4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
The craziest thing happened tonight.
Actually, I should probably begin with a Trigger Warning: for poop and putting your hands into toilets filled with poop. In case you’re eating an egg and bacon bagel. Or split pea soup… With corn.
Ladies and gentleman; the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
It began like this. We had a great day. Kayaking and paddle boarding at the beach, catching crabs with someone else’s family reunion, sandcastle building and the like. Then we headed into town and ate a boatload of sushi, literally. And then we finished the whole thing with the world’s most flavorful gelato.
So what better way to kill the last hour of our day than to sneak into the pool of the fanciest inn on the island where we were lucky enough to have family staying? I mean, two exhausted parents, four over-stuffed and crazy children and two adults who have chosen not to have kids, staying in the fanciest suite available: What could go wrong?!
I headed to the pool with the kids while everyone else headed somewhere more peaceful. The kids dived and floated, cannon-balled and practiced their swimming. For fifteen minutes. Until Child 1 stated, “I have to go to the bathroom. Poo.” (Knowing look.)
And my reply? “Are you kidding me? We just got here! There are four of you. Do you actually have to go to the bathroom?!”
The reply? “I can hold it… For awhile.”
The sun was beginning to set and the views of the ocean beyond the pool were glorious.
Then suddenly Child 1 popped out of the pool and shuffled hurriedly towards the gate. “Gotta go!… To the bathroom… Now… Oh…um…” And like that scene in Bridesmaids, metaphorical traffic stopped as the bathing suit drooped.
Oh my… Oh my god. Did you? Did you just? Did you just… poop?!
“Go back to the suite and get Dada. Go to the bathroom.”
I texted dada. Child 1 left. Child 1 returned. Still poopie.
I sent Child 1 back. Child 1 returned. Still poopie.
And as I attempted to unravel this horrible mystery of why the bathing suit still drooped, Child 2 said, “I have to go potty, Mama.”
So the family member who has chosen not to have children showed up and I megawatt smiled, and said, “Watch the other two for a minute, please?!” And I hustled back across the lawn of the inn with 1 and 2.
As I dragged Child 1, the poopy one, into the bathroom smiling and waving, all “Haha. We’re just going to use the potty!” Child 2 scuttled into the living room.
“I have to go poopy,” Child 2 stage-whispered, then, “I’m pooping.” And by the time I got them both in the bathroom there were sheets of poop-infused chlorinated water running down poopy bodies making brown puddles on the floor and all over the white porcelain of the toilet.
I nonsensical cursed like the father from A Christmas Story, but in a scary hissing whisper voice “A blargin, furking, futher!! Corn?!! Who ate corn?! Ah, blargin, shimmy blit!! This makes no sense… This is.. I… You… Bargin fig a blart.”
And the men sat right outside the door watching Rory McIlroy finish the last few holes of the PGA golf tournament.
The two “poop”-ertrators’ faces started to crumble, chins wobbling, tears brimming, as the full impact of the poop began to sink in, as it were.
“Be quiet,” I hissed. “Do not make a sound. No. Words.” And by the looks on their faces, the now dropped chins, the huge eyes, I could tell that I had apparently let crazy entirely out of the bag, and it was showing. Mommie Dearest was in the hizz-ouse.
And I may have fake-cursed again. I may have thrown two bathing suits into the toilet, because… poop. Then I may have scooped them out, because… toilet.
These people have chosen not to have children and chaos and POOP. It was Poop-Vietnam, I tell you. Poop-Pompeii.
And if you’ve ever wanted to go back to Pompeii in a time machine and ask some olive seller if he notices Mt. Vesuvius smoking and the ground burbling, let me tell you. I’ve been there. And I did not see it coming. I mean, that volcano hasn’t erupted in years.
I may have opened the door and chirped, “Okay to give these two a quick shower in here?”
I may have closed the door, pointed my finger at their shell-shocked faces and hissed, “I want you to always remember that mama fixed this. Pinky swear that we tell no one but Dada. Ever.”
Some towels may have suffered. Maybe a bath mat.
I’m not saying. And I guarantee, those two are not saying. We pinky swore on it.
Then Child 3 and Child 4 returned with the dear relative, the one who has chosen to not be surrounded by chaos? You remember. She was at the pool with two crazed children jacked up on gelato, chlorine and whatever hormones drive young children.
“Where were you?!” she asked. She looked a bit shell-shocked herself.
And then one un-poopy child had a temper tantrum about not getting to use the hot tub. So I swatted the crocs out of Child 3’s hands, leaned in close and hissed, “You need to get a hold of yourself. Mama is done, I tell you. Swallow. Those. Tears.”
And Child 3 did.
The unpoopy children hot-tubbed while Child 1 and 2 looked longingly on. And I may have even whispered menacingly to them, “Because… Poop.”
I then showered Child 3 and 4. And then I had a Silkwood shower myself. Because I was covered with poop, I tell you.
Finally I sat on the couch with four exhausted, sweet-smelling children in pajamas (always bring pajamas after 5 pm. Just do. Or should I say doo-doo?) And I gripped a glass of wine like a kid who can’t swim grips a swim noodle.
I cuddled with my damp kids and they petted my shoulder and hair saying things like, “You are the best Mama” and, “You are so good, Mama,” while we all watched the sun slip down into the water outside and Phil Mickelson barely suppress his frustration over Rory McIlroy.
I’m telling you, I felt for Mickelson. I know frustration.
The moral? Bring pajamas? People who do not have children are on to something? Parents can do things they wouldn’t have done drunk in college when faced with the right incentive? I’m not sure.
But I had to tell you. I had the craziest night.
(And by the way, if you know the family without kids who stayed in the fancy suite? Don’t tell them about Pompeii, ‘kay? Let’s just let dead Romans lie.)
Click >Pompeii by Bastille< for your own Pompeii soundtrack.