Shit Storm

Posted: October 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Bad Mom Moves, Daddio, Friends and Strangers, Little Rhody, Misc Neuroses, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting | 1 Comment »

At age 81 my father has a newborn. He’s no Anthony Quinn, star of the old-school flick Zorba the Greek, who squired a child with his thirty-something wife when he was in his early eighties. (Mr. Quinn did spend the latter part of his life in a home across the bay from my dad’s. But I’m guessing the most they had in common was a hometown.) 

No, my father’s baby is a puppy. Specifically a wire-haired miniature Dachshund.

And Dad and his wife are the consummate new parents. They boast about the little guy sleeping through the night. They fret over him being overstimulated or needing sleep. They bring him to play group. And they talk about his poop. Poop poop poop poop poop.

Coming in from a walk:

“How’d he do?”

“He made a mess  [This being their New England euphamism for fecal matter.] Get him a cookie.”

“Oh! Good DOG! Good DOG, Bruno!” [Yes, the dog's name is Bruno Bruno.]

“But after he went he seemed to be trying to go again.” 


“I think he might be constipated.” 

“Oh poor baby.”

Did Mark and I talk like this when the girls were babes? I can’t imagine we did—at least not in public—since hearing them seems to dismay me a bit. Though someone discussing so much as a child’s skinned knee can make me light-headed and queasy.

I’m in Rhode Island now, after a fabulous weekend in New Yawk. It’s my, uh, 25-year high school reunion. (Gulp.) And really when I should be focusing all my time and energy on looking 18 again, the theme of our visit thus far has been poo.

So there’s a pizza joint here in Bristol that’s truly world-class. I mean, it well could be why Anthony Quinn moved here when he did. The place has been around forEVER. After I collect my bags from the airport luggage carousel it’s like I’m programmed to go directly there. 

So back when Jesus was a Boy Scout and I too was a youngster, I did something in that restaurant that turned into Bruno family lore. I guess we were gathered around a table, takin’ in a nice pizza pie, and the place—all linoleum-topped tables and sparkle plastic seats that’d sell for a ransom on eBay—was packed. Let’s say, for the sake of fleshing out the scene, that it was a Friday night.

What they all say happened is I banged open the door of the bathroom, it being right off the joint’s main dining area, and announced with my pants and panties around my ankles “I need some help here!”

Mind you, I was young. I’m assuming I was a toddler. 

Anyway, so much about that place hasn’t changed through the years that I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time I’m there some codger sitting at the counter says, “You’re the youngest Bruno girl, right? Well did you know that one night when you were just a little thing…”

But the pizza is good enough that whenever I’m home I muscle through the risk of having someone recount my youthful ass-wiping ineptitude.

In the spirit of all that is shitty, Paige is taking up my legacy. Yesterday we went to the local library. We love doing this since my kids are book geeks, but also because we can walk along the sea wall from Dad’s house and it’s a short walk through town to get there. The kids get books, I grab a decaf Americano at The Beehive Cafe, and my hard-on for small town life is fully actualized. 

So we’re at the bibliotheque and Paige poops. No big. She’s still in dipes. There’s someone in the bathroom, so we wait. I settle in to read Kate an Arthur book, when I see Paige across the room, and notice an unmistakable thick brown smear emerging from the waistline of her diaper up her back and under her shirt. 

Aack! I toss Arthur’s Teacher Troubles over my shoulder like a baseball player throwing a bat, and dive towards Miss Paigey La Poop. 

She’s about to turn and settle her turdy backside onto a large stuffed bean-baggy-type turtle that lives on the floor of the children’s area. And then I see that, lo, she’s already been there. In fact she has left several large clumpish deposits on the turtle’s formerly shit-free shell. 

I grab Paige by what I hope is a clean shirt-sleeve, and pick up the offending reptile, holding it at arm’s length and wishing I carried a pair of tongs in my diaper bag. 

This is when my apprehensions about the friendliness of New Englanders manifests itself into a neurotic full-bore panic. I mean, in the best of situations, in the friendliest of places, I’d feel hard-pressed to comfortably fork over a shit-strewn ANYTHING to anyone. 

But here in Bristol, my wee home town that’s gotten kinda well-heeled over the years, well, let’s just say it’s no friendly feel-good California. As much as I’ve defended New Englanders through the years, the fact is I did notice this summer that other parents don’t extend themselves to smile or chat with you, even when your kids are playing magic princess ballerina (and other tough guy games) at the playground. Yes, here in the land of “who is your father?” social calibrations, this seemed an especially daunting social interaction.

In fact, when I later told my dad this story, he joked, “They didn’t know who you were, did they?”

Anyway, what came next was really just me groveling apologies for my daughter’s scatological proliferation. And the older white-haired librarian shooing me and the offending turtle thing towards the young librarian with a wave of her bejeweled entitled hand. ”Oh, please just bring that to Molly,” she said wincing over her half-glasses.

I guess seniority in the Children’s Room means not having to deal with poop explosions.

Molly later compounded my angst by pointing out that there was not a removeable cover on Turdy Turtle that would allow it to be washed, then scoffed at my offer to replace the thing. In other words, I was shit out of luck in terms of being able to fix the problem. 

Later in the day I chatted on the phone with a classmate I’ll see at my reunion this weekend. She shared her own tale of public poop shame. One in which all eyes trailed her as she walked through a fancy restaurant holding her son. She had no idea why until on the sidewalk she noticed poop literally dripping through his pant legs.

The fact is that if you have a child you’ve likely had an unfortunate episode involving their excretions. 

What’s your story?

1 Comment »

One Comment on “Shit Storm”

  1. 1 Story Savage said at 6:30 am on October 15th, 2010:

    I’ll tell you saturday over antipasti at school… and wine, by jove.

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