Warning: poo content ahead.
YoungestGirl’s bowel habits are generally regular. She likes to eat a nice bowl of porridge in the morning, wave Daddy off to work, and then do a poo in her nice fresh morning nappy. She will repeat this process several times during the day, but the Porridge-Daddy-Bye-Bye poo is one to rely on.
The only exception to this is if I have planned to go out. Obviously, being 12 months old, YoungestGirl has no concept of my plans to go on an excursion. However, I can only describe what happens next as a Psychic Spiteful Car Poo. On these days of planned trips, the age-old formula of porridge and farewells does not work. Instead there is no poo at all, leaving me in the hinterland of should I wait until she’s done a poo? There is also the possibility of a Schrodinger’s Poo (both there and not there, until the nappy is taken off). Normally I give up waiting by about 10.30 a.m. and decide to risk it.
I assemble all of the necessary detritus to take EldestGirl and YoungestGirl out: vodka, valium, chocolate and a nail gun. Not really, but we are laden with
Fruit Shoots healthy drinks, a huge stack of rice cakes, snacks, more snacks, nappies, wipes, changing mat, change of outfit, and an assortment of whichever My Little Ponies are in favour that particular day. Sometimes I remember my wallet and phone. Often I don’t. Once I lost the car keys for a full ten minutes after having unlocked the car.
YoungestGirl likes to wait until she is strapped into the car, and ideally far enough away from home to make turning back impractical before she releases her Psychic Spiteful Car Poo. This is almost always twice the size of normal poos, smelly enough to make me worry about losing consciousness at the wheel, and quite a lot of the time she manages a leaky one too.
Now, as a tolerant and kind parent, I am not supposed to shout, “Oh for fuck’s sake you bastarding little stink-bottom!” And I don’t. But sometimes I think it, really, really loudly.
Instead, I slap on a smile, imagining I look a bit like Topsy and Tim’s mum, tell the children it will be a wonderful adventure, park up, commence the not-inconsiderable task of getting the children out of the car, into the buggy and safely onto the pavement, and try and find a changing facility. This is not as easy as it looks. Whilst most places these days are well equipped with baby changing facilities, most fail to take into consideration EldestGirl’s entirely reasonable demand that there must be no hand dryer. EVER. If there is a hand dryer,she will not enter the toilet, even under my reassurance that a) we are the only people there and b) I will not use the hand dryer.
Once we have located a toilet that allows me to change YoungestGirl’s nappy, vest and – on one memorable occasion – hat, and caters for EldestGirl’s hand dryer phobia, the nappy changing (or attempted baby kamikaze from an unfamiliar changing mat) can begin.
By the time nappies are changed, babies are nearly dropped, outfits are changed, hands are washed (but not dried, obviously), I have had enough and we almost always head straight back home again.
Additionally, EldestGirl now thinks that “wonderful adventure” means getting covered in excrement at a public facility. This does not bode well for her future. She has started to say that she doesn’t want to go on anymore wonderful adventures. Which is fine, because neither do I.