My first day out with both girls was an unmitigated disaster. Oh, I had such big plans, and they played out like some kind of situation-comedy from hell.
First stop: the playground. Behind our local library is a sand pit topped with a play structure. I’d been there a billion times B.A. (Before Abby), why would anything go wrong now? Well, may I remind you that Penelope is not yet two. Which means eating sand is still hilarious, and things often look really fun to climb when, in fact, her little legs cannot yet handle the truth. Result: me waddling around, still post-partumly aching, trying to wipe sand off one girl’s hands while not dumping the other out into said sand. Forget trying to sit with her to play or chase after her as she ran in front of the swings.
Stop number two: our favorite lunch spot. Usually a lot of fun. Less so when she forgets her smoothie isn’t in a bottle and dumps it down her front, which upsets her terribly because she actually really hates a mess. Poor muffin!
Third stop: The consignment store. Hey, the baby needs onesies and more jammies. Unfortch, as we walked in, I smelled the telltale stench of a toddler diaper. No problem: they have a well-appointed changing table. But I’ve pushed the whole adventure dangerously close to nap-time, so as she frantically tries to ride a tricycle and falls over three times in a row, I lose my temper and snap, “You’re falling down because you’re doing what I just told you not to do!” Oh god. I’m channeling my mom circa 1971.
I quickly realize the poop is no longer restricted to her diaper. In fact, it has somehow gotten all over her cute little pink jeans, up inside her onesie, and even on her outer shirt. Which, again, in her overtired state, upsets her terribly. She’s screaming. The baby’s screaming. I’m begging both of them to relax while trying frantically to keep the poop contained to stuff we can carry out of the store. I have to ask the cashier for a plastic bag, which she thrusts at me as if it already contained poop-covered clothes. I make a mess of the garbage can. I slink, shamefaced, as quietly as I can when accompanied by a shrieking newborn and a toddler now clad in nothing but a diaper and a pair of light-up sneakers.
Back in the car, I pull up to the curb in front of the store and briefly consider running in to fix the garbage can. I look at the girls; they’re both stunned. I can’t do it.
I haven’t been back. Do you think they hate me? Or are they used to it?
Anyway, we’ve made our first foray. It has to get better from here, right?