The Absolute Worst Part of My Life Right Now
WARNING: graphic post ahead. If you are or recently were the parent of a toddler, you will likely find it somewhat familiar. Otherwise, I would finish eating before reading.
There are lots of ways that this traveling life isn’t easy or perfect (I will have lots of posts on this topic as time goes on – this is the good, the bad, and the ugly, remember!), but the thing I dread… the thing that I will go to any lengths to avoid… the thing that my husband will go to even longer lengths to avoid… is changing a poopy swim diaper in a public bathroom at the beach or pool!
(I assume that if you’re squeamish or don’t want to read about poo, you won’t read any further. Otherwise, I make no apologies for the graphic detail about to follow.)
A cute photo of Aria to remind myself of why I love her before I launch into this post.
It goes something like this:
“Oh no, that’s her poo face – quick, out of the pool! Why oh why does this happen when Daddy’s not here?? Okay, Charlotte, you sit here on the edge of the pool and watch the scuba diving class – you are NOT allowed to go in, understand?
Now, Aria, we need to wait, there’s someone in the bathroom. (wait for what seems like an incredibly unreasonable amount of time while checking to make sure Charlotte isn’t drowning or kidnapped)
Okay, our turn! (give fake smile to the person who just dilly-dallied for ages)
Okay, swim diaper off – Aria do NOT touch your poo!! Diaper goes up here, I’ll deal with it lat – ARIA, STOP TOUCHING THE DIAPER! NO, DON’T TOUCH YOUR BUM EITHER!
(QUESTION: why in these moments do I lose my ability to phrase everything positively and re-direct, and instead spend my time yelling what NOT to do??).
Oh, god, there’s poo all over your hands now. Okay, I’ll deal with that later. Okay, let’s get you wiped up… sh*t sh*t SH*T I forgot the wipes.
Okay, there’s a loose roll of toilet paper here. (A large roll of the thinnest, tissue-paper-like, least helpful paper you can imagine that’s supposed to be installed inside the big dispenser but instead is helpfully placed on top of the dispenser so you have to pick it up with wet hands and try to peel some off while it literally disintegrates in your hands as you do it.)
Let’s wipe your bum… and some more… and more… it’s everywhere, oh dear lord… okay, plan B, let’s wash you in the sink! Sit up here with your bum facing the tap… no, this way – PLEASE Aria, just sit still and stop squirming, you don’t need to see the water right now… or your bum… yes, we’re washing your bum with this tiny trickle of water, then you can wash your hands… Okay, that’s better at least.
Now, stand down here while I check on your sister (run out of washroom to lay eyes on Charlotte for one instant before running back to the washroom)
No, Aria, get back here! This way! (grab runaway toddler who is making a beeline for the pool completely stark naked and possibly still with poo on her)
Now we’ll get your diaper washed out. Yes, that’s your poo, into the toilet! Wee!! NO NO NO, hands out! HANDS OUT!! Thank you. Now, flush it down – bye bye, poo!
Let’s wash it out… in the toilet… oh god, why did I have children again?? Why is this my life?
Okay, flush again. Come on, toilet, please flush! No, Aria, we have to wait for the water to flush and refill before we can flush again. Yes, we still have to wait… and wait… here we go: rinse again in the semi-clean toilet water. Flush, wait, rinse. Flush, wait, rinse. Flush, wait, rinse. I think it’s clean enough now – into the sink.
Let me check on Charlotte (run out to lay eyes on Charlotte, remembering to close the door behind me this time). Okay, Mummy’s back!
Please, please, PLEASE let there be enough soap left in the bottom of this almost-empty soap for the diaper AND our hands (and entire bodies)! Okay, here is some soap for you, Aria – stand down there and make bubbles while I clean the diaper.
God, this is so gross (scrub inside of diaper with soap until it’s white again). Now, let’s wipe down the toilet… and floor… good lord. Okay, let’s wash our hands… and arms… and your legs and bum, and well, let’s just do a full body bath in this tiny sink with a trickle of water. Easy peasy.
No, stop squirming please, I don’t want to drop you! Okay, okay… I think you’re clean, I’m clean, diaper’s clean, bathroom is as clean as I can get it.
I wish I could say I exaggerated for dramatic effect, but this is almost word for word an exact replica of what just occurred earlier today. It has happened way, way, way too many times.
One time it included a centipede wandering around the fully enclosed bathroom stall in Koh Tao, Thailand (before I had confirmed that the small black centipedes don’t bite and aren’t poisonous, so I was assuming that it was about to take a big chunk out of me or my 11 month old daughter and possibly inflict horrific pain and /or death on us).
One time it included a stall with puddle of water on the floor that Aria sat in and turned into a poo puddle.
One time it included doing this in the washroom of a posh resort in Jamaica with two toilet stalls and one sink and other people coming in and out and me trying to hide the fact that I was washing a poopy diaper.
Well, if that didn’t turn you off from ever using a public washroom again, knowing I might have been in there just before you, I don’t know what will.
If anyone has found any tricks to make this process easier, I would LOVE to hear from you! Happy Travels, parents of toddlers!!
About Meredith Kenzie
I am a full-time traveling Mum of two adorably blond and mischevious little girls (isn’t it a good thing nature makes babies so damn cute?). I love to explore new places, finding the fun little places for my littles to play, and getting immersed in different cultures. I like to write and share about our travel adventures while keeping it minimalist and vegan as much as possible! Oh, and I love yoga, ballet, reading, baking, and time with friends.
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