Today’s blog post is a harrowing tale involving my first parental experience with public diarrhea. Took me 13 months to go through this parenting rite of passage but I’ve officially been christened.
This story is being told from two different perspectives: one from my side, and one from my husband’s side. Look at the bottom of this post for the link to Daddy Green’s story.
After a quick trip to the pediatrician’s office due to some vomiting, it was determined that Nellie might have a slight stomach bug. We brought her home for a nap and I decided to stay home from work to be with my family. When she woke up, she was acting fine & hadn’t thrown up in hours so we decided to go see about a used car. After driving 30 minutes we discovered that the car was a POS so we left. We decided to stop at Jason’s Deli for lunch.
As we pulled into the parking lot and pulled the kiddo out of her seat, I turned to Daddy Green and asked quizzically, “Is our car supposed to be hissing?”
A quick inspection of the car warranted curse words from both of us: there was a screw lodged in the rear driver’s side tire and it was losing air. Hence the hissing. We debated briefly upon what to do before driving to a tire place and telling them our dilemma. The man there told us it’d be about an hour and a half; just enough time for us to sit down to a leisurely lunch.
Little did I know that it was going to be the Lunch from Hell.
We walked across the street to Olive Garden; laden with diaper bag, purse, jacket, and squirmy toddler. The pediatrician had advised to keep Nellie on PediaLyte and bland foods all day so after getting seated, we pulled out the sippy cup and the saltine crackers. Nellie sat happily, sweeping her crackers to the floor and clapping with glee. A short while into lunch Daddy Green sniffed the air and gave me a knowing look. I leaned over and peeked down Nellie’s diaper to see that Daddy’s nose was right. I scooped her up and carried her off to the restroom where I discovered that her stool was a little loose, but I wasn’t alarmed. I got the deed done and carried her back to the table, where we finished the rest of our lunch in peace and harmony.
Dear reader.. How I wish I could write those last words and have them be true…. but I would be lying to you if I told you that. For those of you who are weak-stomached, squeamish, or can’t handle tales of baby shit.. Turn back now. Leave this post with visions of a happy family enjoying their soup and salad in peace, smiling and laughing as their daughter charmed the waitstaff.
For those of you brave enough, our story continues.
I was digging into my soup and salad when I heard Daddy Green sniff again. He looked at me pointedly and lowered his voice,
“I think someone needs another trip to the bathroom.”
“You think so?” I ask, my eyebrows raised in surprise. “Let me look.”
“You don’t need to look. I can smell it.”
I leaned toward Nellie and took a sniff and knew immediately that my husband was right. I stood up and reached down to grab my daughter…
And quickly pulled my hands back as if a snake had bit me.
My hands were wet with baby shit.
“SHE’S COVERED,” I hissed at Daddy Green who was blissfully unaware of the situation.
“Hmm?” he asked from behind his pasta.
“Lift her up BUT BE CAREFUL. IT’S ON HER SHIRT.”
Daddy Green wrinkled his nose and gingerly lifted his baby girl from the seat. I picked her up under the armpits and held her out before me as if she were a nuclear weapon that I was trying not to detonate.
Once I got to the bathroom and was able to properly assess the situation, I almost shit my own pants. I stood Nellie up on the changing table and looked her up and down. The bottom of her shirt was covered in diarrhea and her pants? Literally dripping. Dripping with yellow, watery shit. Socks, covered. Shoes were miraculously unscathed but she pretty much looked like someone had just dipped her into a vat of feces.
Okay, I thought to myself. Stay calm. You can figure this out. I began to unload the provisions I’d brought: clean clothes. Plastic bag for dirty clothes. Diap………. Where are my diapers? WHERE THE HELL ARE MY DIAPERS?
I was diaperless. I was baby wipeless. I stood in the bathroom of the Olive Garden trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had no diapers or baby wipes, and was holding a wiggly toddler covered in shit. My brain was flitting about like a hummingbird on crack trying to figure out what to do first. The Hummingbird landed on: Get the dirty clothes off. I peeled off her shirt as carefully as I could, leaving a stinky trail all the way up her body to her neck. I dumped it in the bag and removed her shoes. I spread some changing table liners down and lay her on top of them, removing her soaking jeans. I feel like I remained calm and collected throughout this entire ordeal, even when my child started to writhe around on the table like a shit-covered crocodile in a death roll.
While I was undressing my stinky offspring, people were coming in and out of the bathroom.. Not even paying Nellie and I any attention. Once I had gotten Nellie down to her diaper, the real challenge began. How the fuck do I get a diaper and wipes? Also, how am I supposed to get this vile substance OFF of my kid’s body? IT WAS EVERYWHERE. I stood there holding my wiggly, crap encrusted child under the armpits for a few seconds when I made my decision. I stripped her defiled diaper off, tossed it in the trash and carried her to the sink. I plopped her down and in what has been pretty much the classiest and most glorious moment of my career as a mother thus far, I gave my daughter a bath right there in the restroom at Olive Garden. Thankfully no one came in to find me hunkered over my naked, reeking child desperately splashing water over her while she squealed with delight. Once I’d gotten most of the funk off her I took her back to the changing table where I pulled out two more of the paper liners. I wrapped them around her like some kind of makeshift hospital gown, poked my head out of the bathroom door and caught the attention of a hostess. I told her that I needed some help and asked if she’d get my diaper bag from my husband. A few moments later, she appeared and I took the bag from her, thanking her profusely.
Now that the scent of diarrhea was only faintly clinging to both my daughter and myself, it was time to get Nellie into clean clothes. By this point she was agitated and tired of my antics so she started to fuss and wiggle even more. I managed to get her dressed, get all of her soiled clothes into a plastic bag and we were finally done. I grabbed everything and headed back to my table where my husband was still sitting, enjoying his meal. He looked at me. I looked at him. I was a woman who had seen terrible, terrible things and I think it showed on my face.
“Armageddon.” was all I could say. I handed Nellie to him and said, “Do not set her down on the high chair. We are going to have to wipe that thing down. I have to go wash my hands.”
I went off, washed my hands and returned to finish my meal. My husband had paid the tab during my harrowing ordeal in the restroom and when Nellie started to fuss, he went to take her outside. I sat and finished my salad with my disgusting bag o’ funk at my feet.
Our car still wasn’t ready so we went to wander around Toys R’ Us. I felt like a hobo toting my diaper bag across my body, my purse over one arm, my hoodie draped over my shoulders and a bag full of shitty clothes in my hand. I wondered if anyone would stop and sniff the air and say, “What’s that smell?” I would respond, “That’s me. What you’re smelling is garlic bread, baby shit, and shame.”
When we went to retrieve our vehicle, we had to buy a brand new tire and they advised us to replace the other rear tire as well. We were finally given the keys to our car and were able to leave. We drove home with the radio playing and the smell of soiled baby clothes gently wafting from the backseat.
We left our apartment that afternoon in hopes of getting a new car. We ended up with a belly full of pasta, two new tires, and – literally – a bag full of shit.