A Very Poopy Day

We had a bit of a hiccup in our morning ritual today when I came across a pile of pillows and blankets at the foot of the staircase and quickly, a split second later, looked up to find Henry and Isabel securing themselves in a sleeping bag at the top of the stairs.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING” I said with too much vigor. And then I asked them why. WHY??? I always feel like Nancy Kerrigan when I’m interrogating my children.

“We’re going to slide down,” explained Henry. “The pile is there to keep us safe.”

He said this as I was bounding up the stairs and quickly grabbing each small child by the bicep. I secured them in my grip as we slowly made our way down the staircase and out to the van for the drive to school. Yes, this is what they were doing as the rest of us were loading up for carpool.

My life. Some days it feels so very exhilarating.

stairway pile
“This will keep us safe,” said no sane person ever.

It’s saying a lot about my day when that incident, the one that gave me heart failure as we headed out the door, ended up being a tiny little footnote in the Chapter that is Monday.

It started out wild, and got a tad more wild.

As we were walking to the van (in those ten seconds between Operation: Near-Death Experience and Operation: Pulling Out of the Driveway) Henry stepped in dog poop. It wasn’t overly bad (it can always be worse) but it was disconcerting to him and those near him.

“I need a stick!” he wailed, “I need a stick!”

“We will look for a stick when we get to school.” I was speaking over the sounds of his older brothers hurling their bodies over the seats to get away from Henry and toward the front of the van.

“Hey,” Henry cried, “don’t leave me alone with this stink!”

Fortunately for us all, the drive to school is about three minutes long. We arrived, everyone bolted and Henry was still asking about a stick.

“Walk really hard on that foot as you head to class,” I said. The damage really was minimal, it wasn’t some big glob. But still, he was painfully aware that poop was in the general vicinity. I didn’t know what else to do. He was going to be late, the last bell was about to ring. It was just a small bit in the grooves of his shoe. I sound like someone with a guilty conscience.

Henry is so lucky. His grandpa was the teacher on carline duty and took Henry under his wing. As I drove off, Henry and Papa were dealing with the last bits of the situation.

Fast forward a few hours to after school. We have two hours between when Henry gets out and when we pick up his brothers. Today we used that time to run to Wal-Mart for some shopping. I was excited because I had already decided that we would zip through the food aisles, grab the small amount we needed and then head to the toys. I’m usually in such a rush that I drag them through for a perfunctory glance (because I used that as a dangling carrot for the rest of the trip). Today, I told myself, really enjoy the moment. Let them linger. Be at peace.

So we spent ten solid minutes in the truck aisle and I inhaled deeply and told myself to chill. We are not in a rush, said I, we have plenty of time.

I stood and watched as Henry and Isabel inspected the various plastic vehicles, taking our time, nowhere to go.

“I have to poop,” announced Henry.

“Can you go at home,” I pleaded. “I will pay you one million dollars to hold it until we get home.”

“No,” he said, in instant agony. We had to move fast.

We scurried down the way until we found the bathroom. As we were walking in, as I settled our cart just outside the door, a store employee told me to watch out because there was a really bad mess in one of the stalls. Be very careful, she warned, it’s very gross.

As you can imagine, in the time it took her to so kindly give heed, Henry bolted ahead and chose…that stall.

And as you probably know, if you have a five-year-old boy, going to the bathroom always involves an unencumbered experience. I looked under the door to see his shirt, pants, socks and belt all in a heap.

What were those footprints leading out from the stall all over the restroom? Why that would be poop. Poop from another customer.

The room started spinning, and stinking really bad. I finally put it all together — the horrible smell, the brown shoe marks. It was all from some hideous mess, a mess of people poop, directly under Henry’s feet.

“Blease urry,” I said, plugging my nose,  “or wur all gudda die.”

But Henry could not be rushed. Because he had tummy trouble.

“I’m sick,” he announced. You and me both, I concurred.

tweet sense

It took a few minutes, I made Isabel wash her hands three times. For no reason except it made me feel like I was being proactive.

When Henry emerged I saw that “the mess” was actually much worse than we thought. And the thing you are imagining is no where near as disgusting as the reality.

Now that I’ve written all about this I feel kinda bad for sharing it with you. But as you must understand, I spent all this time writing it, so I’m going to leave it. Also, it’s a cautionary tale. I should have offered Henry more money.

Henry’s day started with poop and it went downhill from there. And yes, the minute we got home he and Isabel went straight into the tub. And the clothes are about to be bleached. Or possibly burned.

There’s no moral, no lesson to be learned. Except parenting ain’t fer wimps. Sissies need not apply either.


  1. Oh Rachel, you have me laughing and gagging at the same time while I’m waiting in the post office line. Suddenly my crazy day seems incredibly trouble free. You are so right – motherhood is not for wimps. 🙂

  2. Christine says:

    Wow! That is an amazing story in a bad way and tops my weekend with seven kids and both adults having a violent stomach flu. Wow. And I would burn the clothes.

  3. And you know that bathroom probably still had not been cleaned. Walmart is the worst place!

    • christine says:

      No kidding. I try to avoid it as much as possible (and I am not a “wal mart basher”… there’s a time and a place, but yeah the bathrooms… ugh.

  4. Oh my! You win for worst public bathroom experience! It’s always awful with little children. But your description was hilarious!!

  5. Michelle Ross says:

    Oh, oh, oh…I wouldn’t even try to salvage the clothes. And you are so right–definitely not for wimps. Praying for a better day tomorrow for Henry, and for you.

  6. That stinks! I sincerely hope for everyone’s sake that the rest of your week doesn’t involve anyone stepping in poop from humans or animals. I think it’s quite clear that there is a moral lesson in all of this. Crap happens, and moms are usually the ones who get to clean it up.

  7. Oh my goodness, laughing hysterically!!!!!!

  8. Thank you for the wonderful laugh at the end of a long day. I am sorry you had such a poopy Monday but thank you for sharing your story in such a hilarious way!

  9. I rarely comment on blogs, but I have to tell you that this made me laugh so hard I cried. I’m a fairly new parent – I have an almost-three-year-old and an almost-one-year-old – and my husband and I frequently comment that we never realized how much our lives would revolve around . . . poop! Seriously, I don’t think I ever said the word “poop” in public before I had children. Thank you for sharing your awful, awful, but in retrospect, very funny day.

  10. I can deal with child and animal poop all day long and not bat an eye. But I would’ve been a bit less collected than you in that last situation. You have my utmost respect.

  11. Mom in GA says:

    Oh my!!! Thank you for sharing. Really, as disgusting as that horrible image in my mind is right now……I’m glad that you shared. Because we all like to know we aren’t the ONLY ones who have poopy days. And, I encountered a bathroom stall like that at BJ’s once and I almost died just from the sight/smell. Now, I’m saying prayers of thanksgiving that none of my kids actually came in contact with that horrendous mess. And, I’m feeling really bad for you. 🙁 Tomorrow will be better (we can hope!!).

  12. Thank you for this Rachel! And I thought my day with my 2 year old was bad….just saying 🙂

  13. Awful and absolutely hilarious! We had a similar situation occur at the Holy Trinity bathroom not long ago — you know, the bathroom that measures eighteen inches by eighteen inches. I won’t even get into the details, but it underscored my firmly held belief that your own child’s, ahem, issues are not nearly as gross as those belonging to someone unrelated.

    May you enjoy a more hygienic day!

  14. God bless you, Rachel, and increase your fortitude, which He clearly intends doing!

    We have a mutual friend, now enjoying heaven and praying for us all no doubt, who was on his way to a professional meeting in Atlanta, at which he was the speaker, when he found himself the seriously offending party at a Hardee’s along the way. He was still somewhat in the throws of it all when he called the meeting moderator to say he was unwell and would not be able to make it. And horror or horrors, the moderator PUT HIM ON SPEAKER PHONE so that he still might say a few words to the assembled crowd of his professional peers!

    Meanwhile, his wife found a Walmart and got him a pair of pants(4 inches too short) so he escape the remains of the bathroom. As they were leaving the Hardee’s he said he heard a wail coming from the direction of the men’s restroom, and his first thought was, “My children all will go to college!”

  15. Oh wow! That is just awful. I probably would have risked extreme embarrasment and used the Men’s Restroom. And definitely put those clothes in a plastic bag and toss. I’m glad you posted this. So many laughs!

  16. Thank you for posting this hilariously disgusting story of your day. I could not stop laughing last night as I was laying in bed. Finally, after hearing me laugh so hard that I cried, my husband asked what was so funny. The way that I retold the story did not do your writing justice. I’m so sorry that you had to live through that type of day and poor little Henry! I guess I found it so funny because I can totally imagine that type of day happening in our family. And what is it about little boys that makes them have to be totally unclothed to use the bathroom?

  17. I couldn’t agree more! Parenting is not for wimps! Sorry about your day!

  18. “I will pay you one million dollars to hold it until we get home.” Priceless.

  19. I’m so glad you have days like this…they make my days so much easier to deal with. I still have tears from laughing so hard.

  20. chickadee says:

    Good grief!! So awful and funny! That day beats all the baby projectile-poop stories from our family. 🙂

  21. This was a classic. God obviously sends these as a grace for blog material. You are SO blessed! My sister had the experience in a DIY store of her daughter deciding to make use of the toilet on display. I think she pretended not to know the child.

  22. I am so trying not to laugh…because it could happen to any of us! Burn the clothes!!!

  23. Totally disgusting but yet I have tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard!