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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Totally Awkward Tuesday!

This is one that has really taken some time for me to be okay to tell, because of a bunch of outside factors that shamed me into not seeing the ridiculousness (and complete normalcy) of the situation.

So.  Here goes.

When Kiedis was a brand-new spanking baby, like, a week after we were able to bring him home from the NICU, it was a gorgeous spring day and I wanted out of the house.

See, Kyle worked at the charter school and Kiedis' birth didn't quite line up with his Spring Break (it was a couple of weeks before) and at the charter school there really wasn't anything such as time off for things like bringing your firstborn into the world. Plus, Kyle was very ... detached ... from everything going on in our lives so every time I would mention to him taking off just a couple of days to help me and Duder get settled at home it became this HUGE fight about his career and money and a whole bunch of shit that only much later did I understand really had nothing to do with me and was fueled by the combined evil forces of my EMIL and The Whore and his own inability to express emotions properly because no one ever showed him how.

So pretty much from go I was alone nearly 24/7 with a fragile baby who refused to eat and needed to be medicated on an insane schedule. Combine that with my pre-existing mental health issues, family stress, financial chaos, a traumatic birth experience and lack of support and honestly, it's a miracle I got by as long as I did before having a breakdown. That alone should be a testament to my strength and willpower when faced with adversity, damnit.

Obviously this is still an emotionally charged memory for me.


So it might have been Kyle's Spring Break because he was around, I honestly can't remember. I just remember getting dressed (like makeup and everything) and going to the big fancy new outdoor mall with my fancy stroller and Kiedis bundled up like we lived in the Arctic because of how small he was and the fact that the wind was still blowing pretty chilly despite the warmer temperatures. It was still mid-March in Ohio.

And we went to Panera and splurged on a meal (because that's how broke we were, that Panera was a big deal) and I remember trying to nurse Kiedis in public for the first time, which went surprisingly well considering his latch issues and my extreme anxiety about being judged by other people for nursing in public.  So I finish nursing him and try to eat when he gets all screamy-fussy, which flusters me because again, extreme anxiety about other people's judgement of my parenting abilities (nevermind I was BRAND SPANKING NEW at it, I felt extreme pressure not to fail at anything because of how fragile he was and because I had to look like I could handle it, you know?) so I swoop him up and my baby bag and head to the bathroom to change him.

Now, I don't understand why places do this, but how many times have you been somewhere where the little changing station fold-down thingamabob is in the accessible restroom? I understand it, sort of, from a space conservation standpoint, but as a parent it seriously doesn't make sense. Maybe it's a personal thing because I have always been around differently-abled people and I was raised it was EFFING RUDE to use the accessible stall if you are perfectly able-bodied. When I've been on crutches I still hesitate because WHAT IF someone in a wheelchair needs to potty and I'm just taking up their space because I can't walk a straight line without breaking my ankle? It's a hangup of mine.

I have, however, used it while pregnant AND on crutches. I figured I got a pass for that.

And I know that it's kind of common for moms to go in the big stall with little kids to help corral them. But with the advent of family/unisex restrooms THAT'S WHAT THOSE ARE FOR. And I will be all up in a family restroom whenever there's an opportunity to use one because THAT MAKES SENSE. I've even used those just pregnant because I am a one-woman walking family, thank you very much.

However when the only changing station is then in the family restroom and a woman decides to nurse her baby for 45 minutes in the only family restroom in the entire mall, then I have issues. Go to your car if you don't want to be seen. I've done it. Or buy a cover. Or get over yourself. But feeding your baby in a bathroom is gross and so is my kid's blowout diaper, which match up, whereas you nursing on a toilet and refusing to let anyone in to use the other aspects of the family restroom, does not.

ANYWAY, back to my story ...

So the changing station thing is in the accessible restroom, and I have to wait with a screaming Kiedis for a mom with two preschoolers(!) to stop dicking around in the big stall so I can have access to the changing thing. I can even here the little girl asking if there was a baby in the bathroom and why was the baby crying and when will the crying stop and the mom was just like, "He sounds unhappy, maybe he's hungry or tired," and I had to bite my tongue from screaming IT'S BECAUSE HE NEEDS HIS ASS CHANGED AND YOU'RE PRIMPING IN THE ONLY PLACE I CAN DO THAT but I didn't mostly because there were women at the sink giving me sort-of sympathetic glances and asking me (between screams) how old my baby was and you know, those questions strangers love to ask you about your kids at the most inopportune times. Finally the lady comes out and seems to realize I was waiting for her and sort of condescendingly says sorry as if I was somehow ruining her bathroom experience with my newborn's needs, and I begrudgingly go into the accessible stall (SO. RUDE.) and begin to change Kiedis.

Now, I have plenty of experience changing diapers. I've changed all but one of my seven cousins' pants (regularly at that -- my family thought it good training for my future and as kind of not cool as that may be, they were right because here I am), and when I babysat I actually primarily watched the under three set. So me and diapers, we know each other well.

But what I'd failed to realize is that Kiedis had a poop blowout while waiting for the lady in the stall. I'm perturbed, especially since I know Kyle was probably getting irate with how long it was taking me in the bathroom already (not my fault!) but because I'm a little more experienced with small children than I think the average human being (and because I read every book and website out there while pregnant and see above mentioned anxiety issues) I have a spare outfit in the bag.

So Baby Duder is getting happier now that I'm using approximately 23829473289 wipes to get all the poop off of him, but he's still crying and fighting me a bit. And right as I turn to him to fasten his diaper and begin to dress him, he unleashes this epic stream of pee (which, if you're not familiar with little boys, means it goes UP and OUT and EVERYWHERE) all over not only himself, but his clean spare outfit ... and me.

I literally had zigzags of pee all over the front of my shirt. And now his first outfit was covered in poop, his spare outfit was drenched in pee, and I'm standing all alone in the women's restroom at Panera literally on the brink of tears because I OBVIOUSLY had nothing under control and the thought of going back out into the restaurant covered in baby pee with a naked infant was on the brink of paralyzing.

About this time an older woman knocked on the stall door and asked me if there was anything she could do to help me -- she'd been in the restroom pretty much the whole time and Kiedis never did stop crying, just brought it down from eardrum shattering to a more manageable wail, and I was barely able to ask her to go get Kyle without my voice cracking in sobs. I was so completely embarrassed by my screaming infant and now there was bodily waste everywhere and I felt like such an obvious failure that my facade began to buckle underneath the weight of it all. I began to describe Kyle as best I could and she said she knew what he looked like because she saw us come in (which, in retrospect, sort of stalker-y, but whatever) and she left to only return in a millisecond, saying he was outside the restroom door. So from the doorway I asked Kyle to get the 87 blankets we had in the stroller and I wrapped Kiedis up in them as tight as I could and I tried to hide my own hot mess behind the stroller as much as possible. Kyle had already boxed up my now cold food, and we hightailed it to the car as I was on the verge of lapsing into hysterics and he was upset that our first "family date" as we now call them was essentially ruined and overall, it was mortifying.

Somewhere in the back of my head I was telling myself that this was something I'd laugh about later, that this was a rite of passage into parenthood, but my blossoming postpartum depression and anxiety issues were mucking it all up, making me feel like the worst parent alive for not having two spare outfits and an extra shirt for myself and for remembering to block Kiedis' business while I changed him. And between the feeding issues and the medicating (that always warranted stares from strangers) and this being the first real experience taking Kiedis out of the house on my own, it's not really much of a surprise I barely left the house without AT LEAST two other adults in presence (save for doctor's appointments) until Kiedis was like, four months old.

And now, with some more epic things like car accidents and dropping both kids while walking into a doctor's appointment four weeks postpartum after Tova and Kiedis' public tantrums complete with violence against random strangers, I'd take that diaper change scenario anyday.

Feel free to link up your totally awkward stories in the comments below since I got all excited that Tova Darling was back and then she dropped off the face again.