*The title of this post is shamelessly lifted from Bri.
** Note To Readers: This post is all about poo. If you're not the sort of person who deals with someone else's poo several times on a daily basis, you might not care for this one.
Last night, LE had his Worst Public Poo Ever Since Starting Solid Foods. By this, I mean he's never actually exploded poo outside of the house that wasn't harmless and relatively scent-free breastmilk poo. No, indeed. It was a proper poo, with clear evidence of both unchewed raisins and corn. And man, was it stinky.
It wasn't the first poop-splosion of the day, though LE wasn't guilty of the first. We'd gone to visit BE's army friend, his wife, and their three month-old daughter who was born a year to the day after LE. I was holding the baby and chasing LE around their house keeping him out of bottles of bleach and dangling cords when the girl erupted. Her mother and I shared a silent 'Poop or fart?' moment. But because the girl had been carefully dressed in her most adorable outfit complete with pink tights, it had to be a poo, the kind that seems to get worse and worse as the diaper change unfolds, as you discover that not only did it leak a bit from the legs, it also made it up the girl's front and back. And naturally the girl spit up all over just as her dress came off. She had a good laugh about all of this. Her mother and I kind of did too, wondering if anything else was going to come out one or the other end of her.
It's odd the things that become not only mundane but funny when you're around babies a lot.
So after the visit, we went to a restaurant for dinner. LE happily sat in the restaurant's high chair and ate and ate and ate. It's unbelievable what that kid can pack in. It was early so the restaurant was quiet, and waiters started to hover around LE making him giggle and playing with his hair. There was one waiter LE took a particular shine too, and as we were having our coffee, he came to get LE and carry him around for awhile. He let him down on the floor and LE started scampering around squealing, much to the delight of the few diners there, one middle-aged couple and a man with two prostitutes. Prostitutes are another thing one tends to get used to here. Anyway.
I should have known nothing good was in our future because LE was sporting one of his most adorable outfits, a pair of blue plaid overalls. He'd also had a bit of bran for breakfast, and he'd only pooped one other time that day, about eight hours earlier. I went off to the toilets and when I came back, I noticed a telltale wet patch on the side of his leg. 'I think he's stinky,' I said to BE. BE picked him up and sniffed LE's bottom, a habit of mine BE finds quite amusing and has started doing himself, especially when other people are watching. He made a face. 'Ho ha,' he said. In Turkish and in this context, this means, 'He is indeed stinky, and how!' When he set LE down, a little piece of poop dropped out of LE's pants onto the floor (that was the corn), and I discreetly removed it with a napkin and collected his diaper changing stuff. BE asked the waiters where I could change the baby.
Ironically, before the waiter had taken LE away, BE and I had been discussing the lack of changing tables in public places in Turkey, and the business possibilities therein. I had thought of this last year when we took a road trip down south to Akçay, going the long route via Trakya because it was prettier and more interesting. There wasn't a single changing table the entire way, and changing a baby in the back seat of the car is murder on my back. Plus, a lot of the places we stopped at were the rest stops for a lot of the big coaches, and I wondered what mommies travelling by bus do when they don't have a car to change diapers in. Lay the baby on the asphalt? The bathrooms aren't really an option, since they rarely have countertops, let alone ones with enough space for even a newborn, and the floors are usually soaking wet. A few times I changed LE on unused tables in restaurants, but honestly, I'm not really sure I'd want to eat off a table that was being used to change diapers on all day. I'm pretty darned tidy about diaper changing, but judging from the state of public changing tables in the US, lots of other people aren't so fastidious.
I'd already talked myself out of trying to make money by introducing changing tables into the Turkish restaurant owner common consciousness because I figured we'd sell a few before the big restaurant suppliers caught on and started selling them way cheaper. BE wasn't convinced. In any case, this is a really stupid thing here, a country where the government is encouraging people to have at least three kids but where people have been doing this quite well on their own without suggestions from their leaders. People seem to take pride in how much they love kids in Turkey, and what a wonderful place it is to have them. Restaurants like the one we were at encourage people to bring little ones by supplying play areas, either indoor or outdoor, and there are always the sweet waiters who'll carry your kid off for awhile so you can have your coffee in relative peace. But, no changing tables.
The waiter told us I could change LE on the floor in the playroom, which was fine with me. I'm always equipped with a fold-up changing mat. But, oh my goodness, this poo was a mess. Halfway down his legs. Partway up his back. I went through about ten baby wipes before I even got the diaper off. I had to phone BE for backup to ask him to bring the extra change of clothes for LE. Bran, though full of healthy nutrients and fiber, is a bitch to clean off skin because it comes out in virtually the same form it goes in, and each flake is sticky, or else it falls off and sticks someplace else. The playroom had a large window, and I could see waiters walking by and peeking in with disgust on their faces at poor LE all naked and squirming and crying and covered in his own feces under the fluorescent light. I was thinking it was a good thing he charmed everyone so thoroughly before this happened.
After the change was done and LE was looking silly in his spare clothes (I only pack ugly clothes I don't like as spares, since he rarely uses them), he wanted to play on the slide a bit so we did. He immediately forgot about the trauma of the twenty-minute change because there was a slide. Outside the playroom, however, the manger was madly spraying air freshener and giving us dirty looks.
Honestly, a changing table wouldn't have done much in this situation except confine the poop and its odors to the bathroom. But still, even though none of it was my fault and I certainly did my best given the situation, I was so terribly embarrassed. It was almost as if I was the one who had done the poo. And this is probably another taste of what's to come, feeling personally responsible for or embarrassed about the actions of my child (the other time was when a new girl came to our playgroup and LE walked up to her and poked her in the eye), whether he can help it or not. I expect most mothers feel this at one time or another, and it's really hard to know which things are our fault and which are not.
Who knows, LE could end up in a belltower one day with a semi-automatic rifle, and there I'll be on CNN, hiding my face in shame going, "But he was such a nice baby, how could this have happened?"