By VICKI BROWN
Our first grandchild was born in 2016 after a long, long wait. It seemed as though everyone else our age had grandkids except us. But when we finally set eyes on our granddaughter, we were completely smitten. She was beautiful. She was perfect.
She was so good natured, too. She rarely cried, was easily entertained, and a joy to be around. Because she was so pretty, strangers often stopped to comment on how cute she was or how well-behaved she was. And of course, we would just stand there bursting with pride.
Confidentially, I kept expecting her to suddenly turn into a little demon child, because there was no way that my son, a wild and willful child could have possibly produced such a little princess. He had been a handful and turned my hair gray. But she continued to be adorable. Except on one occasion.
We were babysitting, so we decided to stop at a pizza place in old North Charleston. The entire street has been renovated and turned into trendy bistros, restaurants, art galleries, and businesses. Park benches dot the sidewalks with lush landscaping. It is lovely.
So on this particular day we went into the pizza restaurant. Our granddaughter spent her time eating pizza as only one year old toddlers can do, so it was all over her little face and hands. But she charmed the people around us with smiles showing off her new little white front teeth.
When it was time to go, I grabbed a baby wipe and cleaned her up. Then I reached into the highchair to lift her up. As she stood up while I wiped down her tiny pink dress, something fell into the highchair behind her with an audible “plop”.
My husband and I both looked down to see a huge pile of poop.
Now, this tiny little girl, who seemed perfect in every way, had one flaw. She could lay down poops that a cow would envy. I had never seen that much poop at one time and in one pile except on a farm.
We were horrified. I quickly grabbed up my large napkin and laid it over the mess so we wouldn’t disturb the other diners. Then I told my husband that I would take her to the bathroom, change her, and take the poop filled napkin with me. That’s when my husband said that there was only one bathroom there and no baby changing station was inside.
He stared into my panic-stricken eyes. He was just as upset as I was, and we felt that we were in a quandary. How much poop was there, and was it all over the back of her clothes and legs? In the darkened restaurant we couldn’t tell.
So, in desperation, I said, “Honey, you take care of the poop, and I will take care of the kid.” He agreed, so I grabbed up the baby, and holding her at arm’s length, started for the door. As people looked up at us, I just smiled and said, “Baby covered in pizza…watch out.” Diners just laughed and went on eating.
When I made my way outside, I realized that I had the diaper bag, but no keys to get into the car. I wasn’t sure how much longer my husband would be, so I quickly looked around and noticed that the sidewalk was almost deserted. So I made my way to a park bench to change the baby.
As I began peeling off her diaper, I realized that she was covered in the mess; it was on her clothes, shoes…everywhere. Resigned, I sighed and took off everything. I began wiping her from the neck down to her little toes. When she was finally clean, I reached into the bag to get another outfit, and that is when she swung her legs down and began running as fast as her little legs could carry her. I quickly gave chase, and there I was, running after a naked baby and passing window after window just knowing the entire population was probably watching.
I finally caught her and turned around to find an elderly couple walking by. They burst out laughing and said, “Yep, that looks familiar. We sure have been there.” Somehow, I felt comforted just knowing that other grandparents had endured the same fate.
At that moment, my husband walked up and helped me dress the toddler as quickly as possible. When we finally got in the car and I managed to catch my breath, I looked over at my husband and asked, “What did you do with the poop?”
“Well, the waitress came up just as soon as you left. So I paid, scooped up the poop, wrapped it in a napkin, cleaned the seat and left,” he said.
“But where did you put the poop?” I asked.
“Uh, well, someone was in the bathroom, so I did the only thing I could do…I wrapped it all in a bunch of napkins and put it on the empty pizza pan.”
“WHAT!!” I shrieked. I just closed my eyes in horror. I knew we could never go back to that restaurant again. I didn’t care if it was all wrapped up in napkins…just the thought was enough to gross me out.
At that moment, I heard a sneaky giggle from the baby seat behind me, and when I turned around…I could have sworn that I was looking at my son.
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