I'm fairly certain, that for every mother who has small children at home, winter can become rather long, tedious, and completely obnoxious. I find that the longer we are trapped inside with one another, the more unkind our words become, the faster our tempers flare and bad behavior seems to escalate exponentially.
So, in an effort to counter this mid- January behavior curse, I thought I would take my two lovely children to our local YMCA's indoor water park.
Part One: Getting Out the Door or Giving Yourself Heart Palpitations
As a fellow mother of young ones, you will also be able to empathize with the amount of effort on your part when it come to such excursions. Swim suits, towels, swim bags, clean clothes, goggles and other swimming necessities that are nicely packed away since this is clearly not the season for swimming, de-tangling of hair (for those of you with girls), last minute "I'm hungrys", bathroom accidents on the kitchen counter (for those of you with toddler boys-who seem to be on top of something when they have an accident, or I guess at any given time during the day), putting on, and re-putting on of jackets, herding to the car, buckling of car seat belts, whining about the tightness of the seat belts, adjusting the seat belts and making sure that you yourself are clothed, suddenly realizing that you haven't shaved in what feels like months, simultaneously not caring, and clutching some form of caffeinated beverage, as if the loss of it might actually be life threatening (I'm not so sure it wouldn't be).
Now we are off and ready to expel that energy that so desperately needs an outlet. This is my excuse as to why I don't get up early to exercise, by the way.
Every time we make it to this point I always ask myself two questions "Why?" and "Why?" And I usually draw a blank, so I just drive away in an "I don't know what I'm doing but I know that I am now committed so just keep moving, or driving, or whatever action I am currently engaged in."
Just a side note-I've always wanted to make out a detailed list of what our days look like, housework and all, but thinking through it again just makes me feel the fatigue all over again, so I haven't. And probably won't. Yes, definitely won't be doing that.
So, on to the pool.
Part Two: The Pool
We managed to make it into the pool, having successfully navigated through the locker room, changing room, and bathroom and we're finally having a lovely time, splashing around in the water, that is, until I see that unmistakable, "I'm having a bowel movement on top of the slide, and there's nothing you can do to stop it" expression on my son's face. Did I mention I am potty training? I didn't think so. I tend to try and forget about it as much as physically possible. I don't know how many times I have mentioned to my youngest that he needs to tell me when he needs to make a visit to the potty, but apparently to no avail. So I make that desperate dash to the slide, the one where you know you need to move faster but the law of physics and 2 feet of water prevent you from doing so. I reach him just as he's finishing up and say the standard, "Did you go poo- poo in your pants?", with all the patience that being in a public place pulls out of you. After a slight nod from him confirming that he has, indeed pooed in his pants, I proceed to pick my son up, cupping the lump of excrement in his swim trunks with my free hand, so that it doesn't inadvertently slip out of the leg of his pants down the water slide and into the water below. Does anyone know how difficult it is to carry your son, and trying to make sure his poop doesn't slip out of his shorts while looking all nonchalant? "There's nothing to see here people, just a routine trip to the bathroom, no retaining of poop going on here." How do you do that inconspicuously? Total concealment fail.
Part 3- The Bathroom
I proceed to walk as fast as humanly possible and lock ourselves into the nearest family bathroom. I don't think I should share all the horrible details of what happens next, although if you have read this far you might be able to stomach it.
But I will say this, never. ever. ever. try to rinse off soiled swim trunks in a public bathroom sink; even if you think everything has been disposed of. Never.
So I'm about to tend to Noble, who is patiently waiting for me to clean him off, when I notice that the family bathroom sink is clogging. I try and rake my hand across the drain and see if there are any bits that are preventing the flow of water, but no. It is definitely clogged. Thank goodness for my previous work experience at the veterinary clinic and zoo. Who knew it would prepare me for motherhood so well? An intense, but brief moment of panic set in as I quickly scanned the small room to see what I could use to get the water out of the sink basin, because there was no way I was leaving that bathroom with a sink full of poop water. I don't know if it was stubborn pride or propelling fear, but I was going to leave that bathroom in the state I found it in. No matter what.
As I glanced around the room I spotted the trash can, clean and unused, by the door. I removed the liner, and brought it over to the sink where I scooped out handful after handful of murky water. I have a new found hatred of those sinks that are sensory activated, because whenever I seemed to be making headway, I would accidentally trigger the blasted helpful thing and it would fill up all over again. I must have been praying for patience in my sleep, because this allowed about as much opportunity as potty training a two year old boy.
After what felt like an eternity, and several trips to the commode, success! The sink was empty, and clean, I even managed to soap up, rinse out and dry the trash can before returning it to its rightful place by the door. All that was left was my son, who I hoped gained some important lessons from watching the chaotic and I'm sure damaging scene unfolding in front of him.
We returned to the pool, even though poor Noble completely lost any interest in swimming, and tried to spend a few minutes just pretending to be normal, all the while I was secretly praying that the sink would miraculously unclog itself and I would not have to notify an employee that I accidentally clogged one of there sinks up with poo.
After we headed back in to shower/dry off /change, I meekly made my way back to the bathroom to see if my prayers had been answered, or if in fact I would be humbly seeking out some assistance. And miracles of miracles, the sink appeared to be Perfectly. Fine. I let the water run and it slipped down the drain like, well, an unclogged drain. I was relieved, surprised, confused, thankful, not convinced, convinced, and enthusiastically happy.
What did I learn from this experience?
Never leave the house to go swimming in January.
Never trust your 2 1/2 yr. old that is doing 'well' potty training to not poop in public.
My kids are never too old for swim diapers.
Never engage in any activity in the middle of winter that involves me wearing a swim suit.
If your planned activity is going to help your kids get rid of some energy, it will nearly kill you.
You can never have too much caffeine.
The is no such thing as a sanitary surface in the YMCA. My sincerest apologies for tainting any future experiences you may have there.
Miracles do happen.
My experiences today will give me perspective tomorrow. (When London (or Noble) says her kids are driving her insane, I will empathic ally understand and not assail her with, "Enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast." Because there are just some moments that are not meant to be enjoyed, like poop clogged sinks in public bathrooms).
If I need a good dose of humbling, God will definitely provide it.
Never underestimate the healing powers of online self deprecation.