Archive for September 16th, 2008

16
Sep
08

The scent of a stay-at-home woman

EXHIBIT A:

THE BACKSTORY:
A woman fancies an afternoon out with her toddler girl. Rather than weigh herself down with the shabby diaper bag and bulky stroller, she opts for a stylish shoulder bag big enough for her things and a few toddler essentials. She imagines a stroll in the park, a visit to the library, a quick swing through the nearby shopping district before picking up a bottle of wine on the way home.

THE INCIDENT:
 “Mommy, loook!” cries a pigtailed 5-year-old tugging her mother’s shirt and pointing at us. “She’s not wearing pants!”

I force a closed-lip smile at pigtail’s mother, whose gaze follows her daughter’s extended finger directly down to my baby girl’s bare legs, and then slowly shifts up to me. We are waiting for the elevator by the children’s section of the neighborhood library. It can’t come fast enough. Behind us, the wheels of a custodian’s cart screech the arrival of the clean-up crew at the women’s bathroom.

I hoist a clear plastic bag in my right hand up to the mother’s eye level, revealing the missing pants and underwear, both splattered with fresh diarrhea. I hope she got a good whiff. I hope it answers her unasked question about why my child is at the public library in a shirt, pull-up and shoes. Because, you know, I’m not trying to start a new fashion trend.

After a silent elevator ride up to the main floor, pigtails and mother cut a hasty retreat lest any germs latch onto them. I grab Girl from the East’s hand, shift the pile of picture books, above-mentioned bag of defiled clothing and my purse and head for the door.
We both move quickly on our walk of shame down a brick-paved path past gardens and park benches populated with lunchtimers, readers and gawkers.
In the punishing light of high noon all I can think is: I hope I don’t have crap on my clothes.

THE FINDINGS:
There is nothing “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” about realizing that you have only two tissues in your stylish shoulder bag, not nearly enough to combat the very unstylish diarrhea running down your toddler’s leg.
There is nothing glamorous about an unexpected, explosive illness in a bathroom that is a paper-free operation (hand-dryers only).
There is a high level of “Desperate Housewives” in realizing you sacrificed practicality for style by leaving the diaper bag at home, which contained wet wipes, spare clothes, diapers, hand sanitizer and plastic bags. Even more desperate, having to ‘fess up to the library staff and beg for paper towels and a plastic bag.
In the end, you realize there is no sexy way to walk out of a building with a half-naked child and a see-through bag of poopy clothes, both leaving a scent in their wake …
… the scent of a stay-at-home woman.

CONCLUDING REMARKS: Thanks for visiting and reading my 100th post. This has been part of a larger celebration, Girls In Real Life, or G.I.R.L., put together by Marcy at The Glamorous Life. Join the party.

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"It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes." --Dorothy Parker
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