It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Poppy’s Poonami


We have the ick. Rory went home early yesterday, complaining of a sore tummy. A sore tummy which eventually, and energetically, emptied itself. Repeatedly. All night long. Poor Rory. (Poor Rory’s poor parents…)

Today was Poppy’s turn.

No vomitting for Poppy, though. No, in Poppy the bug manifest itself a little lower down the digestive tract. Now, bear in mind that I have years and years of dealing with poopy diapers. If you start with my own children, I have over a quarter-century of dealing with shit. (And as I type that I wonder: should I be proud of my staying power, or just depressed?) In 25+ years, I’ve seen some doozies.

But today? A record. Today Poppy produced the vilest poo I have ever seen.

Not that I had any idea there was anything wrong. She was cheery, she was energetic, she was pink-cheeked (her face, I mean), she had a good appetite. There was absolutely nothing external to warn me of the tsunami within. Until it happened. Until Poppy, standing by a bench in the living room, filled her diaper.

Audibly. Audibly from across the room. And by the sound, I knew that sucker wasn’t normal. Normal poos don’t … gurgle. But I had no idea how very not normal it was until I lay the girl down on the floor in front of the diaper shelves, and opened her diaper.


It was not a matter of stench nor of quantity. The stench was vile, yes, but no worse than many I’ve suffered in my years in this job. The quantity was indeed vast, but again, no more bountiful than many I’ve scraped off a tiny butt in my time. Anyway, sheer quantity, in and of itself, does not qualify a poop as “vile”. (Though I always wonder, when faced with a truckload of poo under a tiny pink bottom, just how something so small could produce so very, very much. It’s a Wonder of Science, I tell you.)

(Warning for the squeamish: If you’re not already gagging, you may want to avert your eyes from the following paragraph.)

Nope. Neither stench nor abundance made it vile, though lord only knows it excelled at both. No, what put it into the category of “Diaper things Mary has never seen before” — a very small category — was the consistency. This stuff was the consistency of cream. The cream you’d put in your coffee, I mean, not the stuff you’d put on your skin. There was a splooshing, sloshing cup or two of very, very pale beige cream in that diaper. The colour you’d get if you put a tablespoon of coffee in a cup of cream.

Only it smelled much, much, much worse.

And the question was, how to get this liquid — there was not a speck of solid in it — from the child to the garbage without sloshing it all over me, all over her, all over my house? I peered in astonishment for a second, considering my options. Diaper wipes were not going to cut it. The diaper could clearly not absorb this amount with anything like the necessary speed.

I closed the diaper back on the child. “Poppy? Don’t move. Understand? DON’T. MOVE. I’ll be right back.”

She gazes at me solemnly, but doesn’t shift an inch. Good girl! I race into the back porch and grab one of the shabby, ragged towels we use to dry the dogs after their wet and muddy walks by the river. Grab the towel and rip it in half. Race back to the living room, where Poppy, bless her noisome self, is still lying right where I put her.

I lift her butt, put the towel on the floor under both girl and diaper. Open the diaper. Lift her butt by the ankles, give it a quick wipe. (Quick, because really? NOTHING is stuck there. NOTHING. Because it’s LIQUID, people, pure liquid. Her butt only glistens a bit with the wet.) I drop the wipe into the pool inside her diaper and pivot Poppy so that her bare bottom now lies on the hardwood floor. I’ll finish with her when I’ve finished with this ghastly diaper.

Then close the diaper. But not too tight! Heaven knows I don’t want to squeeze it and have it squirt liquid manure around my living room. Close it up, wrap the towel around it all.

“Poppy? Don’t move again. Understand, lovie? DON’T.MOVE.” Because the child who just produced liquid manure is now lying bare and totally diaper-free on my living room floor. Is there more where that came from? Is there?

I run to the kitchen. Drop towel, diaper, and poo-cream in the garbage, and immediately lift out the garbage bag, tie it securely, and toss it into the back porch.

I really, really, reeeeallllly want to wash my hands now, but butt-naked Poppy’s naked butt still needs my attention. We clean her up, tuck her securely into a fresh diaper, and then I scrub my hands. For the full 30 seconds. Rinse. And do it again. Because, bleah.

Poppy’s mother came to collect her shortly after. Because, bleah. (And also, because it’s in my contract: can’t come to daycare for 24 hours following vomitting or diarrhea.)

It was not the worst shit story ever. But it was close.

First Rory, then Poppy. Who’s next?

Tick, tick, tick…


April 24, 2012 - Posted by | eeewww, health and safety, Poppy, potty tales | , ,


  1. Oh, those are the WORST. But bless Poppy for lying still! That’s amazing! VQB used to have some lulus and I’d lie him down in the bathtub to change him, in case of containment failure.

    So you’ve seen a few of something I had never once seen in all these years. I’ve seen some pretty liquid ones, sure, but never before one that was pure liquid. The bathtub idea? BRILLIANT! While hoping I need never use it, I’m filing that one away, just in case.

    Comment by Hannah | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  2. Both of my kids have the ick, and have had it for over a week now. Sometimes, I wish I could send them home to their parents! It’s been a long week.

    I remember those days, and I don’t miss that part of them! Now imagine three of your own, plus five daycare plus that virus. Fun times…

    Comment by Grace Goldragon | April 24, 2012 | Reply

    • Ah, indeed. You’ve been through the fire. Tell me you received an iron clad immune system on the other side πŸ™‚

      Comment by Grace Goldragon | April 25, 2012 | Reply

      • I did! I catch maybe two of the many, many, many viruses that erupt out of these little cauldrons of disease each year. When I do get sick, I almost always get a much milder version than anyone else. I’m grateful!

        Comment by MaryP | April 26, 2012

  3. Ewww!!! Thank goodness it was contained!! I had one boy who somehow managed to shoot it up his back (his superpowers were limited to gravity defying poo, unfortunately) Hope you don’t wind up with it!

    “Gravity-defying poo”! Love it. Gravity-defying poo as a superpower? Even better. You win Funniest Comment on this post. Hee.

    Comment by Kate | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  4. I stood one in the shower once and used a hand held shower nozzle to wash him down. A cup of water would work in a pinch, but it was great to have that spray. I tried not to think about the drain.

    We used to have a hand-held nozzle, but no more. Still, that bathtub idea is so brilliant (and so obvious I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of it) I’ll be using it for future such eruptions. Which I hope I never see…

    Comment by My Kids Mom | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  5. My eldest had one of those shorts of episodes mid diaper change unfortunately. I was cleaning him up from one not so bad episode and he let loose -all over the changing pad and table and wall and crib and bumpers and wall and floor! Thank goodness we had wood floors then. Biggest mess ever.

    Oh, that’s revolting. Truly revolting. I have wood floors throughout. The only place there’s carpeting is the stairs. This is because I prefer wood to carpet, but when I hear a story like this, I’m also supremely grateful, for entirely different reasons. Ugh.

    Comment by Katherine | April 24, 2012 | Reply

  6. You will be receiving my bill from my botox doctor. That story produced grimaces and lines I didn’t know I had. URGH! Umm.. thanks for sharing. I have hosed a child down before. When you can see it in the collar of a 4 years olds tennis shirt you know shit is BAD. Yes I said 4 YEARS! urgh!! Love Elle xo

    You know, many people would just throw that shirt out… Not saying you have to, of course, but…

    Comment by Elle | April 25, 2012 | Reply

  7. I should have taken this post as a warning or omen. The little ones in my room have the ick this week. *Almost* ALL of them and of course no one has been kept home. They are playing, eating, being normal two yr olds….until the diapers get changed. Oh what a week is has been. And oh how many baby wipes have been used this week.

    Comment by Brooke | April 26, 2012 | Reply

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