On Thursdays, I post from the vault. This is from August 2008

There are so many days where, as a mom, I feel completely unequipped. I
am often looking around and feeling like I am the ONLY mom fumbling
this much and in so much chaos. I am the mom who forgets water bottles
at playgroup, who forgets sunscreen at the beach, who forgets to pack
lunch for preschool, who forgets the helmet at the skate park. I try
very hard to overcompensate for this by being “intentionally organized”.
I know my weaknesses, and try very hard to plan for things well ahead
of time. I set things out, I make lists. I prepack. I mapquest. But then
there are some days where even with good planning, I feel like a
doofus. Today was one of those days.

My kids and I like to walk a certain bike path that leads to the beach. There is another post where
I outline the 47 things I need to prepack in order to make this a
successful endeaveor. Lately, Jafta has been wanting to ride his bike on
the path instead of sitting in the stroller. Sounded like a win-win to
me. So we got him a new bike, and it’s great. He’s happy. I’m happy.
Let’s do this every day!!

We set out for this routine today, and I
came prepared. The kids were suncreened, I remembered the sand toys and
helmet, and I even brought some snacks. But our walk takes a very bad
turn about a mile in, when Jafta rides his bike through a HUGE pile of
dog poop. There is now dog poop covering his bike. It is caked between
every ridge on each wheel, and it’s kicking up as he rides, and covering
his seat and legs. I am mortified. I try to get it off by running the
wheels through the sand, or by hitting it with a rock, but this poop is
staying put. We have no choice but to keep going. Maybe it will come off
as he rides, I think.

Well,
yes, it does come off as he rides. In very small pieces that kick up
from the tires and hit both India and I in the face. My walk is now a
frogger game where I am trying to avoid being hit by a hailstorm of dog
feces. But we carry on, because damnit, we’re going to the beach. (And I
know the demon-possessed 3-year-old tantrum that would ensue if we
turned back now). We arrive at our destination, where I realize I’ve
forgotten the bike lock for Jafta’s bike. So I hide his 5-day-old bike
in the bushes and hope that the poop will deter any would-be bike
thieves.

We head down to the beach and there are tons of little
tide pools. Now, I have a strict “stay away from the water” policy on
these walks because I don’t like being outnumbered by two non-swimmers
near the ocean. But the tidepools looks so welcoming, and my kids are so
excited, and . . . what’s the harm?

So my kids start playing in
the tidepools and I suddenly realize they are getting soaked and we have
a 2-mile walk back to the car and no change of clothes. Oops. Naartjie
clothes may be made of amazing cotton but boy it does not
dry well. As we finish and load into the stroller, I realize I need to
take the kid’s dripping clothes off. So I have a diapered baby in the
stroller, who was only sunblocked according to her outfit. Her pasty
white stomach and legs are now unprotected. And I have a 3-year-old
ready to ride a bike in his underwear. And I think to myself, surely
this kind of thing does not happen to other moms.

Fortuntely
the bike is still there, unfortunately still covered in poop. Which is
now compounded by the fact that Jafta has on wet underwear (only) and
about 1/3 cup of sand stuck between his butt cheeks. He is not liking
this sensation at all, so halfway down the bike path we have to stop
while I take his underwear off and try to remove said sand from his butt
crack. By spreading his butt cheeks and wiping with my bare hand. In
front of approximately 20 people. I am just wishing for a pressure hose
to appear from the skies at this point, to hose off this sand and poop.
We have another mile to go.

Jafta gets tired and doesn’t want to
ride his bike anymore. Starts crying. Loudly. I start yelling. Loudly.
“KEEP GOING, JAFTA”. He starts falling on purpose, because he doesn’t
want to keep going. This gets more poop on him. Every time he falls, I
chastise him. We are a mess. People are staring. I have two children in
their underwear, and I am only thinking about getting back to that car. I
practically cattle-prod Jafta for the next mile, with both kids
screaming, and seriously wondering. . . . what am I doing wrong? Do
other moms have days like this??

The grand finale
is realizing that I have to somehow get the poop bike into the back of
our SUV to get it home. I seriously think about traumatizing my son
further by leaving the bike in the parking lot, but finally decide to
suck it up and load the bike in the back. I dry heave the entire ride
home, as the smell of fecal matter permeates the car.