A Guest Post – No Dignity

A tremendous benefit to blogging is the ability to connect globally with people who you otherwise would not have met. Sophie is a third culture kid and refers to herself as a “global hobo”. Married to a Frenchman, She has lived across the globe in Pakistan, the UK, France, New Zealand, Fiji Islands and for the moment makes her home in Australia.

Sophie and I share a history of Pakistan and Murree Christian School. We are a generation apart and last time I saw her, she was a cute little girl running through the halls of Murree. I had no idea that 23+ years later I would be avidly following her writing, and through this a bit of her life. Sophie writes in several places but today I am reposting from her blog Little Gumnut. As I read this last night I was laughing so hard I almost cried. Enjoy and take a look at some of her other work as well!

The thing no-one tells you about parenting, and in particular, motherhood, is that it is a humiliating, embarrassing affair where you totally lose your dignity.  And then come those moments that go down in family history where you can’t quite believe it really happened.

With one baby in the pushchair and the other preschooler in the middle of potty training, picture yourself in a department store.  You know the kind, the ones with highly polished floors.

Picture yourself browsing the sales racks while your preschooler plays quietly a little way off but still in sight.  You actually have time to look at all you need and pay for your purchases.  As you’re preparing to go, she comes and announces to you that she’s done a poo.  As she’s in a nappy, that’s ok.  You sniff the nappy.  Oh yes, that has become normal behaviour to you now, you never thought it would. You take a little peek.  No poo in sight.

No, you haven’t done a poo darling you say.

Yes, yes, I have, she insists and points: Over there.

No, there’s definitely no poo, you reply.

Looking over to where she has played you pause.  Is that…?
You squint your eyes.  Is that a small brown object on the floor under a rack of men’s shirts?
Oh no!  You wander over casually to have a look, parking the buggy and squatting down.  Yes. A small brown, hard poo has somehow slipped out.  Her nappy must have ridden up her bum like some irritating g-string.

What do you do?  You consider doing a runner and pretending it wasn’t your child.  But then you’re a Christian.  WWJD? Sighing, you make your way over to the customer service counter, eyeing up the young man and the older woman, praying that you get the older woman.

But you forgot that God has a sense of humour and of course, when it comes to your turn to be served, you get the young man.

Erm, I’m so sorry, but my child has done a poo on your floor over there. Do you have a cleaner who could come and clean it up?

It’s a cliché but the young man’s lips definitely start to twitch, he’s trying his best not to laugh and ever so seriously, he explains that no, they don’t have any cleaners.

What do I do?  Do I just leave it there?

He looks at a complete loss.  Nonplussed I believe the word is.

Do you have any paper towels I can go and clean it up with myself?  

Relieved not to have to come up with a solution himself, the customer service expert passes you a wodge of hand towels.

You retrieve the offending item, wrapping it in the towels and take it back to the young man.

Do you have a bin I can put it in?

He smiles apologetically, Sorry, no.

There you are in the middle of a not too shabby department store, clutching a hand towel with your child’s poo inside, at a complete loss as to what to do next.  Forgetting entirely that there are public toilets just around the corner, you put it in your handbag, take your child by the hand and push your buggy as fast as you can out of the door.

A day later you put your hand into your handbag and wonder what on earth those paper towels are… until you feel that hard little nobby poo inside and you remember: dignity is a rarity in motherhood.

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