playground…
ONE – It has shade. A lot of it. I hate sunshine. And heat. And sunlight. And the sun, in general.
TWO – There are couches and comfortable cafe table seating and EVEN MORE couches.
THREE – Fake grass and rubber toys. I have a crawling baby who likes to eat dirt, grass and gravel while she climbs on all the things – like hot, plastic/metal climby toys.
I feel like I’ve said all I need to say.
*** Honestly, I’m really not sure why so many playgrounds cater to the CHILDREN when REALLY, they should be focusing on the needs of the CAREGIVERS.
I mean…we go to the park and the first thing my 4 and 3 year old do is scan the area for discarded gum and candy. THEY DON’T CARE HOW FANCY YOUR TOYS ARE, PARK PEOPLE. They just want to be left alone to be gross.
If I have to be there, at least you could toss in a few cushions for me to lounge on while I pretend my kids aren’t probably contracting some kind of terrible diseases from the sidewalks…***
Anyway, showing up an hour late HAPPENED to be because two of my four kids are in the midst of serious potty practice. They are both TRAINED to use the toilet but that doesn’t always mean they MAKE IT to the potty.
So…both had to pee.
Boy – pee out the side of the van. Next up, Girl – pop a squat, lady bits hanging out the side of the van. Drive down the road 20 feet. The boy again – I needed coffee, so we went to the potty in the coffee shop.
(( Ain’t no way I’m getting ALL FOUR KIDS out of the van, into the coffee shop, into the potty WHEN WE WERE ALREADY SO LATE ))
He peed on a tree NEAR the coffee shop. Then I went to the drive-thru and pretended like I didn’t just watch my 3 year old mark his territory MAYBE 30 feet away.
#sorrySheri #survivalmode #judgeme #idontgiveadamn #Goddidntmaketoiletsyall #peeispartofnature #right?? #right
So…after that…we were on our way to the park. The shaded park with couches and a fountain and lots of fancy stores and people. This park – the fancy park in a place I won’t name (( But it rhymes with “Duh Fillage” )) – is semi-upscale. It’s really as upscale as I imagine it will ever be in the lovely Treasure Valley and that’s totally fine with me.
This brings me to a little note I feel I need to make BEFORE telling the rest of this story.
*** SIDE NOTE ***
I am flawed. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I have been to some pretty dark places, seen some pretty low lows. At some point in my years on Earth, I’ve been forced to not only SEE myself, depressed and dirty, laying lowly in the bitter cold of a dark, sad pit of the hardest chapter of my life THUS FAR…but I was FORCED to MEET that girl. I had to meet her, where she was…and I had to learn to love her.
And once I learned to love WHO I WAS at my WORST, I realized…shoot…
I can love myself ALL THE TIME.
I learned to appreciate my body, as it was AND IS NOW. I learned to accept my skills, abilities and talents for what they were AND ARE. I learned to give myself grace and I learned to be conscious of my inner monologue and become aware of the words I used with my own person.
And now?? Man…I am happy.
Because I am so sure of who I am and comfortable in my own skin NOW, I am able to handle a whole lot of sh*t.
Which means when I literally have to deal with a WHOLE LOT OF SH*T,
it really doesn’t end up being much more than a pretty good story to tell.
Learning to love who I am has given me the freedom to laugh THROUGH the chaos of my daily journey…
…and sharing that laughter?
Giving someone else a reason to genuinely SMILE??
THAT is what I LIVE for…and that’s where I’m at now, sharing this story with you.
Don’t feel bad for me.
Poop stories give me a reason to live, man. A real reason to live.
Ok, so now that you know that poop stories ARE MY LIFE, let’s continue.
I got to the park, unloaded my millions of children (( I have four. But to most that is practically a million. #itsfine #theyfeellikeamillion )) and we wandered to the park. Immediately, my kids split for the playground. This playground is fairly small and MOST of the general area is actually filled with seating for the adults. It is placed comfortably at the center of shopping, dining and a fountain feature.
The city-girl in me WOULD LIVE HERE FOREVER.
Imagine all the people I could talk to!!! ALL THE FRIENDS I COULD MAKE!!!
So, kids all split and I start scanning the grounds for familiar faces. I quickly found my group, sitting comfortably at a table, and I settled my Baby and my coffee into a seat at the table for four. Then I noticed a bit of commotion at the climbing structure.
That’s it. That’s how long it took. I set down the Baby. I set down the coffee. BAM.
I looked around at the sudden bit of craziness going on and as soon as I recognized the look of terror on my dear friend’s face, standing near the slide of the structure, I quickly abandoned my Baby and coffee and table to rush to her side. Well…I sort of fast-walked over to her, making it to the slide JUST IN TIME to grab hold of my oldest kid, mid-slide, as I heard her words…
“POOP.ON.SLIDE. It’s too late. IT’S TOO LATE.”
I looked down to the slide, now beneath my hand as I held the weight of my 7 year old and the line of 5 or 6 kids piling up behind him…and sure enough…
Immediately I went into CRAZY PERSON mode and I threw my kid off the slide as I shouted,
“NOPE! NOPE! NO SLIDE! Nope. Nope. NOPE!”
Next was my friend’s daughter. After literally THROWING my kid over the side of the slide, I grabbed her daughter and pulled her to the ground. The next was a little boy I didn’t know…and even with my best efforts…he could not be grabbed, tossed or shoved quick enough to be saved.
All of a sudden I realized that my efforts were simply worthless.
I switched into SALVAGE mode.
Salvage outfits. Salvage the slide. Salvage the feelings of the poor mother who would most certainly be feeling HORRIBLE once she realized it was her precious angel who had just SHARTED away the play day.
I began scanning the crowd of Mothers as word spread like wildfire of the Poo Shmear Slide, desperate to find the Poopants Mom. Suddenly I felt my 4 year old grabbing at my shirt…and that’s when it hit me.
ALL OVER the front of my sweet daughter were STREAKS of HORRIBLE smelling kid poop. She was less than thrilled about her situation and I was immediately HORRIFIED. She had SLID DOWN HEAD FIRST into the POO PILE!!! In fact, she had been the FIRST kid to do so.
“I was going down after Jack! I don’t even know where it came from!”
Oh God, no. Jack.
I panicked, looking around for my 3 year old. The voice of one of my friends grabbed my attention as she called to my Jackie Boy, standing tall and happy at the very top of the toys. He waved to me as he made his way to the slide…THE ONLY CHILD on the structure anymore.
“JACK. GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW. GOOD LORD CHILD. DO NOT GO DOWN THAT SLIDE!!!!”
I continued to glance around as I scrambled to get Jack and Taylor ready to rush to the restroom. Fortunately I had brought extra clothes for Jack…and they wear the same size. As Jack walked toward me, I wondered how bad he had gotten it. Poor kid probably didn’t even realize he had slid through someone else’s…….
…….OH GOD. NO.
Jack walked up to me and my heart sunk.
I looked at his legs and realized…I was that Mom. My kid was the PooPants.
GODDAMMIT!!! MY KID WAS THE POOPANTS!!!!
I grabbed my Baby’s blanket faster than I’ve ever grabbed for anything in my life. I wrapped it around my sweet, smelly boy and I directed my daughter to hurry in front of me.
“TO THE BATHROOM. NOW.”
I rushed away, carrying my 3 year old blanket burritoed boy and a diaper bag. I held him tightly, hoping to keep everything contained until we could reach help. My daughter ran ahead of us, clearing the way with shouts of,
“Watch out! It’s an emergency! A POOP PROBLEM IS HERE!!!”
As I ran, suddenly life seemed to dramatically swirl into a strange, war-like dream of slow-motion chaos. I glanced back over my shoulder, making eye-contact with a friend and nodding towards the Baby I had left sitting on the ground beneath the table. She knowingly nodded back and I pushed forward BUT NOT before taking a quick moment to take in the scene behind me.
All around me, Mothers frantically ran about grabbing up children and throwing wipes and clothing around like the lives of their little Loves hung in the balance. It may have been my imagination, but I swear I heard the low tones of slow motion screams as women all over tried to communicate their horror to the rest of the public peacefully roaming “Duh Fillage”…
“EMERSON!!! MY LITTLE EMERSON!!!”
“IT’S EVERYWHERE!!! OH GOOD GOD, NOOOO!!!!”
I turned back towards the restrooms as I hurried my babies through the door, leaving behind the true PooPocalypse. I took a deep breath, reminded my daughter to WALK in the building and I quietly carried my son to the counter where a lovely young woman sat and worked on customer service things.
I smiled nicely at the girl and I did as I know EVERYONE ELSE would have done…
“Excuse me, I just wanted to let you know that SOMEONE’S baby POOPED all over the slide out there. Is there someone who could come clean it? People are freaking out.”
…and then I spent the next fifteen minutes NEARLY VOMITING as I cleaned up my kids and THREW AWAY their clothing.
The end. Really…that’s really the end. By the time I got back outside with my freshly cleaned kids, my friends had found a new spot to sit and THE PARK WAS NEARLY EMPTY! Sure, two of my friends had disappeared WITH everyone else…but one just had to go get extra clothes from her car and the other went shopping at the conveniently located kid store nearby and bought her kids some new bottoms. All in all…I’d say everyone was totally fine with the whole thing!
(( Actually…I’m pretty sure they were NOT super thrilled. But they were and ARE way too nice to tell me that my kid legit POOPED all over their perfectly fine park day and that they really didn’t feel like buying new clothes for their kids. ))
We sat near the slide and watched as a cleaning crew came and hosed down the entire thing. Almost all of the other people left the park for less poopy playgrounds and my friends and I sat awkwardly pretending that my son had not pooped on all of their kids.
And all I have to say is…if you ever feel like a park is too crowded, pooping on a slide will clear that sucker out REAL fast. You know…just in case.