Gross out

Today, on the Daddytypes blog, I read an interview with Elisha Cooper, the author of Crawling: A Father’s First Year. (We have that advanced reading copy in our bedroom, on a big pile of books, but the only one who has had time to read it is Charlie, who likes flipping the pages.) In the intro to the interview Daddytypes said: His stories of taking his newborn daughter to Chez Panisse cracked me up and kind of grossed me out [apparently, they don’t have changing tables].

This got me thinking, remembering the many, many times in Charlie’s first year when I had to get over being grossed out. Granted, I never went to no Chez Panisse. But in NYC, it’s hard enough to find a public restroom anywhere, much less one with a changing table.

When I was still on maternity leave and Charlie was not yet three months, I had to get my drivers license renewed. Sitting in the DMV, waiting for my name to be called, he began to cry. I responded as I usually did to those kind of tears, I fed him. Then he responded as he usually did when being fed, he pooped. I noticed a little bit on his pants. When I lifted him up, I realized that little bit was only the tip of the green, gooey, massive iceberg. Liquid yuck had oozed out of his diaper, all over his clothes, all over my lap and down the front of my pants, onto the floor. We dripped poop all the way to the restroom, which, no, did not have a changing table. The unsanitary options were: walk/bus/train back home with both of us covered in poop or change my baby on the dirty, cold floor of the DMV. On the floor he went, protected by only a flimsy disposable changing pad.

You’d think that after almost two years doing this mom thing, I wouldn’t run into those kinds of situations any more. You’d be wrong. Just this past Christmas, while in Georgia visiting my family, we took a day trip into Chambliss to visit our friend Patrick. We left the car parked at the MARTA station and trained into midtown Atlanta. We wanted to explore just how walkable the “new” Atlanta really is. (Answer: not much.) We had a wonderful day that included Thai food, a thorough stroll through Piedmont Park and playground, and dinner at the Flying Biscuit. We’d already managed one diaper change, on a bench in the park. But at the Flying Biscuit, there was poop. Thankfully, it was the more grown-up kind that sticks together and doesn’t ooze, but it was still stinky and still not something Charlie needed to sit in for the hour or so it would take us to get back to the car. The restaurant bathroom had no changing table, only a chair. So Charlie hung his legs off one end and his head off the other and we managed a diaper change. All was going well, he was even laughing about his precarious position, when his flailing arms knocked off my glasses and I lost sight of what I was doing. That big ball of poop I was trying to control landed on the floor with a splat. All I could do was finish up, clean up, and . . . hope no one had to change their baby on that floor.

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