Tonight I had the unique experience of cleaning Rylan's shatner off playground steps at the nearby park. It hit him so suddenly he didn't even have a chance to ask for the bathroom (or rather, the porta-potty. As Rylan calls it, the "blue potty"). I was mortified, embarrassed, unsure how to proceed... how do people normally clean up human feces at a park? I don't think much can prepare you for these moments in life, really.
In any case, we got through it with a borrowed package of wipes. As I poked said wipes through the holes of the stairs to clean out the poop, I pondered what lesson I should be learning from this occasion. I ultimately decided it must be the importance of patience and understanding with children even when our emotions overwhelm us with our own fears of inadequacy and shame. Surely, at some point, I have put my own parents (or older siblings) in a similarly embarrassing and difficult situation involving one or more bodily fluids.
I gave Rylan a fun-size bag of peanut M&M's that someone had dropped on the grass--he ate it in his stroller, content to know that mom wasn't mad at him, just busy helping clean up the accident. When I got back to him I discovered he was trying to clean the poop off his legs with some toilet paper that I had left at the stroller once grandma brought us some wipes to work with. He really hates having accidents, and he hates being dirty. So much so that earlier in the day he insisted he change his shirt because Emaline touched him with sticky hands.
I suspect the greatest gift I have for him is learning how to handle difficult situations with grace, to adapt to the unanticipated moments in life, and to know that sometimes, shit happens.
But in the future, I don't think I'll ever go on a walk without a package of wipes on my person.
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