Friday, August 19, 2011

Run! Mother Nature is calling!

Want to know what I learned when we went on a mini-vacation to the Oregon Coast? Mother Nature beckons at the most inopportune times. It’s almost like a cruel joke. It happened time and time again while doing various fun activities on our trip. For instance, when we walked down the beach so far that we could no longer see our hotel…THAT was the moment. Or, when we finally got the kids comfortable in the swimming pool and ready to try to swim…THAT was the moment.

What is this moment? It is precisely when the boys realize that I-have-to-go-poop-right-now-or-we-are-going-to-have-a-big-problem. Often times they are completely unaware that their body is telling them it’s time to head toward the bathroom and by some stroke of luck I might pick up on the signs before they do. If I ask the question, there is almost always an immediate response akin to, “NO, I don’t have to go right now. That would cut into my fun. Duh.” They get so distracted when they are busy doing things they enjoy that it somehow renders them incapable of listening to the little voice inside their body that has an early warning system for such issues. They wait until they are about 5 seconds shy of an eminent waste explosion and then the look on their face turns to sheer panic and we find ourselves in a real pickle of a situation.

I thought I would share 2 of my favorite the most memorable “Mother Nature moments” from our trip.
First, did you happen to watch a CBS series called, “Undercover Boss?” In case you never saw the show, they take the top executive of a company and put them undercover as an entry-level employee at their own company. They go around and do various menial jobs and get a very clear view of how their company is working, discover things they never knew, and also learn ways to make their company function better, both for the customers and also for the employees. It’s a great show, particularly if you are like me and have a business background. I would watch the show and literally craft a case study in my brain as it went along. Yes, I know I’m a total nerd. I’m cool like that.

Anyway, one of the episodes featured a top executive from Great Wolf Lodge. I have never been to my local Great Wolf Lodge, but lots of people I know have been and enjoyed their stay there. And, if you have no idea what a Great Wolf Lodge is, it’s a huge water park inside a hotel. So, in the show this lady is doing some of the low-on-the-totem-pole jobs, including helping to watch the pool areas. At one point, there is an AFR code. A what? AFR stands for Accidental Fecal Release. I started simultaneously cringing and chuckling as I watch this big cheese exec get into the pool and pick up a pile of kid poo. I bet at that moment she wished she had never signed up for the undercover assignment!
Well, we nearly had our own AFR while we were swimming on the second day of our vacation. It didn’t matter that we had the boys go to the bathroom before we got suited up and walked over to the pool, or that I would occasionally ask them if they needed to go while we were at the pool. It was always an emphatic, “No” when the question was asked. It takes the boys a while to get into the pool (due to their sensory issues with temperature) and then get comfortable enough to want to move away from the side of the pool. We hardly ever get a chance to get them in a pool, so it’s like they have to start over each time, no matter how much progress we made with them in the past.

The boys were finally able to stop clinging to the wall (or me) and actually started to play in the water. I turned my attention to Prince Charming because Monkey was walking along in the 3 foot deep section and Prince Charming wanted to use the kickboard. I helped get Prince Charming positioned with the kickboard and Titan began to help him kick his legs properly when I turned back around and saw Monkey posturing. Even with a good portion of his body submerged, I could see that he had his behind sticking out like he was impersonating the walk of a duck. I asked him if he had to go and he said no. I watched him for another few seconds and asked him again, more insistently. He stopped moving and then the light bulb switched on. Ding! He was done.
I could see he only had mere seconds, so I urgently instructed him to get out of the pool and go into the bathroom (about 15 feet away). I yelled over at Titan to get out of the water and run after him while I swam over to Prince Charming. By the time Titan stepped foot into the bathroom I heard Monkey yell. I knew what had happened. I listened as the shower was turned on and then I began to smell the aroma that is unmistakably Monkey’s when he’s having some slight GI issues. The pool is indoors with open beams near the ceiling between the bathrooms and the main pool and hot tub area. Goodness gracious, the entire place began to smell pungent. I pretended that I didn’t smell or hear anything, so as to not draw further attention to the situation in front of the other families present.

I felt so bad for Monkey. I also felt bad for Titan since he was having deal with this whole thing in a public bathroom…thank God there was a shower in there! He got Monkey cleaned up as best as he could, cleaned up the floor, grabbed a towel, and walked Monkey back to the room for a proper shower with warm water and privacy. Pool time and fun in the water ended abruptly. Mother Nature, knock it off, would ya?
The following day, after breakfast and a bit of shopping, we took a few minutes to “freshen up” in our hotel room before heading down to the beach. I checked with the boys several times about going poop before we left, and forced them to at least try before we left the room. The walk down to the beach from our room takes a few minutes and then you have to climb down about a million steps. Okay, it’s more like one hundred. It’s a haul, for sure. There is an outcropping of rocks about 1,000 feet from the staircase, which is where you can see tide pools and all kinds of fun stuff when the tide is out. That is where we were headed.

We had just gotten there and I had taken a couple pictures of the boys climbing on the rocks when Prince Charming got the intense urge to go. He started waddling and I had no idea how he would manage to hold it in all the way back and up the million stairs, much less how my asthmatic husband would make it when pressed for time. All I could do was watch and pray as they took off for the room. By the grace of God, Prince Charming managed to hold it until they got there. Then, while he was wriggling his clothes off in the bathroom, he had a slight accident. It was miraculous that he didn’t have 10-pound droopy drawers the whole way back to the room! Our beachcombing, rock exploration, and leisurely walk ended just as fast as it began. Mother Nature, you’re really starting to get on my nerves.
One of these days I hope that Mother Nature doesn’t foil our fun plans during a vacation. It would be nice to plan an activity and be able to actually do that activity for more than a few minutes before we are forced to stop. Mother Nature, you always have us running, that’s for sure!   

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