WARNING: This post contains baby bodily functions of all forms. Readers who are about to eat, be warned.
Let me start by declaring the fact that motherhood is incredibly rewarding. You’ve seen the adorable baby photos, the sweet videos and the heartwarming posts. They make you smile, say “awhhh” and give you that fuzzy feeling. This is not one of those. This is a horror story.
Earlier this year in April, Berklee and I were just getting ready to fly back to Arizona from New York where we went to help my sister with the arrival of her second child. All of you moms out there know how incredibly stressful it is to fly with a baby. We worry about having enough diapers, enough food, enough alcohol (just kidding people, you know you can’t get that stuff through security)- the list goes on and on. Then, you say a little prayer that your child is a saint and sleeps the whole way through. I had knots in my stomach but had high hopes that Berklee would behave and we would be in Phoenix in no time. Some of you may think I was over-reacting, that everything would be great and she would smile and wave to the other passengers before she quietly calmed in my arms. Yeah, some of you may think that, but you are all wrong.
I arrived to the airport an hour before our flight was scheduled to take-off. I checked our bags, went through security with-out a dropped Cheerio and stopped in front of the monitors to check our gate. Delayed. I pushed Berklee through the airport to the gate and was told it would be another hour until departure. Okay, I thought, I’ll just have her walk around and get some food. This will be a breeze, and it was. We boarded our flight an hour later and 45 minutes after that we landed in the Philadelphia airport. There was one problem though. Because of the delay, we then missed our connecting flight to Phoenix. Trying to stay calm, I put off changing Berklee’s full diaper and decided I would do it after speaking with an airline representative and booking a new flight.
So there I was, juggling the stroller, her diaper bag, my carry-on all the while handing her Cheetos and winding through the snake of a line filled with angry flyers. I finally made it to the front desk where I was told the next flight to Phoenix was in 3 hours. 3 HOURS! I grabbed my ticket, took a deep breath and made my way to the nearest restroom for her diaper change. What could I do? I couldn’t change anything about the flight. I unbuckled my very fidgety (then) 10 month old and felt her bottom soaked. I had waited too long to change her diaper, and now she had peed through. Luckily, I had brought a change of clothes so I changed her into outfit #2. As I left the restroom, I looked at the ticket to verify the gate direction and there in bold letters I saw my seating assignment… we were in the middle seat. Awesome.
The next 3 hours were spent pacing back and forth the airport because Berklee refused to sleep and would only refrain from screaming if we were moving. So I walked and I walked and I walked some more. I then stocked up on snacks and turned to ‘Sofia The First’ for a little relief (this is Berklee’s favorite cartoon). Finally, I heard the voice on the intercom, like music to my ears, that it was time to board. We settled into our (middle) seat and the fussing began. Berklee wanted up, then she wanted down, then she wanted food, then she wanted to throw food and she even proceeded to grab the gentleman’s beard next to me on numerous occasions. I was beginning to panic. My daughter does not do good when she doesn’t nap, and she had not slept more than 15 minutes the entire day. People began to stare, my heart began to race, and I prayed to God to please let this child sleep.
30 minutes into our 4.5 hour flight I felt Berklee’s belly grumble, then she grunted, and then my hand that was rested on her lower back became warm and wet. The smell came next, and the realization of what just happened began to set in. I remember giving myself a pep talk “Katie, remain calm. Nobody knows what just happened. You don’t even know how bad it is, just calmly walk to the restroom with the blanket around her so nobody will see.” And that’s exactly what I did.
I reached the lavatory and I could feel her poop all in my hand, up her back, and even at the base of her neck. Stay calm Katie, just stay calm. I walked inside the restroom and there was no changing table. I laid my changing mat down on the toilet, followed by Berklee, to assess the damage. It was bad guys. There was poop EVERYWHERE. I just started wiping and changing and wiping more places and then it happened. Our plane hit turbulence and as Berklee started to roll, I grabbed her. In the process, I let go of her #2 filled diaper and it just so happened to fall face down on the bottom of my jeans and shoes.
Y’all, I can’t make this stuff up.
The more I tried to wipe myself, the more poop that smeared other places and the greatest part of it all? I had already used Berklee’s change of clothes. So I undressed my child down to her new diaper, I wrapped her in a blanket and I carried her and the little dignity I had left back to my seat. She smelled like poop, I smelled like poop, everyone around us had to smell poop and we still had 4 hours left on this flight.
An hour later Berklee finally fell asleep in my arms and I had a moment. I cried silently while loving on that exhausted little girl and thinking to myself that I would learn to laugh about this. One day it would be a funny story at family functions and a story that Berklee will beg me not to tell her first boyfriend. It will be one of those gruesome motherhood experiences that I will grow from and share with every mother I know so that they learn the importance of packing TWO extra outfits.
But in that moment, I was going to cry.
Berklee slept the remainder of the flight and woke just as we landed. To her, the day went just fine. She was now rested, full of smiles and ready for the next adventure. But this Mom? She was ready for a shower.