The Day That Poop Won

Look at that poop emoji. His stupid smug smile. I`d like to punch that smile off his stupid stinking face.

In the last few days I have returned from a month long trip to Chile. This was to be only the second time I have traveled by air with a child, and the first time with two. I was naturally nervous. Going anywhere with a 4 year old and a 2 year old is usually good for a few breakdowns, but at least you can stop the car. In a plane, everyone is experiencing your children with you, good and bad.

This trip was particularly daunting, as we had a 7 hour layover in Toronto before taking the 10 hour red-eye flight to Santiago Chile. Long before we were set to go, I began preparing. I spent hours on Pinterest pinning travel tips and ideas for toddlers to keep them busy. I made projects, I bought new toys, gimmicks, and food. I had even calculated the amount of diapers we would need in a month. A couple days before we left, I was ready. We were packed and prepared, ready to take on this daunting trip. About 3 days before leaving, 3 of us were struck with a gastrointestinal bug. Sofia getting the worst of it, but she seemed to rally.

Departure day was upon us and as we arrived to the airport and were checking in, Sofia said she had to go to the bathroom. It took a bit too long to find one, and Sofia had an accident, apparently still dealing with the bug we had. This should have been my first indication of how things were going to go.

We made it to Toronto and endured the lengthy layover without further incident and I felt confident. All that was left was the overnight flight, of which the kids were going to sleep through anyways, so we were basically in the clear.

About two hours into the flight, both kids were asleep. Sofia sprawled across two seats and Eli (a stomach sleeper) asleep on the floor. Suddenly he woke up, howling and crying. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I tried my famous “sleeper” hold, but he just cried harder and fought me even more. I went to change him and he screamed. His stomach was hard as a rock and bloated. Obviously he was in pain and his stomach seemed to be the issue. The problem was I was in an enclosed space, everyone was asleep (or trying to) and I had nothing to give him. I figured when I have stomach aches, all I need to do is have a good fart, and everything feels better (laugh, but I know YOU know what I mean). So I try pumping his legs to get the gas out, but he screams even more. I’m stuck between feeling awful that I’m THAT mom on the plane who has THAT kid, and that my kid is in pain and I don’t know what to do about it.

And then the plug that was holding everything inside Eli came out. It was literally a shit storm of…shit. He had diarrhea so bad. In my pre-flight prep, I calculated a normal days worth of diapers plus 1 or 2 in case of an extra poop or something. It took probably an hour to go through 4 diapers. I spent most of that hour in the tiny airplane bathroom, trying to keep the noise down. On my last diaper I was faced with a dilemma. If he poops in this one, I’m going to have to try to scrape it off and reuse it for the next 7 hours, provided that the diarrhea is done. Ten minutes later, I’m back in the bathroom, knowing that there is no saving that diaper for another use. Now I’m stuck. All that’s in the bathroom are super thick maxi pads and super thin toilet paper. I grab 3 pads and sit Eli on them, but am at a loss as to how I’m going to keep them on him. I press the Help button, but no one comes, I press it another 4 times and still, no one comes. Finally, I stick my head out of the bathroom and hiss at Miguel to come help me. Panic is shaking my voice and I’m trying to keep it together. I send him for the flight attendants to get me some diapers or help or something. They return with no diapers (the airline stopped carrying diapers and no one on the flight offered to help, not that it would have mattered) and a big package of white cloth dinner napkins and a blanket.


Now I had to figure out how to make a “diaper” out of square dinner napkins and keep it on him. Seems pretty straight forward right? My mom had me in cloth diapers, and this is pretty much the same, right? Nope. They weren’t big enough. Next we tried putting the pads in a plastic bag and cutting some leg holes. But they had nothing to cut the bag with, because nothing sharp is allowed on the plane. We did our best, but Eli screamed even louder with this set up. I should mention that Eli was screaming this whole time. We tried ripping an airline blanket into a diaper, but those suckers are made out of the worlds strongest cotton, because there was no way that stuff was ripping. Eventually the flight “doctor” came by my new seat in the bathroom (i use this term extremely loosely, as I think he just was maybe really good at first aid, because he was literally no help at all), and strongly suggested that I get Eli to drink to replace his lost fluids. Ha. Right. Finally someone brings me something useful. They brought a first-aid triangle bandage/sling and some safety pins. Now here was something I could use.


I fashioned a caveman diaper, wrapped him in a blanket and eventually got Eli to sleep. I caught a couple of hours myself, until I woke up to the tell-tale sickly sweet smell of sick-poop. Eli had gone again in his sleep, gotten it on the seat and me. Off we go back to the bathroom again. By now, he’d gone so much that the acid had started to burn his bum. Every time I wiped him down was excruciating. And the bathroom smells so..bad. This whole time, I’m barely keeping it together. I kept thinking to myself, “one day this will be funny”, “it seriously can’t get much worse than this”. In the middle of another change, Eli has another turn of his tummy and poops all over the side of the bathroom, and me.  It was at this point I began to laugh while sobbing. NOW it can’t get any worse. This bathroom has to be quarantined. I need to be quarantined. I can’t believe this is happening.

The remainder of the flight is spent going back and forth between my seat and my other seat in the bathroom while Eli screams in pain. People are waking up and giving me the side-eye. My eyes are so puffy from crying and lack of sleep, and I openly stare back, daring them to say something.

We land and wait until everyone else gets off the plane before we disembark. I lose it when the flight attendants hug me and comfort me, telling me that I did a good job. Its over, and I’m so tired I can barely think. The trip gets better from that point on and so does Eli. However, I guess you can never be completely prepared for the unknown! However, on the way home I had way more than 5 diapers!


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