11/15/2013 04:02 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Why We Can Never Go Back to McDonald's

John Kinnear

Sometimes, I worry about putting embarrassing stories about my kids on the Internet. That's part of the reason I use pseudonyms. I don't want my son's high school buddies to Google his name some day and find out that I surveyed the Internet on whether or not to circumcise him. With that reasoning in mind, I am going to come right out and say that the story I am about to tell you definitely, absolutely, did not happen. I am making it all up. This definitely did not happen last night at the McDonald's by our house.

My wife, Stevie, and I took the kids to go grocery shopping last night. We stopped by McDonald's on the way home because it was too late to cook dinner. We figured we could let our daughter get rid of some energy in the PlayPlace before we started the 45-minute process of begging her to please, for the love of God, go to bed. I'm going to transition to present tense now because I feel like it will better relay a sense of urgency as the story progresses.

Anyway, she de-shoes and goes bounding off into the PlayPlace which, if you haven't seen one, looks like a bunch of rainbow snakes twisting themselves together while trying to eat each other's buttholes. Once your kid goes in there, there is no knowing where she is or if she is the one screaming in pain. It's terrifying -- but it lets me eat my cheeseburger in peace, so I allow her to participate in whatever Lord of the Flies sh*t is taking place inside that technicolor tunnel nightmare. She's tough. She'll be fine.

Soon enough, Stevie and I finish up our meal and it's time to go home; our son is getting fussy and wants to nurse. After packing up, Stevie and I begin the embarrassing ritual of trying to locate our kid in the PlayPlace. We both begin circling the structure, peering in the different colored windows and calling our daughter's name.

Suddenly, out of the heart of darkness, my daughter's face appears at a red-tinted window in one of the tubes. I run up to it smiling, but quickly, my smile fades. Something is different, yet recognizable about her face. She looks like she's thinking really hard about something. She gives me a look, and suddenly, I know. And she knows I know. She needs to sh*t. She needs to sh*t, and she is lost in this f'ing rainbow cavern, minutes from the door -- and she's not going to make it. I know she's not going to make it. She knows she's not going to make it.

She puts her hand up on the red plastic window. I place mine in the same spot. I mouth the words "I'm sorry." She is Spock and I am Kirk in Wrath of Kahn. She is Bruce Willis and I am Liv Tyler in Armageddon. She is sh*tting her pants, and there is nothing I can do. This is happening.

Not only am I going to have to get her out of there, I have to do it without any of the other parents in the room finding out why. I go back to the table, tell Stevie to get ready to leave quickly, and mentally prepare to go into the sh*t-piss labyrinth and retrieve my sh*tty-pissy daughter. Sh*t!

Stevie kisses me on the cheek, wishes me luck, and I turn to go. And there she is! Somehow, she has waddled her way to the exit! My heart leaps! It is a stinky, piss-covered miracle!

There's no time to celebrate. I sprint to the green tube she is emerging from. "Daddy! I poo..." I clasp my hand over her mouth and run for the door. I am that dad. I am a horrible human being. My kid pooped her pants in the McDonald's PlayPlace... and. I. ran.

On the way home, I call the McDonald's and let them know what's happened. As far as I can tell, the poo was contained -- but there may be some piss dribbles inside the maze. Stevie and I agree to never discuss the incident again, we get home, and I start writing.

A few notes that my wife would like me to (read: insists that I) add before hesitantly allowing me to publishing this:

  • All poop was contained within the confines of our kid's DC Comic Wonder Woman Panties. No poop was left in the PlayPlace.
  • When I first compared the window scenario to the scene from Armageddon where Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler are looking at each other on the monitors right before Bruce blows up with the Asteroid, I may have started singing "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith.
  • All poop was contained, and probably... most likely... most of the pee too.
  • Our daughter was not reprimanded in the slightest. She was bathed, changed and got a popsicle when we got home.
  • No poop was left in the PlayPlace.


Dad (John)

An earlier version of this piece appeared on John Kinnear's personal blog, Ask Your Dad. You can also find him on Facebook.


More has happened. My conscience got the better of me. Here is an update.

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