Saturday, April 03, 2010
I swore it wouldn’t happen to me. I would never write about poop. So let’s just get this out of the way. This is a story about poop.
There I am in the checkout line at H&M on a gorgeous spring day. My little baby girl is wearing a spring romper and a pretty pink hat that makes her look like a tiny little cupcake that you want to eat immediately. I’m feeling fresh, wearing my first dress of the spring, my hair down around my face. I've a few cute infant onesies hanging from my stroller, and little baby girl starts grunting, I reach down and tickle her belly, her grunts turn to tears and her tears begin to crescendo into a deafening wail. My face beginning to pinken with embarrassment, I decide to bend over and pick her up. After all, I’m anxious to show off her cute spring outfit and impress the line with my highly nuanced mothering skills.
“There, there, little precious monkey. It’s okay.”
The man in front of me widens his eyes in horror. I catch his eye and he looks away, slapping his friend on the arm and gesturing towards me. His friend looks over and gives me the up and down, smiling. But then he stops at my arm and the smile fades and the eyes widen and the friend smirks as if to say, I told you it was worth a look. And that is when I realize that they are staring at a gob of yellow poop sliding out the leg of my little girls romper, down my arm and onto the floor of H&M on 18th and Walnut.
“Oh my God,” I exclaim to the crowd, only drawing more attention to the now wailing baby dripping with poop. “Oh my God.”
I stand in the line for a moment having no idea what to do. With one poopy arm wrapped around my child, I realize I can not put her back down in the stroller. So I take the second poopy arm, stained baby turd yellow, and I push the cart towards the back of the store.
This is when baby girl decides to kick up the screams and add some thrashing to challenge my already fragile one armed grip.
“Do you have a bathroom or a place I can change my baby,” I say to the nearest store employee. “It’s an emergency.”
The store clerk looks down at my arm and shakes his head in a ‘no’ motion. “Sorry, we don’t have a bathroom.”
I just stand there. Panicked.
“But you can use a fitting room,” He offers.
I lunge towards the fitting room, anxious to calm my poor screaming angel, and then he puts his foot out in front of me. “How many items do you have?”
I can barely hear him over her now piercing shrieks. She is doing one of those cries where her face turns purple and her mouth opens so wide that I can see her throat vibrating. With each sream she kicks her legs and more poop drips out onto the floor.
“I don’t know, just take it.” I say, gesturing to the items hanging from my cart.
“Because you can only bring in four items,” he says.
“Just take it. Take it all.” I say.
He removes the items from the cart and I push baby girl into the tiny fitting room. Now comes the dilemma. I have a dirty baby in one arm and the diaper bag is tucked under the seat of the stroller and needs two hands to be pulled out. In fact, I need to remove the car seat from the frame to remove the bag, and until I remove the bag I have nowhere to put my little angel. Shit.
I place her back in her stroller, soiling her favorite blanket. Then I frantically remove the seat, get out the diaper bag, remove the changing pad and lay it on the floor, take her back out of the now poopy stroller and lay her on the changing pad. With my left hand lifting her legs, I use my right to open her diaper. The contents pour out onto the changing pad. I vomit a little in my mouth. I reach my dirty hand back into the diaper bag and can’t find the wipeys. My poop covered hand searches every pocket until at last I find them. There is one wipey left.
I grab two burp cloths and wrap the dirty diaper in one. I use the second to clean her up and she lowers her screams an octave. I hear someone in the changing room next to us.
“Jesus, what is that woman doing to that baby? Removing a limb?”
Baby girl pees on the changing pad before I get a chance to slide in the new diaper. I lift my knees so as to avoid the puddle. Too late. I find another burp cloth and wipe up the mess. I slide another diaper under her, close it up and then realize I have nothing to change her into and her romper is a mess. I wrap the dirty burp cloth over her dirty romper and I place her, the burp cloth, and the dirty blanket back into the stroller. She stops crying.
I wipe up the floor with the dirty diaper and then I turn and catch my 360 degree reflection in the mirror. My dress is covered in pee, my hair is disheveled and tangled, my arms, legs and lower right chin are covered in a mustard stained poop. There are no more wipeys.
I hang my head in shame and I leave the fitting room. The clerk is waiting for me outside the door.
“She has quite the lungs, your little one,” he says.
He looks at my hand, holding the dirty diaper parcel.
“Want me to take that?”
“It’s kinda gross. Are you sure you want this in your garbage can for the rest of the day?”
He looks at me, a smile playing across his lips.
“It’s okay. We are just about to do a shift change.”
I leave the store, anxious to get home, trying to avoid paths that may contain people I know, vowing never to go back that H&M ever again.