It was summertime. My kids had “free happy meal” coupons from the library and since they very rarely have fast food, they were particularly excited about it. Daddy-O was working late so it was the perfect day for a special treat. We got our happy meals and buckled into the car to drive to a new playground that was VERY close to the restaurant. I knew the smell of French fries was too hard to resist so I told them they could snitch one or two but to please save the rest for the playground.
Three minutes later we parked at the playground and one of the children—I won’t name names—announced, “I’m done with everything, even all of the apple juice!” Great. Thanks for listening, Pal.
I spread a blanket out on the ground and helped each of the other kids with their happy meals—opening straws and inserting into drinks, opening and squirting ketchup packets, spreading napkins, etc. Finally I kicked off my sandals and sat back myself, eager for a few minutes of rest when my fast-food-scarfing-pal came up to me and said, “I have to poop.”
Of course you do.
“Fine, go see if those bathrooms are open.”
Of course they weren’t.
“Can you hold it?”
Of course you can’t.
“Do you think this has anything to do with the fact that you just inhaled 2,000 grease-filled calories? Arrrgghh!”
I looked around… no shoes on any kids, all kinds of food opened and spread out on the blanket, locked bathrooms, no port-a-potties, no other people at the playground. There was, however, a very large shed at the back of the playground and beyond that there was a graveyard, so it seemed like a nice private makeshift bathroom to me. “You’ll have to go poop back there. It’s okay, it’s an emergency. I’ll bring you some wipes to clean up, okay?”
So Pal went behind the shed and I went back to the car for some wipes. As I walked to the shed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Pal was crouch-walking from behind the back of the shed, naked tush in the air, pants around the ankles. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING??”
“They’re… saying… disgusting.”
“Some bigger kids.”
(Little did we know the local kids took a path through the graveyard to get to the playground and two young teens had walked down the path and witnessed the apparently-not-so-stealthy pooper.)
Somehow I managed to not laugh and said, “It’s okay. Here’s a wipe for your bottom and then a few to do a good job with your hands and throw them away in the garbage can here okay? And pull up your pants.”
Pal followed the instructions and got back to playing. I figured we’d laugh at this story later and got back to pushing the kids on the swings. Suddenly the two tweens were by my side.
“Um, excuse me? Your child just pooped behind that shed.” They crossed their arms and stood there staring at me, obviously pissed off.
“I know, guys, it was kind of an emergency.”
They stayed by my side, still pissed, arms still crossed. “We think it was rude.”
“I assure you, it’s not what we would usually do. It’s just that the bathroom was locked and, like I said, it was an emergency.”
“Well you could have driven to the Exxon.”
Really? Who the hell where these kids hassling a grown up? There was no freaking way I was picking up all those drinks and French fries and ketchup packets and buckling all the kids into the car and… but wait a minute, didn’t being an ADULT count for anything? An adult they didn’t know? I didn’t have to explain myself to them!
“Yeah, well, I didn’t.”
They still didn’t leave.
I continued to push swings while they stood about three feet away from me, glaring at and hassling me.
“We think it was, like, really disrespectful.”
I had about had it with these whippersnappers. “Tell you what, walk back home and get me a shovel and I will bury the poop.”
“Eww. No. Ewww.” And with one final gigantic eye roll and sigh, they stomped off.
I did feel a little bad so I went and threw some mulch on the poop after they left. Luckily Pal never realized what was going on and therefore wasn’t traumatized by it. I asked recently and there is no recollection of this even happening. (Still I thought a little anonymity would be good.)
Next time the library is handing out the coupons for the free happy meals, would someone please remind me that for my kids it’s more like the happy meal high colonic? And that if they’re not going to eat them where there’s a bathroom nearby, to make sure I have a wipes and a shovel in the car.
Gina Sampaio likes to challenge the notion of what being a stay-at-home mom means by not only staying busy with her kids but also with acting, writing, social activism and rabble rousing in general. Gina blogs about her daily adventures at Sister Serendip.
Photo: Phil Whitehouse