A sh*tty situation

[Warning: this post is about poop. If you are under the impression that women don’t poop, or that when we do poop, it just comes out in a daisy-scented spray of rainbows, you might want to skip this one.]

I have never been known for my iron stomach. As a teenager, almost all outings featured a painfully awkward intermission during which I had to play a game of Can I Use Your Bathroom Without Buying Something? wherever we happened to go after dinner. This is the one and only reason I am thankful that I never had a serious boyfriend in high school, because it’s one thing to explain your dire need to poop to your girlfriends, and entirely another to explain it to a guy from whom you’re hoping to get some sweet, sweet first-base action (possibly another reason I didn’t have a serious boyfriend).

This continued until my mid-twenties, when I finally broke down and got a colonoscopy, which revealed polyps in my colon, but not much else. (Side note: I was unaware how strong the anesthesia was going to be, and the next day I drove myself to work and attended our company Christmas party still completely out of it, and spent the whole party making googly eyes at a baby at the next table.) Somehow, though, the threat of another colonoscopy seemed to clear up my problems, and for years I became a respectable member of poop society (poopciety?).

But lately, my colon has decided it is once again unhappy, which makes no sense, because I give it super delicious food and never swallow safety pins or anything like that. Today, my colon demanded I go home in the middle of the day and finish work from there, cordoned off from the rest of my office in the Poop Corner of Shame. Which was fine, because the Poop Corner of Shame also includes my refrigerator and an endless supply of free Diet Pepsi, but still.

According to my doctor, I was supposed to go back for another colonoscopy every five years for the rest of my life, but so far, I have successfully avoided it by getting pregnant every time it was time to have it done (I will go to any lengths not to have to take the pre-colonoscopy colon destroyer). But now my uterus is closed for business, and I’m wondering if it’s time I take my colon’s advice, do the adult thing and schedule my long-overdue colonoscopy.

Or I guess I could adjust my diet and exercise more. But that sounds even less appealing.

I almost had it all

Today, I almost managed to pull off a fully successful day of parenting.

I was totally killing it, too. I took the girls to the mall, thinking we would just hit the play place and maybe ride the train. There turned out to be a kids’ festival going on, but instead of panicking and screaming “MALL’S CLOSED!” while covering Addie’s eyes and backing slowly out through the men’s section of Dillard’s, I decided to be brave and face the whole thing head on.

The girls had their nails done at a spa’s booth, made masquerade masks at the library’s booth, and spent five minutes vigorously kicking each other in the backs of their knees at the karate booth. And somehow, when I told the girls we had to move on, they listened to me. It was as if I had been imbued with the magical power that I thought only superior mothers possessed, mothers whose children didn’t tend to fall to the ground, writhing in agony, whenever they’re told they can no longer linger in front of the prize wheel for the local minor league baseball team.

We even got shanghaied into an impromptu photo shoot with a professional photographer, for which my children decided to dress like Christina Aguilera circa the Dirrrty years:

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They looked like tiny pimps, but they were adorable tiny pimps, so I decided to buy the photo. In order to do so, I had to go to the photographer’s studio, which was located in that shitty corridor of the mall that only has, like, an eyebrow threading place and a hippie store with the word Jakarta in its name. I got there, and the photographer had live bunnies on site for photo shoots, and I almost left right then and there, knowing my children would be unable to resist the allure of live bunnies and would likely squeeze them to death like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. But lo, somehow, my new motherhood magic persisted, and when I told them to leave the bunnies alone, they simply walked away from the bunnies without convulsing with rage at my terrible abuse.

So I decided to press my luck and take the girls to the library afterward, knowing they were tired and high on free shit. Rosie fell asleep halfway there, so we stopped at the gas station and CVS to let her sleep a little longer, and Addie did not insist on getting out of the car to “help me pump gas,” which really just means “wander the gas station grounds waiting to be kidnapped”. What is this witchcraft, I thought to myself as Rosie dozed and Addie played quietly and happily in the back seat.

At the library, Rosie awoke happy and smiling, and played by herself while Addie used the computer. She didn’t pull any books off the shelves, or make prolonged eye contact with anyone (a particular habit of hers that tends to freak people out after 30 seconds or so), and I was able to actually sit on the couch in the children’s section and read a book for myself. It was done! I had mastered parenthood!

Until Rosie walked up to me and, not breaking eye contact, stuck her hand into the back of her pants, pulled out a wad of poop, and wiped it right on my pants.

“That’s right, motherfucker,” she seemed to say. “I still own you.”

House Rules

With Daddy out of town for a few days, now might be a good time to reinforce the house rules, as you have taken his absence to mean that we have descended into some base form of anarchy. Allow me to refresh your memories:

1. The floor is not a garbage can. It also also neither a hamper nor a compost pile. Also, and I know this is going to sound completely counter-intuitive, but the broom is not a toy. You have an actual toy broom. Please use that if you must insist on “helping” to clean the floor, which, by the way, would be fine if you would just stop throwing all your shit on it.

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Also, put some goddamn clothes on.

2. Doughnuts are not for dinner. They never have been before, so you have no reason to believe that they will be now that Daddy is gone, as if Daddy was the one thing holding you back from injecting sugar directly into your veins. We don’t even have any doughnuts, so I’m not sure where you thought I was going to conjure these mythical doughnuts from. Also not viable options for dinner:

  • Ice cream
  • “Trail mix” that you create yourself by dumping all of the bags in the pantry into a giant bowl and smashing the contents up with your unwashed palms (see above picture)
  • Salt packets
  • Literally just gum

3. I don’t care that it’s warm outside; you cannot go out without pants on. I know we have a lax dress code around here. But there is a difference between cute and sassy indoor nudity, and Welp, Time to Call the Cops outdoor nudity. I applaud you for at least thinking to put on your boots, but you look like a baby prostitute and I am not going to the slammer because you need to commune with the elements. With your butt out.

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4. Your bed is your bed. My bed is my bed. These two beds are mutually exclusive. Just because Daddy isn’t here doesn’t mean that I am suddenly lonely and cold in the middle of the night and need you to come wedge your feet into the small of my back and attempt to make them pop out through my belly button. Daddy doesn’t do that, and you shouldn’t, either. And before you even ask,

5. No, I do not want to watch Mutt and Stuff at 3 in the morning. Or Shimmer and Shine. Or any of the weird Canadian children’s shows you keep finding on Netflix, like My Big Big Friend or Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. Those shows are lame, and you are lame for wanting to watch them at 3 in the morning.

6. And I cannot stress this one enough, only poop in approved poop receptacles. Your diaper is fine. The toilet is fine. I guess outside is fine, if you manage to make your pantsless escape into the fenced-in backyard. But under no circumstances should you poop in any unauthorized areas, including, but not limited to, the basement stairs and the mini trampoline. Other people use these stairs and this trampoline. And now other people will never be able to do so again without wondering if at least a microscopic amount of leftover feces has lodged itself onto her sock, no matter how slash and burn one might be with the application of Clorox.

I really don’t think these rules are unreasonable, and I think you’ll find that we all have a more pleasant home experience when they are adhered to. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to scream them at top volume from the backseat of the car while also explaining how much you don’t love me anymore.