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.