No matter how your day starts, never forget how quickly it can turn to poop.
To rewind: I woke up yesterday morning from a ridiculously bizarre dream (something about me being in a pod of concrete 'tree houses' in the middle of a city with WiFi connections... before a big wave came and washed everything away). Undeterred, I shook it off and got myself moving. I made a big pot of coffee and breakfast for me and Penelope. 8:30 a.m. rolled around and I put P down for a nap and managed to get some work done for an hour.
After she got up, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond to return a broken blender (could I throw any more "B"'s in this sentence?) but the lady behind the counter wouldn't take it back. I could swear I got it from there as a gift off of our wedding registry, but maybe not? I was going to use the store credit to put toward a Vitamix because a) I need a blender that works and doesn't make my kitchen smell like it's catching fire, and b) I'm kind of tired of hearing everyone tell me how great it is and not knowing for myself. I'm also using a blender regularly for the cookbook I'm working on, and we decided the Vitamix will be our Christmas gift to each other this year. (Try not to pass out from all the romanticism involved in our gift-giving.)
But after waiting on line for 45 minutes, during which time the sweet lady in front of me kept touching Penelope's hands and I teetered between "Aw that's so sweet!" and "DEAR GOD PENELOPE PLEASE DON'T PUT YOUR HANDS IN YOUR MOUTH UNTIL I CAN SANITIZE THEM UNTIL YOUR FINGERPRINTS RUB OFF," I was exiting the store still lugging the broken blender all the way back to my car.
As I pushed the stroller with one hand and carried the blender under my other arm, I wondered: Don't people know not to touch babies, especially their hands?! It's cold and flu season, lady, and while you look really nice, I have no idea what sorts of germs you have lurking or butt-scratching you've been doing today and we don't know each other well enough to find out. (I mean, who do you know well enough to find out if they've just butt-scratched, other than your sister, maybe?)
I called Greg from the car. "They wouldn't take it back," I tell him. "Maybe I got it at Crate & Barrel?" I'm dressed nice, and so was Penelope, so maybe if we act like we're put-together and wear our best smiles they'll help a sister out and take the blender back. I don't want a refund, just need to get this faulty blender off my hands and maybe a store credit toward a new one.
"Sure," he says. "Maybe you got it there." But, lo and behold, Crate & Barrel proved to be strike-outs-ville. I got back in the car and called Greg again.
"They wouldn't take it back! They said I must not have purchased it there. They even looked up our registry and said it wasn't on there!"
"Yeah, I know," Greg said. "You got it at Target after we got married. I remember."
"Well, why the hell didn't you tell me that?!"
"Because you did look really nice today and I wanted to see if you could pull it off. I guess it's not your day."
After contemplating how I can send a round-house kick through a text message and giving up after concluding it's impossible (at least for now), I get back home and promptly begin ignoring my daughter's muffled "poo poo?" utterance, over and over and over again. I didn't mean to ignore her and for the record, I did hear it, but my thoughts of annoyance over the blender episode and hungry monster in my stomach demanding lunch time drowned it out. Besides, she's at that stage where it's a total guessing game: is she really trying to tell me something, or does she just like saying the word 'poo' over and over again? I assume it's the latter, and I go on to make lunch.
As we eat our lunch, which includes her of course wanting to eat MY lunch instead of hers, then me having to make myself a whole separate sandwich, I begin to wonder what I am going to serve for Thanksgiving this week. We'll have all sorts of diets in the house: paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free. A table full of starchy, carby sides is unfavorable, yet no one seems to want a turkey.
I conclude that what I'll do is devote all my energy into setting the prettiest table I can pull together, and then serve bowls of air. But I'm going to act as though I'm preparing the feast of all feasts: preheat the oven, break out the oven mitts, set timers to go off every 10 minutes or so... you know, like I'm really outdoing myself. I'll even break a sweat. Then I'll collapse into my chair after everyone else has been seated, lift my fork and pretend to take a well-deserved savory bite of food. "Mmmmmm," I'll say. It will be like The Emperor's New Clothes, and I'll even have my husband pretend all the food is delicious and spew compliments to the chef over air-baked sweet potato casserole and non-existent paleo tofurkey, and no one will have the gall to point out that there really isn't food on the table. Because that would be rude, of course, and the first one to say it would be a total a-hole. It's perfect! An evil smile forms as I gaze into the distance and bask in my genius. Moohooohahahahaha!
"Poo poo?" Oh, right. Poo poo. We finished lunch and I brought P to her room to change her diaper. I removed said diaper and promptly discover that this was one of THE WORST ones I've ever seen. I held her leg up as I began processing this thought, and then, as if in slow motion, she lifted her other little leg.
I remembered in that moment that she strongly dislikes when I hold her leg up for too long and often begins thrashing wildly in protest, but this memory served me a fraction of a moment too late. To express her disapproval she let out a loud roar, like a tiny baby Godzilla, then slammed her foot down onto the changing pad, DIRECTLY. INTO. THE PILE. OF POOP.
I then swooped in to stop her from thrashing her leg down again, intercepting with my hand -- which of course also became covered in poop. So, to recap, my daughter's entire leg and foot is covered in poop, there's poop up her back, my arm is covered in poop and my middle finger has a giant poop-nugget on it, and I realize that if I turn it around and point it at myself, that pretty much sums up my current situation.
It was at this point that a strange silence blanketed the room, the kind where you realize you're stuck; all time and noise crashes to a halt and you're frozen in place until you can asses what your next move should be. Penelope stopped mid-fit, and we locked eyes. She knew it was bad, too.
Decision time: Do I reach up for the wipe to attempt to clean this up, and risk her slamming her other leg back down? I can't run to the bathroom and get toilet paper because everyone knows you can't leave a baby on a changing table.
Oooh, I could airlift her to the bathtub! Wait -- but then there's the issue of transporting her there, turning the knob to run the water and setting her down into the tub, all of which seems hard to do with a poop-coated hand an even more poop-covered toddler. So I do the only thing I could, which was to reach for the wipes with both hands while securing her in place on the changing table with my hip. It was a multiple-wipe operation, assisted by lots of cleansing afterward, but we made it. We made it.
Lots of you guys are parents, right? I know you can relate. Parents-to-be, sorry in advance, but if I can't tell you there will come a day when you're going to be covered in poop soon, NO ONE CAN.
And maybe that dream about the wave wasn't so strange after all? It wasn't exactly a wave, however. It was a 'poop-nado.'
A version of this post originally appeared on Alessandra's blog, PunkWife. And, if you are getting married or know a bride-to-be, check out her book: "The Bitch's Bridal Bible: The Must-Have, Real- Deal Guide for Brides," available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also find Alessandra on Facebook and Twitter.
Alessandra is currently working on a cookbook filled with healthy, fresh and easy recipes for babies that the whole family can enjoy (because really, who wants to cook twice?). If you'd like to get on that mailing list, you can do so here: What a Good Eater.