Written September 8, 2009
Disclaimer: Sorry, I’m a mom. I have to talk about poop.
I don’t understand why being out of the house means my kids have to go to the bathroom. Without fail, 100% of the time, always urgently and at the wrong times. It’s been this way ever since they were able to don big kid underwear. A 10-minute “quick trip” to the store was dragged out to 35-40 minutes because of either repeated trips to the restroom or one 20-minute marathon pit stop. I’ve become a master at scoping out the locations of any and all bathrooms wherever we happen to be. Name any store within a 30 mile radius and I bet I’d know exactly how many they have, where they are and if they’re kept clean. My kids and I naturally have become public restroom connoisseurs. Mary often announces her approval with a nod of her head and declaration of, “This is a nice one!” I never dreamed that half of my time shopping would be spent in the bathroom having a conversation with a five-year old between a closed-door about what he/she had to do next and what it ended up looking like. Although, this beats the days when I had to go in with them to “make sure they didn’t fall in” and they would proclaim in a very loud voice, “Mommy, your pink underwears is pretty!” I’m sure the other patrons were just as thrilled as I was.
Thankfully, with Mary and Drew being 8 and 7 we’ve moved into a comfortable place with them and their bathroom habits. They take care of themselves and I rarely have to know about it. Except now we have a boat. And a whole other world of bathroom emergencies has reared its ugly head. We should have been forewarned. Last summer gave us the best bathroom story in our family… ever. We were camping at our local lake and some friends of a friend had a boat. They were extremely generous with it and took all of our kids plus the two dads out on it. The moms stayed behind, relaxed on shore and waited for their arrival. When they came back a couple of hours later, as the boat was just about to reach us, I was greeted by my son (windblown hair sticking straight up just like Kramer from Seinfeld) who loudly declared, “Mommy, I pooped on the boat!” I looked at the other kids who all nodded furiously like a gaggle of bobble heads. I then looked to my husband who was gathering towels. He just shrugged, turned around and apologized to the boat owner for what must have been the 100th time. The boat owner himself, a great guy named Steve, slapped Arnie on the back, told him not to worry about it and shouted to Drew as I removed him from the boat, “Drew buddy, we’ll never forget ya!!” Great. My kid was the one they’ll be telling all future passengers about. “Have I got a story for you… one time we had this kid on the boat and he crapped all over it!” I couldn’t wait to hear the story.
So, after I got the kids showered and dressed and interested in some down time inside the camper, Arnie pulled me outside and was laughing so hard he almost had an accident himself. This is the story he told…
Apparently out of the blue Drew had to go. Remember the urgent and always at the wrong times discussion? It applies here. Luckily the boat was anchored and the other kids were swimming. Unfortunately, Drew was on the boat. And it was too late to think up a plan. Drew began frantically screaming about the immediate exit of his poop just before Arnie witnessed it. He did the only thing he could think of to do- pick up his son and throw him overboard. I must say here that Arnie is a safety engineer and would never put our children in harm’s way. My friends used to tease me about how, as babies, I would strap my kids into their highchairs using the five-point harness so they wouldn’t slide out of the bottom. We’re very responsible parents and therefore Drew had a life vest on. He didn’t, however, have swimming trunks on anymore. Before Arnie had tossed him in the water, he had the forethought to strip our son down so the poop would have a free and clear exit. And exit it did. It followed Drew’s trajectory out of the boat exactly. So now, not only was Drew flying out of the boat in a perfect arc, he had a lovely shit rainbow behind him. He landed in the water, a tangle of ass and elbows. He immediately came up sputtering and once Arnie assessed that he was okay, he instructed him to swim to the back of the boat and then turned his attention to the mess Drew had left behind on the seat cushions.
Once at the ladder ready to re-board, Drew looked up at Steve who, unfathomably, had not witnessed any of what had just occurred. Steve reached for his hand to help him up but then noticed Drew’s lack of swimwear. “Boy, why are you naked?” was Steve’s question to my son. I think at this point Drew burst into tears. Arnie was at the ready with a towel and gathered him up to try to calm him down. Word quickly spread and Steve became all too aware of what had just happened on his boat or rather, TO his boat. After getting Drew decent again, Arnie scrubbed Steve’s boat like it’s probably never been scrubbed before. I don’t know how many rolls of paper towels he went through, but it must have been an elm tree’s worth.
On the ride back to the shore, Steve was very sweet and let Drew drive the boat and touted his talent as the best captain he’d ever seen. He even let Drew do a few figure eights, which thrilled him to no end. As I was putting him to bed that night Drew told me, “Well, this will be a day I’ll never forget!” No doubt. And now I’m guaranteeing it. And yet did we learn from this life lesson? Well… no.
The second time we were at the lake with our new (to us) boat and the kids we had a similar event happen. This time it was Mary. But this time we were close to shore. Of course, not close to our campsite, so we trudged through the woods until I thought she might have some privacy, she did what she had to do and I handed her some leaves (hoping they weren’t poison ivy). The next week I came across a small roll of “Charmin To Go” encased in a plastic holder at the grocery store. If it hadn’t have been for my kids and their incessant need to go in public I would have never, ever known there was a need for such a product. I would have looked at it, laughed and thought, “What, for when the truck stop is out? Who’s going to carry that around with them?” Boat owners. Boat owners with kids, that’s who. Thank you, Charmin. Thank you for understanding my kids’ needs more than I do. You just get them.