You read correctly, poop on the playground. My elementary-teacher self wants to use the phrase in a funny, catch-the-students-attention lesson on alliteration. You know like…pee-pee in the park, puke on the porch, and poop on the playground.
All of these gross things bring the house down in a 4th grade classroom. Even the most reluctant student can’t get enough of this kind of lesson.
Sadly, such phrases also grab the attention of moms (and dads). After all, these things really happen!
Peeing Is Not Pooping
Recently my youngest man was potty trained. His dad and I were so proud of him. He did it without much fuss and, knock on wood, very few accidents.
As we were playing one early Saturday morning at a park, he said that he needed to pee. “Okay no biggie, “I thought to myself.
The closest restroom...a blue portable one. You know the ones; they get dumped once a month whether they need it or not.
It was just sitting there, baking in the summer sun and only about a football field away. There sat that little shed…every mother’s nightmare and every runner’s answered prayer.
So, I made a decision most mothers, at least the people I hang with, would have made. I told him that he could pee at the edge of the playground, in the grassy area outside the fence. That suited him, and we all went back to our business of playing and peeing.
When I looked back to check on him, I noticed a deep level of concentration in his eyes. (Y’all know the look I am talking about.)
I immediately ran to him and asked, “Are you pooping?!”
And he shook his head yes!
I went into hysteria. I have a kid with his pants down to his ankles and poop on the way out. How am I going to get him to the little blue shed with one or both of us not covered in poo?!
I screamed, “Peeing is not pooping. Why didn’t you tell me that you needed to do that?” Of course, this one-sided conversation was null and void at this point.
And The Award Goes To...
As I told him to wait to finish his business and we began shuffling (honestly, me dragging him) to the blue shed with his pants to his ankles, it happened. What I had hoped would not.
He looked up with his big blue eyes and muttered, “Uh oh.” At the same time, my oldest son yells, “I think something just dropped!”
Great. In that very second, we had just become The Grossest Family in America. (I love awards as much as the next person, but this is one I am not proud to claim.)
I am now praying that NO ONE drives up. “Everyone out there, please, please stay away,” I was yelling in my head.
Looking On The Bright Side Of A Big Pile of Negatives
One positive…I was able to yank up his pants and make a faster dash to the little blue shed.
The obvious negative…something had fallen.
At this point, my husband and oldest son turn into cats…locating the “fallen object," digging a small hole using a large piece of mulch, and covering it.
Luckily I have no more info on that part of the story. I was busy ushering the culprit to the poop shed that was a mere mile away. (That was the distance in my grossed-out brain.)
Another positive…no other “objects fell” before arriving to the plastic human-baking shed…aka the portable potty. Little man successfully finished his business and was only slightly dehydrated afterwards.
A third positive...I got a blog post out of the humiliating, gross experience. (Not sure what that says about my sanity or my writing!)
Why Write About Poop?
So, why did I write about poop?
First, I want to build camaraderie. I know, or at least believe really, really hard, that I am not the only parent to experience a tale such as this one.
So to other parents I say, you are not alone in your fight against poop, pee, and puke. They are real and really affect us.
Second, I want to encourage you on your tough days.
The next time you have a really rough one, say to yourself, “Aww. Just a little poop on the playground.”
The next time your son loses his shoes for the 13th time while you're trying to the leave the house (in your standard ten-minutes-late fashion), simply whisper to yourself, “Just a little POTP.”
Or when you forget at home a lunch you had carefully packed for yourself from the best meal you had cooked in weeks (and are forced to eat your “emergency” granola bar wedged in the back of your desk drawer for lunch), declare it a POP kinda day and carry on.
Full disclosure, I find the “T” a little cumbersome in my new acronym so I just drop it. POP—Poop On Playground. It conveys the same frustrated sentiment.
Laughter is the best medicine.
We all have those moments when we question our ability to be a parent. I have had many! Too many to count.
But the recent POP incident made me wonder how a middle-class, well-educated woman ends up holding the hand of a little tyke, shuffling like an 100-year old man with his booty on full display and a guilty look on his face. How did I get here?!
After some thinking (and lots of laughing) on the matter, I have decided that POP happens…to all of us in some fashion.
The silver lining in these ugly situations is how we recover from the POP.
On this day for my family, we yanked up the pants, covered the “fallen object,” and finished our business in a boiling plastic shed. And then after applying copious amounts of hand sanitizer to much of our bodies…we played on.
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