The ominous email arrived in my inbox this past week. "It is with great disappointment," it stated, "that I must notify you that our wading pool will be closed until Saturday." It continued, "This morning, there was a fecal accident in the wading pool, and therefore we must assure, as we always do, that we are able to provide you with water of the highest quality and with the highest assurance of safety that we can provide."
As I read, I felt appreciative of the pool staff's due diligence when it comes to issues of renegade fecal matter. And I felt sorry for all the preschoolers who would unfortunately miss out on a couple days of baby pool action in these final weeks of summer. But mostly, all I could think about was the poor parents of the kid who caused this mess. Because I know from experience how awful it is to be the mom branded with the "scarlet" (maybe it should be "sepia" or "russet" or some other fanciful word for brown) double P. For Pool Pooper.
It was like any other sunny weekday morning that summer. My oldest, who was five at the time, was taking swim lessons in the big pool. And my five-week-old newborn and I were hanging out on the deck while my 2-1/2 year old son played around in the baby pool. I'd been proud of my little guy's kiddie pool behavior the whole summer. He never splashed the grown ups and played well with the other pint-sized pool patrons. He readily shared his beach balls, buckets and sifters. But on this fateful day, he chose to share something else-a pair of dill pickled sized bowel movements, giving new meaning to the word "floaties."
At first I couldn't understand how this had happened. Wasn't he wearing one of those aqua disposable swim diapers just a minute before? But when I asked my son what had happened to it, he lifted it up out of the water and told me it felt "too icky" to wear with the poop in it. Yes, the pool management may have politely called it a fecal "accident." But my son had clearly removed his diaper and released its contents on purpose.
My shriek of horror mixed with disbelief was all that was needed to clear the water.
Within a matter of minutes (which felt like hours) I gathered up my brood, informed the pool staff what had happened and high-tailed it out of there. When I peered back through the fence on my way to the car, I could see the lifeguards were already testing the water with one of those fancy pool chemistry kits.
Up until then, we weren't really the type of family that was known to cause potential public health crises. But for the rest of the summer, I felt like the pool pariah. I was the mom whose kid had dropped an underwater deuce.
So my heart goes out to you, parents of the child who caused the "fecal accident" in last week's email. But rest assured, time heals all wounds -- especially a wounded sense of dignity. And we did venture back to the baby pool later that summer.
But this time with much stricter rules on when not to remove a swim diaper.
And I sported a much bigger pair of sunglasses. Maybe it's possible no one recognized me as the Hester Prynne of pool purity.
Has your kid ever done anything really embarrassing in public? How long did it take him or her -- or more importantly you -- to recover?comments powered by Disqus
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.