And so, the day before yesterday, I managed to scramble out from under my pile of work and head for the door. It was a full ten minutes later than I had meant to leave and I sprinted to my car. Or rather, I walked quickly. In heels. Luckily I had anticipated my own punctuality failure by planning buffer time around all comings and goings, especially since the nurse at the doctor's office had pressed upon me via telephone that I MUST ARRIVE EARLY for the filling out paperwork or else all would be lost. She made sure to emphasize that part in a way that made me believe her.
Under the crush of new-doctor pressure I drove drove drove to pick up the Jude. Awesome Babysitter, as awesome as always, woke him up early from his nap, changed him, cleaned him, and fed him a snack so he was prepared for my eminent rushed arrival. Bless her heart, I love her so.
I stepped out her door with Jude and his bag in tow. As I walked to the car the faintest trace of a smell wafted up to my nose, floating through the air like a tottering swaying cobra. It couldn't be, I told myself. The smell of hell could not possibly be coming from my child at such an inconvenient time. I soldiered on in grim denial. Nope, no smells here. Nope. However when I finally got him all snapple-trapped into his seat I steeled myself for bad news and... took a sniff of the general area. Huh, well yes, something around this zone does smell vaguely like an old pile of digested trash.
I smelled the kid. I smelled his bag. I smelled the kid. I smelled his bag. I smelled his arm. I smelled his leg. I smelled the bag. The amorphous scent didn't seem to be coming from any particular source that I could identify. I stood in the street, in the rain, and decided to remain in positive denial. All I could think about was the clock ticking. Given that I would surely be lost on the way to the new office it was time to get back in the car and bust ass, mysterious smell be damned.
By the time I arrived safely in the parking lot of the doctor's office (all praise be to the google) things looked menacing. And by looked I mean smelled with my nose. Menacing. I could not in good conscious take my child in to his future physician smelling like... that. Something had to be done. I climbed into the back seat next to Jude to assess the situation.
This was the time when I started to get the picture that I was really in trouble, really quite a lot of trouble. I had a spare pair of pants for him, and plenty of clean disposable diapers– but no wipes. Zero. Wipes. Not a wipe-like item to be seen for miles around, and there he was, wearing a cloth diaper that was probably filled with baked goods. We normally stash wipes in the car (for times such as these) but we had last used our stock on a road trip and never replaced them. I was up the creek without a paddle. In a hole without a ladder. This, my friends, was not good.
The clock shouted TICK TICK TICK in my brain and blotted out all rational thinking about what the hell I was going to do. I unsnapped the Jude from his seat and stood him up next to me. I slid off his shoes and socks and shimmied his pants down and OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT ON MY HAND– WHAT IS ON YOUR HAND?!
I had not yet taken off the diaper and already it was everywhere. Things were not off to a rousing start.
With the pants dispatched and the immediate flecks of danger wiped onto an inoffensive surface I examined what exactly we were going to have to deal with. My heart dropped a thousand feet into the basement of the parking garage and bounced up and down on the concrete where an armored vehicle promptly ran it over. Oh there was poop alright. On the side closest to me, as he hopped up and down, a lava-like cascade of primordial muck was escaping out the leg fold. On the (my) other hand, quite literally, was a flow of excess that had sought freedom up the back of his pants– and found it in the loving embrace of shirt and carseat. It had been a double break for freedom the likes of which I had never before seen from a cloth diaper. We had hit the motherload. Of sadness.
This was when I traveled outside my mind to distance myself from my insane panic. Float away, brain, float away out there in space. Not only did I have no way to contain this ever flowing river of the hugest poop my child had ever expelled I was dangerously close to late for our appointment. There was no time to plan, or think, or panic. In retrospect it would have made more sense to take him into the office, smelly mess and all, and explain myself where they would hopefully have something like paper towels and a blessed sink. But did I do that? No. The pants were off, the poop was out. I had walked too far down the path to turn back.
In my head I shouted WHAT THE HELLLLL AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS, AHHHHHHHH! but on the outside my limbs jumped into action. I unhooked the diaper and carefully tossed it out the open door onto the wet pavement with a heavy smack, attempting not to smear the bulk of its contents across the car– all while I simultaneously held the Jude still from wiggling and pressing his filthy lower half on interior surfaces of the car with my other, slimier hand. I was only partially successful on both counts but hell, it was a start.
One by one I used whatever items I could find in the car to do battle with the amazing poop of 2011. The spare t-shirt went first, my sacrificial lamb, followed by the sweat pants, a stuffed bear's hat, and a receipt. Barely a dent had been made in the chaos as the soiled items started to pile up outside the car door on the pavement. I thrust my hands out into the falling rain. I rubbed the poop away with my dampish paws which succeeded in only creating a milky brown paste. I took apart disposable diapers and rubbed them on the outside of the car to collect rainwater and then scraped them across my child's skin. In that moment out of desperate necessity I was the MacGyver of bathroom cleanup.
After what felt like an eternity (but was only three minutes) the majority of the horror was tackled. There was now a lovely filmy coating of poo-water on my child and everything around me! It was at that point I was forced to acknowledge that it was the best I could possibly do under the circumstances. I put his last clean diaper on over what remained and hoped for the least smelly outcome. I tugged on the last pair of pants that I had held in reserve, carefully sheltered in the front seat– the shirt soiled up the back had to stay on. I crammed the load of soaked poo-ridden items from outside into our bag and locked all of the horror inside the car to wait for my return.
I walked, in the rain, a half mile to the doctor's office with poop on me– carrying an angry poop-pasted toddler and my purse, which now by proxy smelled of poop. You would think that the terror stopped there but it really didn't. The Jude proceeded to freak out in the tiny waiting room because I was freaking out and colored all over my face with the blue pen he managed to snatch out of my hands. In the loveliest moment of all my poop covered child, red-faced from all our
The first 20 months of the Jude's existence were happily devoid of these kinds of incidents. He is an easy-going kid and we had incredible luck. I barely even carried extra diapers with me when we went out, for christ's sake! The few times we had "an incident" of this nature it happened at home and we all had a good laugh about it all fifteen feet to the washing machine.
I've witnessed the horror stories of other parents from the sidelines with a mix of humor and worry. But knock on wood that would not happen to us. I wasn't cocky about it, per se, it just never occurred to me that things could GO so wrong so fast. So when things finally went wrong, people, they went really REALLY wrong. All of our lucky breaks culminated to build one hugely unlucky monster. Little did I understand before that moment the complete desperation that comes upon you in times of biblical sized parenting apocalypse, the spiral of terror that YOU, as parent, are the one who has to fix it. There is no escape. This is your destiny. You may think you're safe once you've passed out of the infant stage– you are never safe. There will be no shortage of baby wipes in my car from now until the Jude's 35th birthday.
Twitter was witness to my pain, always my friend and confidant, just moments after it happened. As I was doing battle in the back seat of our car my phone was going buzz buzz buzz buzzbuzz buzz buzz in my jacket pocket with support, and commiseration, and laughter. You can laugh at my misfortune, friends, please do. I am. Well, at least now I am. At the time I was very near to hot salty tears.
I emerged from that car a sweaty frazzled fucking motherhood champion, filthy hands gripped around my trophy of survival and I am here to tell you: PUT WIPES IN THE CAR, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS CAKESTER, PUT THE WIPES IN YOUR CAR.