Last week, I became expert at taking kids in and out of mini-vans.
Okay, not in. In doesn't work so well for me since I was evidently not born with the ability to buckle babies into perfectly-installed car seats. So I had been placing babies in their car seats and staring at them until their mother arrives to do the real work.
Out, though... oh man, I'm good at out. I can definitely unbuckle and remove a child.
So when Ellyn pulled into the parking spot at the mall on Wednesday, she got out of her side and got the stroller out while I unbuckled Seth from his car seat. After I got him out and delivered to her, I headed over to Evany's side of the van and expertly (read: "I had just learned how to do it that day") turned her carseat around with the fancy levers and unbuckled her as well. She gave me her signature huge-mouthed smile and giggle as I whisked her out of her seat and rested her on my hip. She cooed excitedly and grabbed my hair as I walked to the stroller behind the car, and then she giggled again when I made eye contact with her to remove her death-gripped hands from my shirt so I could place her in the stroller.
When I placed my hand under Evany to sit her down, I felt something... not good. Moist. And squishy. And not good.
When I finally got her into the stroller, it was as I had expected. I had poop all over my left hand and up my arm.
Poop. All over my hand. And arm.
And then I looked down at my side, where I had been holding Evany, and was thrilled to find even more poop covering the entire left side of my shirt.
Now this is what I call vacation.
It took us a little while to get the wipes out, so I stood there for a good minute or two with poop all over my hand, and while I would have expected my brain to have been all "therespooponmyhandgetitoffgetitoffgetitoff!" I was totally fine. Relaxed even! What's a little poop? Poop can't hurt you, right?
Six days with four kids is evidently what stood between me and the end to my squeamishness about poop.
Anyway, we got ourselves and the child (and the stroller, and the carseat) cleaned up, and headed into the mall smelling of, well, not roses. Mara had to get her nose piercing fixed at the tattoo place there (the gemstone had fallen out of the stud), so in we headed. Ellyn held Seth by the hand, I pushed Evany in her stoller, and Mara pushed her baby, Nora in her stroller.
And oh yeah, I smelled like poop. We were quite a sight. And smell.
I looked around the dimly-lit parlor at a guy sitting backwards in a chair as another guy stood behind him with a buzzing needle to his back. Another walked past me with saran wrap covering a fresh tattoo on his leg. Mara headed back to get her super-cool nose stud fixed and Ellyn and Seth eyed the various jewelry displayed in the case at the front counter.
And I? Tried to act natural (read: "stood awkwardly in the center of the room"). I held my best "I so belong here" pose whilst holding onto a stroller and smelling like poop. Though to be honest, I think even without the babies and the poop smell, I wouldn't have belonged there.
Nora began to fuss in her stroller, so I leaned over between Evany's stroller and a pillar to comfort her, when all of the sudden I realized that the pillar I was beginning to lean against was made of Styrofoam. And Styrofoam? Doesn't hold a human's weight very well.
With a very loud crash, the pillar came tumbling down in multiple pieces, and evidently it had been holding a big display of hats at the very top as well. The hats and pieces of pillar scattered everywhere, leaving me flat on my butt in the middle of the ruined display and the two babies' strollers.
Cue screeching record sound effect.
The entire place went silent and all eyes were on me. I looked up slowly at all the tattooed guys who were staring at me, then around at the destruction I had caused. Nora and Evany were now completely quiet and also staring at me.
And there is nothing worse than the cold, judging eyes of a baby. But who could blame them? I was a catastrophe.
I don't think I'll be going to any more tattoo places any time soon. Or trying to care for any babies.
Clearly, these are two worlds in which I do not belong.