Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In case you were feeling like a mom fail...

...let me tell you a story: 

On Friday afternoon, having recently arrived home from a two-day trip to the in-laws, I was so tired I couldn't even keep my eyes open.  I decided to put Lucia down for a nap early.  She fussed for a short time and to my amazement fell asleep, allowing me the blessed nap I had been so desiring.

But before I could actually fall asleep, I heard Lucia crying.  If she's just fussing, I leave her alone in hopes she'll fall back asleep but this was full-on crying, so I peeled my tired self out of bed and stumbled to her room.  Upon arriving, I noticed she was standing in her crib naked from the waste down.  Not unusual.  She's figured out how to take off all her diapers, including her cloth diapers with snaps.  Anyway, the story usually goes that she takes off her diaper, pees all over her sheets and cries bloody murder.  So I asked if she was wet, to which she usually responds, "Wet".  But this time she responded "Poop".  Great.

I take a step closer to her crib and my foot lands on something squishy at the same time I see little black nuggets of death on her sheets.  Fabulous.  I quickly hop one-footed to the bathroom, hold my foot over the toilet and knock off a nugget.  It takes about two seconds from the time I first stepped on the poo to put it in the toilet and return to Lucia's crib (the bathroom is connected to her room) but I instantly realize I have made a near-fatal error in leaving the room.  Lucia is smiling as I return because she's pleased as punch with the poop she is squeezing in her hand.

I pick her up, carry her into the bathroom, hold her over the toilet and tell her to drop the poo, which only makes her squeeze it tighter until the nuggets are oozing out between her fingers.  Yep, one of my proudest moments.  I finally get her to let go and carry her to the sink where I help her wash her hands.  Except there is a problem.  Her hands are clean as a whistle but under her nails, it's black as night.  I start to panic.

Then I realize that she's leaning over the sink and I'm behind her supporting her and her butt is up against me and she just pooped and I didn't wipe her.  I check and sure as eggs is eggs her bottom is anything but sparkly clean.  Yep.

I stood there for what seemed like an hour but probably was only about 2.1 seconds with a glazed look in my eyes and then snapped into action.  I remembered a nail brush came with the nail polish set I recently bought her.  I started a bath.  I was feeling in control...do you know where this is headed?  The #1 rule of parenthood is that you are never entirely in control.

I bent down to take her shirt off to put her in the bath and that's when I noticed.  It wasn't just black under her nails.  It was black all over her face.  My sweet, intelligent little daughter had SMEARED POOP ON HER FACE.  And somehow I had missed it.  But since we were already headed to the bath, all I needed was a wash cloth, a few deep breaths, and a prayer that went like this, "Dear Lord, please don't let my daughter get pink eye.  Please, please, please!  And please no other diseases caused by ingesting poop. (Because you never know.  If she got it on her face...) And Mother Mary, did toddler Jesus ever smear poop on his face because it would make me feel so, so much better if he did."

A few minutes in the tub, a good nail brush scrubbing, and a tooth brushing that ended up in tossing the toothbrush in the trash (and pushing it to the very bottom so the toddler doesn't "rediscover" it later), you know, just in case, and my extreme fatigue was all that remained of that incident.  

And that concludes the story of a fair matron who fought a black toddler poo monster and lost, but lived to tell the tale.  Now to the moral of the story.

Well, there are two.  First, never leave a toddler alone with poop, not even for a few seconds.  Not even if that toddler knows never to touch dog poop and stays far, far away from it.  Because her own poop is different.  It's alluring and fun and squishes so wonderfully between the fingers.  

Second, and more importantly, the lesson is this.  I love my daughter.  She's wonderful.  And I love motherhood.  Even if it means that I will sometimes wind up with poop smeared on my clothing while I wash poop smeared on a little toddler face.  Even if that means that sometimes I feel inadequate and overwhelmed.  

(And for the record, although I feel horrible about the incident, I don't feel like a horrible mother because I'd like you to show me a mother that hasn't experienced some kind of horrific poo accident.  And actually, don't show me a mother who hasn't because I'm much happier thinking that this happens to everyone.  It happened to Grace and I like to think all other mothers are just not as open about their poop moments.)

(And Grace, it was me who Googled "Camp Patton Sebastian ate poop".) 

I didn't, not even for .2 nanoseconds during the heat of the moment, wish I wasn't a mother.  Sure, I wish I wasn't handling poop all the time, but it's worth it.  No question.  Honestly.  After the bath, we went outside and Lucia taught her bear how to go down her slide and all I could think was how wonderful my life is and how blessed I am to spend a beautiful day with my child and the whole poop warpaint incident really wasn't on my radar anymore.  Until David got home and it made a gooooood story to tell and was at least worth a foot rub or something.  

Here's to hoping it doesn't show back up on the radar as pink eye.  Cheers.

Yep, so blessed. Especially when that face is in a flower and not in...something else.


  1. I love this one! Definitely sharing it with my sister so she could get a good laugh out of it as well. :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. It's terrible, but my first thought at the end was: At least she didn't wipe it on the walls". I have a son who went through a wiping poop on the wall phase. It was not pretty. Or fun.

  3. You are not alone. My twins are 22 now. But in their diaper days we did poop. They would take off their diapers and smear poop everywhere, including their face, walls, and crib. They did this for about a month every night. We tried turning their pajamas backwards so the zipper would be in the back. But they figured out how to get it down. We bought lots of duct tape and wrapped duct tape around their waist over the diaper band. But they figured out how to get their hands in the leg of the diaper and dig out the poop. Every night we would go up stairs to go to bed, and as we rounded the corner to their room, we knew what the smell meant. Clean up time in the twins room!! We can laugh about it now, but for a month I was beside myself wondering what can we do!! it finally stopped, gradually, praise God!! Just wanted to share so you know you are not alone!!

  4. Oh, I could tell you poop stories from my second daughter. She worked in it like it was an art medium. She even had a poopy tea party that we still recall nearly 5 years later. I will likely never recover from the poop incidents of 2007.

  5. Oh my word! Hahaha! Hang in there mama! You rock.

  6. Thanks! I survived, that's all that matters!

  7. Ugh. Hopefully it never gets much worse than this!

  8. Oh my goodness, the WALLS!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I don't think I could handle that!

  9. Thanks, Ali. I figured I had to share so I could at least turn it into something positive (laughs for everyone!)

  10. If she had done that, I would have had to wait for my husband to clean it. I don't have the patience for that!


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