It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The REALLY worst shit story ever

Worse even than this. Really.

It was the end of my work day. Three of the four children had left, the last one just stepping off my porch. I walk into the kitchen, where the last child, Poppy, is looking at a book. I say something to her, then turn to walk out to the living room …

and something’s spilled on the floor by the dining table. Huh. Odd that I didn’t notice it when I walked through from the front door. Is it tea? It looks sort of like tea, but I haven’t had any tea for a few hours, and my mug is in the sink, empty. I take another step to have a look, and then I see there are more spots a foot or so away, and more, and more … all over the dining room, all over the living room all in the front hall…

And as I step carefully between the spots and puddles, I note the stink, and comprehension dawns.

It’s shit.

Worse. Diarrhea. Liquid diarrhea.


It wasn’t there when I walked through the living room and dining room a mere two minutes ago. Two minutes ago I had a normal home. A reasonably tidy one, in fact, the tots and I having done the end-of-day pick-up only a few minutes prior.

Aren’t I HAPPY I’m so methodical about this? Making them tidy with me, instead of waiting till they’re gone? Otherwise the puzzle and trucks and cloth dolls that were strewn all over the floor only minutes ago would now be speckled with poo. Oh, no. “Poo” is much too ladylike and delicate a word.

This is shit, folks. Cups of it. Tossed with reckless abandon all over my home.

It’s got to be a dog. Indie walks up, looking very worried. Emma told me later that it was my horrified, “Was that YOU?!?!?” that brought her up from her bedroom in the basement. Indie looks worried, but that’s kind of a default look for Indie. Indie also looks guilty, but Indie is one of those guilt-ridden dogs. We scold Daisy for something, Daisy says “But I’m so CUTE, mom!!!” (or, in a surly mood, it’s more “What’s YOUR fking problem??”). Indie hears us scold Daisy, and says, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Please don’t hate me!”

A quick glace at her butt end confirms it. It wasn’t Indie.

Of course it wasn’t Indie. If Indie had diarrhea, she would try frantically to get out and then, if no one heard her pitiful cries, she’d let fly in the front hall on the tiles, as close to the outside as she could get, desperate with the aforementioned guilt. That is what Indie would do.

What Indie would NOT do is run through the house in a blind panic, trying to escape her asshole. Because that, I gradually realize, is what has happened. Daisy has had explosive diarrhea, and frightened by the violence, has raced around my home, propelled by her butt end like a deflating balloon, spewing not air, but shit.


Poor scared puppy.

Stupid rotten dog.

So it’s Daisy. But where is she? Oh, lord. There are footprints going upstairs. Wet ones. Wet-with-shit footprints. Upstairs where [cue foreboding music] the bedrooms are.

She didn’t go into my dressing room — THANK GOD!!! (My recently renovated, I’m-so-proud-of-it dressing room.) The door of my son’s room is shut, has been all day. No mess in the bathroom. Of course. Even a panicked dog wouldn’t go into the “Room Where Baths Happen” voluntarily.

I follow the footprints. Daisy comes dancing toward me, feathery tail wagging, so happy to see me!!! Well, feathery except for the bit closest to her butt, which is hanging in wet, poop-bedraggled strands from her tail. Gah! Don’t wag that thing! She comes toward me from my bedroom. Where she had been on the bed. Dispensing largesse. Liberally.

Oh, my duvet cover! You poor thing!

(Also? Thank GOD we hadn’t yet put the down-filled duvet into it. Really. I’ll take what small mercies I can find at this point.)

I’m not grossed out, exactly. I think ‘shocked wonderment’ describes it best. Two floors, three rooms, two hallways, a set of stairs, all of them speckled with shit. In less than two minutes. I mean that literally. In less than 120 seconds, this idiot dog has anointed my entire home with dots, dollops, speckles and puddles of watery pale brown excrement.

IN LESS THAN TWO MINUTES!!! Far less. Probably more like 25 or 30 seconds. I am not kidding. It’s … astounding.

Daisy bounds toward me. Now that her explosive diarrhea is over, now that her bum has stopped exploding, she feels SO! MUCH! BETTER!

“Phew! Thank goodness that’s over, huh, mummy??” is clearly her thought. “I feel so much better now!!” And I scratch her fuzzy head. Because, you know, she’s cute. And she was scared. And I love her.

But OH MY GOD!!!!

The PooP BomB was tied up out front, her sodden hind end on display for the neighbours to see. I didn’t care. I had more urgent concerns than my neighbour’s squeamishness.

First thing I did was cancel my 6:30 interview. Yes. To make things absolutely perfect, I had an interview scheduled for an hour hence. We’d get it clean by then — maybe? — but would we clear out the stench? HA! And when would I make dinner?

Besides, after facing down this horror, I was pretty sure I’d just want to recline delicately on my chaise lounge with a chilled glass of white wine. Or, better? My fainting couch. First time in my life I’ve ever considered owning a fainting couch, but if there was a time for one, this would be it, no?

And then I get to work. Emma pitches right in. I don’t even have to ask. (Remember Emma? My youngest, now 20? She hasn’t shown up so much lately because she’s in university now, 3rd year nursing. A busy girl!)

“Thank you for helping out!” I say to her, as we each don surgical gloves and grab a roll of paper towels. (Yes, I have a large box of surgical gloves in my home. A necessary piece of equipment when one has longish fingernails and changes poopy diapers for a living.)

“No problem. I’ve seen much worse than this!!” she says. “From humans. Patients with C-diff? Their stuff is just this consistency, and stinks 10 times worse.”

Wow. My kid pitches in — voluntarily!! — to clean up an entire shit-spattered house. Voluntarily, and cheerfully!! Seriously. We didn’t quite manage to whistle while we worked, but we did laugh. Quite a lot. Horrified laughter, dark laughter, but laughter. I tell you: Nursing school is really paying off!

It took us half an hour. Way better than I’d feared.

I started the washing machine and threw in the first load of my bedding. If it can’t handle hot water, bleach, and the heavy-duty cycle, TOO BAD!

We wiped up all the shit with paper towels — some had spattered onto the baseboards, people, the baseboards! We swept the entire house. And then, while I bathed the rotten shitty so-happy-to-see-me dog — OUTSIDE, thankssomuch, that animal is not coming anywhere near my bathroom! — Emma mopped every single floor with a bleach solution.

On the bright side? My floors are probably cleaner, and certainly less germy, than they’ve been in a long time. Possibly ever. Though all the windows have been thrown open, the house still smells of bleach. Which is far, far better than what it smelled of an hour ago!

My interview will be tomorrow at 6:15. Daisy, clean and dry, is in her crate, where she will stay, apart from walks, until she produces a normal poo. She had water for dinner. Tomorrow she will eat white rice. She will not like it. Not the crate, not the rice. TOO BAD.

We humans will have pizza for dinner. I’m not up to food prep right now.

Phew. We did it!

Hand me that wine, will you?

October 17, 2013 Posted by | eeewww, my kids | , , | 10 Comments

Three, two, one… PUPPY EXPLOSION!!!

Remember how pathetic Daisy looked after her Big Procedure? How limp and floppy, how droopy and sad? Well, it’s been a week now.

A week of wearing The Cone.

A week of short, on-leash walks.


She is no longer limp, floppy, droopy or sad. She has not been that way since, oh, 50 hours after surgery.

It’s only been a week since she had a hysterectomy. And if she were HUMAN, she might just be considering creeping carefully from room to room in the house. But she’s not human! She’s a PUPPY! And so, as far as she’s concerned, she is FINE, just FINE — and has been, since about 50 hours after surgery.

She has NO IDEA why we make her wear that damned cone, of course, but even worse… why won’t we let her run? and play? and frolic with the other dogs? Why, why, why?

I am not totally cruel. Each day’s walk gets a little longer, of course. But she is getting maybe a third of her customary level of RUNNING and BOUNDING and BOUNCING and LEAPING and PLAY-PLAY-PLAY-PLAYING!!!!

She is, to put it mildly, a little antsy.

She’s begun having these moments of total frenzy in the house. Not aggression, just frenzy.


And she bounds, in great sproings, from one end of the house to the other. This takes her about four and a half sproings. The half, because she hits the wall, either in the kitchen (north end) or the front hall (south).


And she springs onto and off the couch, madly. Books, magazines, socks, iPods go flying. If someone is sitting on the couch, no problem, she will just SPRING ON YOU!!! And a cone-armed puppy comes flying into your face and then off again, in a flurry of fur, tail, and claws.

If you’ve ever interacted with a puppy with a cone, you’ll know why “armed” is the word of choice. She has only the vaguest of notions of the edges of that thing, so when she leaps at you (head-first, of course), you get the edge of the cone, a thin, semi-rigid plastic edge, driven into your face, your arm, your leg. Ouch.


And poor, quiet, gentle Indie finds herself the victim of a flurry of cone-armed chewing. Her neck, her legs, her entire body bears the assault of a mad tail-wagging, desperate for OUTLET puppy. Indie usually rolls onto her side while Daisy pounces all over her head, and moans. Mournfully. “Won’t someone please rescue me from this idiot? Pleeeeeeease?”


And she races, races, races from one end of the house to the next, catching walls, doorframes, books, furniture, people with that cone. Things fall down. Things get knocked over. Things rattle on the walls. People duck and run. (And she only weighs 8 kg. One can only imagine the destruction caused by a large exercise-starved puppy. Eesh.)

The stitches come out Saturday. I’ll be there Bright and Early.

Three more days…

September 7, 2011 Posted by | the dog | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Arrival at Mary’s!

Isn’t he sweeeeeeet?

He’s not mine. He’s Emma’s. Emma has been lobbying for a dog of her own, a small dog, for quite some while. She wore me down won me over, and I conceded. Small dog.

He’s small, all right… At 1.9 kg (4 pounds) he’s a smidge overweight, though at only ten weeks, he has a fair bit of growing ahead of him. He’s a miniature poodle/Shih Tzu cross, which makes him, officially, a “Shih Poo”. Emma, however, is seventeen. Is she calling him a “Shih Poo”? She is not.

She is calling him a “Shit Poo”. Of course.

He’s a laptop dog.

His name… is Romeo.

And what does Indie, our resident dog, think of him?

Well, after careful inspection… “It smells like a dog”…

“Though I dunno… do dogs come that small?…”

They discovered that they have at least a few doggie interests in common…

Hey, you guys! Don’t be chewing the shoes!!

December 29, 2010 Posted by | my kids, the dog | , , , , | 15 Comments


1193457_cloudGronk sits in his high chair. He’s close enough to the table where the rest of the children sit so that he can feel part of things, and far enough away that he can’t steal their toys, eat the playdough remnants, or pull the twinkly barrettes out of Emily’s hair, along with a goodly portion of the chunk of hair it was holding.

(“Oh, Emily! It’s okay to cry, sweetie. That must’ve hurt!”)

Give the size of my dining room, however, there is no way to keep him removed from the dog’s crate. The dog’s crate, which houses the dog whenever she decides to wander in there for a snooze, a gnaw of a bone, or just a little peace.

So. Toddlers at table with the playdough, Gronk in high chair, dog in crate.

Gronk has his bottle and a few toys on his tray. His bottle holds his attention for the first few minutes, but he’s done long before the toddlers are finished with playdough. I’m not about to set him loose: the benches are pulled out from the table. For Gronk, that’s a clear invitation to indulge in some table-dancing. (Followed, inevitably, by some table-falling-off-of, some lumping-on-the-heading, and some roaring-with-outrage. But he never thinks of any of that…)

Not to worry. Gronk being the eager little Cave Man he is, after a mere half-dozen shrieks of boredom finds a new game: dropping things off his tray. A very old game, really, as any parent of a 6 – 16 26-month-old child still in a high chair can testify. (It may be old, but it never gets old!!!)

Only this game has a New and Exciting Twist! Gronk is not dropping things to the floor, oh, no! Gronk is dropping things onto the dog, relaxing in her crate beside him. Thankfully, anything Gronk gets while in a high chair is vetted for its projectile capabilities: that is, all items are soft and lightweight. The dog is not being injured. Just the reverse: Small chewable object raining down from above? Manna from heaven! WONDERFUL!

And Gronk? Watching the dog grab the toys and rip them to bits? WONDERFUL! This is a symbiotic relationship. These two are kindred spirits. It’s not so wonderful for those little soft toys, though, quickly becoming a soggy mass of multi-coloured fluff in the bottom of her crate.

I, however, am nothing if not creative. This game works in so many ways: keeps the caveman away from the playdough, allows the toddlers to continue an absorbing game, and entertains the gronkster. Only the fate of the poor stuffed toys prevents it from being perfect. Oh, that and the fact that sooner or later I will have to crawl in the dog’s crate and haul all that stuff out.

But still. Except for that one flaw, this game is not a problem, it’s a solution! How to make it a total solution?

It’s all in the choice of toy, folks. Instead of smallish toys that can fit between the wires of her crate… larger toys that won’t. True, he doesn’t get to watch the dog tear them up, but! Once dropped, he can reach over the side of his chair and PICK THEM UP AGAIN!!! So he can throw them over and over and over and ooooover again! Baby nirvana! (And I don’t have to pick them up for him! Mary nirvana!)

And sometimes???? Sometimes the dog reaches up and tries to pull them down through the bars into her crate!!!!!! This is ABSOLUTE WONDERFULNESS!!!

Twenty-four minutes, people. This game kept the boy busy for TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES.

Nirvana, indeed.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Mischief | , , , , , | 4 Comments

There’s sad and there’s sad

newt1I am baking brownies for dessert. Which, if you knew our family at all, would tell you we’re having guests over to dinner. Tell my children we’re having company, and the response is not “Who’s coming?” but “Yay! Dessert!”

Timmy and Anna are playing quietly at my feet. They have woken up a little earlier than the other children, and are thus allowed to play in the kitchen (the furthest end of the house from the stairs), and QUIETLY. If they don’t play quietly, they must go lie down again until the others wake.

Thus, they are playing quietly. Which is little short of a miracle, since they are my two loudest children. Though, come to that, Tyler is emerging as a considerable auditory force. Once he gets some actual vocabulary, the windows, they will be a-rattling. (And my eardrums, oh, mercy me, my poor eardrums.)

They are playing quietly, and I am making brownies. And, because these are brownies for guests, and, because our oven is stuck at 400 degrees (as it has been for the last four years), I am diligently cutting off the slightly-too-dry edges. (The hostess double-standard: For my own family? They can crunch their way into the centre. For company? Perfectly soft’n’chewy brownies, from edge to edge.)

Apart from crunchiness, there is nothing wrong with the centimetre-wide strips of brownie I’m left with…

Lucky Timmy and Anna.

“Here guys. You want some brownies?”
(That, boys and girls, is what is called a “rhetorical” question.)
“Now, be careful. Chocolate is bad for dogs. You mustn’t give any to Indie. It could make her sick.”
“And maybe even DIIIIEEE!” Which could have been said with far less exuberant relish, perhaps, but the content is accurate enough.
“Yes, Anna. Enough chocolate could even make her die. That would be very sad.”
“That would be very sad.” Timmy is showing a more appropriate level of concern, perhaps because he’s had some personal experience in pet-bereavement. Or, as it turns out, second-hand experience. “My mummy’s newt died, and she was very sad.”
“Your mummy had a newt?”
“Yes, and it died. And she was very sad.”
“Not as sad as for a dog, I think.”
He doesn’t lose a beat.
“No. Prolly not.”

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Anna, food, health and safety, the dog, Timmy | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Of dogs and cats and justice served

There is a cat in our neighbourhood.

Oh, I know. You assume that in a residential city neighbourhood, there are likely dozens of cats. There are. Dozens of them.

And then there is Maurice.

Maurice, a sleek black short-haired cat. Maurice, who will sit in the very centre of the street and stare down the car as it approaches. I’ve seen a cabbie blasting his horn — to no effect, I might add — at the contemptuous feline before him. Maurice does not have a death wish, though with this behaviour in his repertoire, it is indeed surprising that he’s survived to see his seventh years. He does not have a death wish, because, in Maurice’s mind, he OWNS that cab. And its driver. And the horse he rode in on.

Maurce will wander into your home when opportunity presents. Maurice will then stare down any resident animals — there’s a cat or a dog wrathfully indignant with this interloper? Maurice will take them on.

Maurice also taunts dogs. Comes to a foot past the end of the leash, and just sits there, blinking at the lunging, frothing, barking apparition inches from his whiskers.

Maurice is a bit of a legend on the street.

Mary heads out with the tots, and the dog on the leash. (Note the careful placement of the comma: only the dog is leashed. See? Punctuation matters.) It is a brooding, oppressive day, immanent rain in the damp on the rising breeze, the darkening clouds overhead. We are not going far, just to the green space by the river at the base of the street. The tots can race around for a bit, the dog can find a stick and probably have a pee or four. If it does start to rain, we’re only three minutes from home. It’s all good.

What’s not good is that the tarp has blown off the stroller in last night’s blustery rain, and the stroller’s padded seats are soaked. You’d think a child in a raincoat would be protected, but no matter how carefully I line a soaked seat with plastic, the child always ends up with a soaked seat. Bah. Well, it’s a very short walk. I’ll bet Baby Noah is up to the walk. Anna and Timmy are good enough walkers, and responsive to my instructions. And it’s a very, VERY quiet street.

We’ll just walk.

Off we go. Noah on one hand, Indie on the other, Timmy and Anna walking hand-in-hand (which is so CUUUUTE) ahead of me. They’re just following instructions, but toddlers holding hands will always be one of the most endearing sights I get to see in my daily work. Always makes me go all smooshy.

We are doing just fine. Noah toodles to my left, Indie prances on a short leash to my right, Timmy and Anna trot ahead. And then Maurice appears. Sees the dog. Positions himself so the dog sees him.

And sit there, blinking.

Now I have Noah on my left, Timmy and Anna a few steps ahead, and a leaping, plunging dog on my right.

“Indie, SIT! Maurice, you stupid cat! GO AWAY!!”

He blinks. A whisker twitches, perhaps.

Oooh! Mary said “Stupid!” The children are delighted, and take this as permission to dabble in the forbidden.

“Stoopid cat!”
“Moe-riss, you stoopid cat!”
“Morris is a stoopud!”

Maurice, the stupid cat, is unmoved. And unmoving.

I’m really rather pleased by what I feel I must do. I mean, what choice do I have?

I let the leash out.

You know, it was really, really gratifying to see that smug feline leap directly up and do a 180 mid-air. Really, really gratifying.

(For all you cat-lovers out there, be assured that I did a mental calculation and reckoned that Maurice could easily make it under a parked car or up a tree before Indie came to the end of her 8-foot leash. And he did.)

With that out of our systems, and the cat out of sight, we proceed down the street.

Within two houses, that damned cat is stalking us. Happily, Indie has not seen him. I don’t know what the cat’s range is, but I’ve never seen him at the river, so I figure we’ll lose him within a few more houses. We just have to get to the bottom of the street… One house, two houses… With Noah on foot instead of in the stroller, our three-minute walk is now six, but we’re within four or so houses of being into a Maurice-free zone.

“Oh, look! The cat is back there!”

You know, I’ll swear the dog understood Timmy, the big blabbermouth. She spins around and spots that wretched animal. Who sits down and stares at the straining dog a front-yard-length ahead. (He’s out of range of the leash; he’s learned at least that much. Unfortunately.)

We continue. Noah on my left, Timmy and Anna walking ahead, and Indie on such a short leash that her efforts to are slowly throttling herself, resulting in copious “gak”-ing. Me, I’d like to gak the cat.

At each driveway, Maurice slouches in behind car or hedge or retaining wall. With the cat out of sight, Indie calms, but at the end of car or hedge or wall, the cat reappears and Indie’s efforts resume. We are walking in a straight line, the children haven’t really noticed, but I am certainly weary of the struggle.

We have reached the corner and are about to head into the green space by the river. I have now decided that, although he’s never been that far before, the sheer joy of dog-tormenting will ensure that today be the day that Maurice cross the road and join us by the river. If he does that, we’re all going home. After I perform a double-pet homicide.

And then… a wonderful, wonderful sound reaches my ears. Truly wonderful.

So intent was he on the dog in his sights that Maurice had not noticed the other cat. The other, angry cat. The cat who wanted Maurice out of his territory, NOW. The cat who… oh, happy day!… launched himself atop Maurice. Direct hit!

Their squawls and yowls are music to my ears. They roll out of sight down the drive, a furry blur of feline fury. The tots, the dog and I cross the street in decorous peace.

Justice can be so very sweet.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | outings, power struggle | , , , , , | 3 Comments