MargaritaIt wasn’t the poop incident that caused me to fall apart. Nope. I was rock solid through that whole debacle.

Every parent has a poop story. I hope this one is mine because I can’t imagine a story that could be worse. I’m really not looking for something to top this.

Our two-year-old son, Wolfy, and I were tagging along on my husband’s work trip. While my husband was in meetings, I brought Wolfy to a playground. Wolfy is potty-training so when he says he has to go, he really has to go. As we were leaving the playground, Wolfy told me he needed to pee. I scanned the area and there were no bathrooms anywhere. There were no stores anywhere either. Quickly, I led Wolfy into a nearby patch of woods.

He pulled down his pants and seemed like he was getting ready to aim his urine at some nearby leaves. But instead, all that came out was poop. A lot of poop. First it landed on the ground behind him. Then some of it landed inside his pants. This scared him and he tried to move away but he started stepping all over it. I was totally frozen in shock.

“I want to poop in my potty!” Wolfy wailed. I unfroze myself and rushed over to try to… I don’t even know what I was going to try to do.

The damage had already been done. Then he peed on my shoe.

I managed to get Wolfy over to a little concrete wall and have him sit there away from the broken glass, which I now noticed was everywhere. I had been so fixated on giving my son privacy that I hadn’t noticed what a terrible spot I had chosen for him to relieve himself. I stripped Wolfy down and used a million baby wipes to clean him up. I even cleaned up the poop that was on the ground.

I knew that what had happened was an accident and that if I got upset, it would only make Wolfy feel ashamed. So, I kept my cool even when poop got on my hand and there was nothing but a measly baby wipe to clean it off.

Fast forward a few hours…

Our family was finally led to our table at a busy restaurant. Wolfy was an emotional mess. He’d had a long day with only one a ten minute nap. My husband and I were also tired and hungry and doing the hungry-bicker thing about nothing. The over-crowded restaurant was loud and in addition to the noise, there was music blaring on a speaker directly over our table. But at least this place had margaritas on special so my husband and I each ordered one.

Wolfy was behaving like a typical over-tired, hungry toddler: whining about everything, knocking over the salt shakers, kicking off his shoes, throwing the crayons across the table, and banging his silverware on the table. He insisted I take the lid off his cup of water. My husband announced that he had a headache and that everything just kind of sucked.

I kept thinking to myself, ‘We just wanted to have a nice meal out. How hard is that?’

Then Wolfy spilled his whole glass of water. The coloring book got soaked. Our bench seat was soaked. Wolfy was soaked. We used all of our napkins trying to mop up the water.

A few minutes later, waitress brought our drinks. Finally, I could have that first well-deserved sip of my margarita. My mouth watered in anticipation of how good it would taste. I reached over to pick up my glass and I spilled it. All of it. The whole table was coated in the sticky, smelly drink. My clothes were coated in it too.

A lady at the next table across from us, who I hadn’t even noticed before, leaned over and handed me a pile of napkins. And this is when I finally broke down.

I broke down because I was so utterly embarrassed.

I broke down because I realized how other people must see our family in this terrible moment. I started crying because I realized we looked vulnerable and pathetic and dysfunctional to the outside world.

These people in the restaurant didn’t know about my heroic effort during the poop incident at the playground. They didn’t see the hour before the poop incident when I held Wolfy on my lap and went down the slide over and over again and how it made us both laugh.

In this snapshot, all these strangers saw was an unhappy family.

They saw two totally ineffectual parents arguing about stupid stuff and trying to discipline their toddler and having every tactic fail miserably.

I tried to hide my tears as I accepted the napkins and began to wipe up yet another mess.

“Don’t worry,” my husband said, “We’ll order you another margarita.” And he did. And the food came and we ate it and we felt better. Wolfy started listening to us and we stopped arguing.

After dinner, we took a walk around the abandoned lot next to our hotel and as the sun goes down, we taught Wolfy how to blow the fluff off of dandelions.

Our family life is made of so many snapshots. These moments are imperfect but often they are beautiful.

20 thoughts on “Snapshots

  1. I love this story because it is reality. We all have the break down moments and yet hate to admit them. Thanks for your honesty. Thank you for showing his momma she is not alone. We can all have a day when we cry over spilled margaritas. 🙂

  2. Oh, you dear woman/mother, this is life, as I know you know. It’s real life and sometimes as mothers, we cry abd that’s ok. We can’t look great to the works all the time, and that’s ok. Your family is perfectly imperfect and that’s what counts! So, blow those dandelions all you want 🙂

  3. You are wonderful, B…a. Your writing is fantastic, and you are able to portray life on life’s terms. Thanks for being such a good guide through this adventure and taking all of us along.

  4. Been there! Your husband sounds like he handled it well! As for poop, I think it was my first entry but mine entailed my 5 year old stepdaughter pooping her swimsuit standing next to an automatic toilet at the lake because she’d rather do that than sit on the toilet…

  5. Yeah, that was kind of a bad poop story. Then there was the time I took him canoe camping for the first time, only brought 2 diapers for two and half days and two nights, and brought a hundred pounds of food but managed to space on the wipes and anything soap-like. It was really fun extracting him from his poop-infused sweatpants and wrestling the little fecally fabulous ninjutsu sensei into some semblance of “cleanliness” in the frigid pond water at dusk. Who he he he. Har har ha ha! What a hoot! There aren’t enough margaritas in the world – and there were exactly none on our little island campsite.

  6. Good for you–sounds like you (and your husband) saved the day. Nice work! And don’t worry what some random people in the restaurant might think–they probably have kids, too, and completely understand, and if they don’t, well who cares 🙂 Thank you for sharing and I hope tomorrow’s easier! Maybe there was something in the air today…I just wrote about my pretty bad day, too.

  7. What you’ve shared is wonderful. So real and just about how I feel on a daily basis. This was a joy to read!

  8. That was so raw, real and transparent. I wish more blog posts around the blog-o-sphere would be like this. I love that you opened yourself up to the worlds critical eye, and you didn’t care what they thought. This is real life for you, and everyone else. You just had the nerve to talk about it….thank you!! Your family is most beautiful to you and to God!!

  9. I love this story -and guess what? You ARE a damn champion! So glad you finally got to have that well deserved margarita.

  10. Whenever you’re in the Charleston area, the margarita is on me 🙂
    Great job, keeping your cool!
    Mommy reality isn’t always pretty and when it is, it’s not always seen.
    Thankfully, we can learn from our own “mommy” realities and not judge others who are going through the same craziness as we are…okay we’re human… at least we can *try* NOT to
    Toddler years can bring a slew of those moments, those moments when you want to pat yourself on the back, and the ones you hope no one noticed.
    You’re doing great Mama!!!

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