Friday, 3 September 2010

Oh Poop!

(I'm done with catch up from the last trip- this is a more recent blog).

Tommy and I came home a bit early for my brother's wedding in order to attend a reunion of my grad school study group (the fall of your second year you must take your written comprehensives, which is an all day test for which you need to be prepared to know everything about US History and all about a huge list of books, ideas, etc. In order to prepare for this I studied with a group of three other women all summer long. We all passed the test and became great friends). Three of the four of us have kids, thus we had some entertaining to do. We decided to check out the Aquarium of the Pacific. We were running a bit late, but managed to make it in time for the one thing we had put on the schedule- the sea otter feeding. We even got to the otter area a bit early to get a good section to stand in, right up next to the tank. While we were waiting I noticed that Tommy was a bit stinky. So, I checked down the back of his diaper, but, when I didn't see anything I assumed it was just gas or a very small poop that could wait until after the show.

So, we waited for the show and watched the otters. Tommy was up and down, sitting on the rail, then wanting to stand on the floor, then wanting to be held- just squirmy. He enjoyed watching the otters and fish, but had a hard time understanding why they weren't continuously swimming through a small tunnel on the side of the exhibit, since that was what he was most interested in seeing. When the "show," which should be more accurately described as a narrated feeding with a few tricks, started Tommy watched fairly patiently. I kept smelling something a bit off though, and decided I should get him to a bathroom, but waited so he wouldn't miss anything. As soon as the show finished I tried to get Tommy to the bathroom, but first we ran into our former neighbor and her daughter and grandkids (which was so fun, and it was great to see how big the kids were getting), and then Tommy became distracted by a tank full of colorful anemones.

Finally we made it to the restroom, and I found the changing table. It was gnarly. When I pulled it down the odor of stale baby poop permeated the air. It was scuffed up and stained. I almost wonder if the floor would have been cleaner. But, I put the pad down and stuck Tommy on top of it. I got his shorts and shoes off, and then he decided he was done laying on that table. I don't really blame him for that. He jumped up and vaulted into my arms and gave me a huge legs-wrapped-around-me hug. Very sweet. Until I managed to get him back down on the table and noticed something leaking from his diaper. That same nice brown ooze was on my dress. And his shorts. Yum.

There are many aspects of this situation that were both frustrating but also funny. At that moment the worst for me was not that there was poop all over me and the boy (happened before), but that on the way to the aquarium I had dropped my suitcases- suitcases FULL of clothes- at my parent's house. Also, the day before I had used Tommy's extra clothes out of the diaper bag, because he had gotten food all over himself, and consciously decided not to replace them because it had been so long since I had needed a change of clothes for him.

So, there I was, in the bathroom of the aquarium that I had just paid $$ to get into and only seen one thing, with two other families who had done the same, with poop on both me and Tommy, and no changes of clothes.

After diapering the boy and getting our hands washed up I decided to scrub my dress and his shorts with some soapy paper towels. It quickly became apparent that this would be quite a chore, so I sent Tommy off with the other kids and parents to see the Sea Lion feeding. As I stood there in front of the sink frantically scrubbing my dress and worrying about having to walk around covered in poop all day another mom, who was on her way out of the bathroom, commiserated, "it happens to us all."

That got me thinking. Not only does poop happen to us all, but, it has happened to me many many times before. Worse, it happened often to us in a developing country with few public facilities and certainly no sparkling white sinks, dispensers full of soap, or stacks of paper towels. And what did I do in Uganda when my clothes got nasty? I washed them. So, I stuck Tommy's shorts in the sink, and began scrubbing them out just like I did when I did our laundry by hand in Uganda. I wrung them out and rolled them in paper towels to get them dry. Then, I took off my dress and washed it in the sink. I'm not kidding. I just took it off. Thankfully, I had thought to wear a cami and tiny shorts under the dress, so it wasn't entirely scandalous, and there was no one in the bathroom at that time. I'm sure it was a rather funny picture- me vigorously scrubbing a little dress in the sink of the aquarium bathroom wearing essentially oversized undergarments. Oh well. No one walked in the entire time (an aquarium miracle!), so I didn't have to explain my odd behavior or state of undress to anyone. I got it almost entirely out, and spray and wash should be able to handle the slight stain. Plus, Tommy and I were able to smell nice and enjoy the rest of our day.

After this incident I insisted on taking some pictures, because I knew I would be blogging about it. Too good of a story not to share...


sara said...

wow. thanks for the laugh!! I can't believe you stripped down....I guess you have encountered worse. Isn't it amazing your outlook now versus pre-uganda:) oh btw--thanks for the tip about the crib! We will be keeping it up for babyu. Great advice! He is pretty itty anyways!

Mike and Sarah said...

That is too funny. Yes, all Moms have encountered that. Though by the reaction of our housekeeper in Uganda when I was feeding J a bottle early in the morning when she got there and I was wearing jammie shorts I think that Ugandan's would have been more shocked at your state of undress than Americans.
Awesome that you just washed your clothes in the sink and still had a good day. I am not sure I would have thought of that.

Heather said...


Laura Gifford said...


We had a great time! It was so good to see you and meet Tommy!

Chelsea Lee said...

ahhh the ways our mind changes after we experience a new world view. awesome story! it was great to get to see you this weekend.