The Day My Child Ate Their Own S**tby Sarah Hurst
I am going to take you back to a warm summer’s day in 2018…
(I wish I could tell you that this was an exaggeration for effect, but it really isn’t)
We’d flown to Holland for the start of the summer holidays, intent on a bit of family respite as we stayed with my in-laws in their spacious home, with plenty of outdoor space for Arthur to run around. Charlotte was 11 months old at this point, and although she was taking her first few steps already, she was by no means steady enough to be left to wander around unsupervised (and by that, I mean with me hunched over behind her like an idiot, arms out, ready to catch every single one of her life-threatening, imaginary falls).
We were almost 6 months into our diary free diet, due to Charlotte having CMPA (cows milk protein allergy), but a little blip a week before our travels meant that she was suffering from a sore tummy still and an ear infection due to the reaction congestion build-up. Armed with antibiotics, (and a few hundred extra breastfeeds) we pushed on through and tried not to let it get in the way of our enjoyment of our annual holiday.
Day 1 went without hitch. Day 2 almost did…
I’d set up a large travel cot playpen in the garden outside for Charlotte to play in – along with her toys: material finger puppets, a wooden walker with a busy board, books, handbags, purses, plastic cups and a mesh bag to keep them all in.
I left her playing happily whilst I popped back inside to run her a bath before bedtime. For those of you who may have just taken a sudden gasp at the idea of my child being left outside alone, Grandma was also sat outside on the garden furniture.
By the time I’d returned, not even 10 minutes later, Charlotte had done a huge, explosive, leaky poo – which had escaped her nappy and was now all down her legs and all over her playpen. The mesh sides of the playpen had poo squished into them. The wooden cogs on the busy board, which turned into each other, had squished poo in-between them. The finger puppet animals had apparently (I can only assume) come to life and done some sort of festival dance in the poo and had now passed out from the smell. In what felt like slow motion, Charlotte began to wipe the poo around the base of the cot like it was some sort of messy play activity (my bad!) and yes…she then ate some.
I felt like I was in one of those nightmares where you try to run, but your legs don’t work…or you try to shout but you have no voice. I wanted to shout for some help, except I WAS the help.
Operation clean up began with very careful removal of the poo-covered child, from the playpen and into the house. A wash-down in the shower was required before a large dunking in the bath, where Dad was left to take charge of restoring said child to her sparkling clean, former self whilst I traipsed back outside to deal with the aftermath… (I get all the best jobs!)
I removed the poopiest of the poop-drunk finger puppets and put them in a nappy bag. I started to clean the sides and the base of the playpen, along with the busy board, before realising that I probably should take a photo of this little incident, ready for her 18th birthday wall. It’s a little grainy, and I made it black and white so that it isn’t too graphic. You’re welcome…
You’d think that I’d probably had my fair share of shitty jobs by this point, but no. Things got worse…
Every year, on a certain day around this time, the local flying ant community come out of wherever it is they have been growing, and all humans run inside and shut their doors and windows until they have buggered off. All humans except me that is. Yes, they had chosen this precise moment to gather in a large ‘swarm’ outside – all over the back door. I couldn’t get back in if I tried, and of course, a huge gang of flies had already started to feast on the remnants in the playpen. It was truly horrendous.
I dragged the playpen over to the grass and decided to cut my losses and give it a bit of a jet wash with the hosepipe in order to get rid of the poo from the tiny mesh holes and all over the base. Turns out though guys, that I skipped class on the day we honed our skills in forces and trajectories because I managed to spray all of the flying bits of poo towards myself. This really was the shittiest of days.
Half a bottle of Dettol later, a few G&T’s and copious amounts of wine, I managed to post a photo of the large ant swarm somewhere on facebook, whilst crying about my day… but not before I checked on Charlotte for the 1000th time, because you know, she did eat her own poo*
*(And she was fine, but don’t ever use my experience as a reason not to seek help if you are worried about your own child.)