You know those wipes they offer near the shopping carts?

Yeah, you should really use those.

Just sit right there and don’t touch anything.

So, we all know that kids must have great immune systems because they put just about everything in their mouths, right? What about the rest of us?

I was at the grocery store once with Jack, who must have been three years old, because he was big enough to be uncomfortable sitting in the cart’s kiddie seat, but not so big he could see over the checkout counter.

On this excursion, I had pulled his hands away from the candy at the point-of-purchase display for the umpteenth time, and was paying for my groceries when I noticed people from the next aisle – the next few aisles, actually – looking my way and grimacing.

“Mom, this feels funny,” I heard Jack say.

I turned to see him running the length of the handrail separating ours from the next aisle with his tongue out, on the handrail, moving back and forth along its length.


I am so glad to be past that stage. I am also glad to be past the stage when the same kid would announce to everyone in the restaurant that the guy who left the restroom just before him and my husband did NOT WASH HIS HANDS. Gross. Dad, WHY did that GUY not WASH his HANDS?

Yeah, and dude, why were you licking the handrail in the grocery store? Seriously?

There is nothing like living with little petri dishes-slash-children to make you realize that we are further away from a global plague than one might think, otherwise we’d be goners by now.

It was the littler one who caused the most serious shiver moment in public when he was a baby.

We were at ShopKo, shopping for God knows what would cause us to navigate our way through traffic on what I’m sure was a Sunday afternoon. We were closing in on the checkout stand when he had the world’s worst diaper blow-out.

if you have ever had a baby in your care, you can understand how someone can be an absolute disaster south of the equator, and perfectly happy up north at exactly the same time.

Colin’s diaper was, at this moment, completely failing to contain the carnage. So was his onesy, his footie pants, and coat. Brown, smelly goo was slopping from him to cover the whole front end of the cart just as I was entering the checkout line.

Fortunately, I had reinforcements. I sent Mike through to pay for our goods and watch the elder of the two hooligans we had produced lest he recreate the whole licking incident, while I took the younger, explosive one into the restroom.

I couldn’t pull him from the quagmire he’d created and just leave the cart in any good conscience so I wheeled the both of them into the restroom in one, big bubble of stink. Another woman was exiting a stall with a little girl, looked at me and my little stink bomb and sighed.

“Oh, I don’t miss those days,” she said.

Whatever, lady. Shut up with your sympathy.

I pulled the baby from the cart, changed him and cleaned him up the best I could.

I tried to clean the cart, too. Have you ever done that? Shopping carts have many cricks and crevasses. Oh, Jesus. This was bad. Anyone else touching this cart, anyone putting their precious baby in this cart, was going to be stricken with cholera or whatever touching feces caused.

I took the baby and the cart back out to the customer service desk and waited in line.

A long line.

I waited through conversations about nonfunctional vacuum cleaners and the repercussions when one doesn’t have the receipt. Finally I got to the front of the line with the soiled cart and the baby held in the crook of my arm that felt like it would break off.

“How can I help you?” The guy asked.

“Um. My child soiled this cart. It was pretty bad.” I said in a low voice. “I think what you should do is take the thing outside and hose it down before anyone else is allowed to use it. Either that or incinerate it. That would be good. Do you have any budding arsonists interested in testing the ignition point of the plastics on this cart?”


“I need you to make sure this cart is taken out somewhere and destroyed, or sanitized. My child here has had a major diaper blow out and I don’t want anyone touching this cart before it’s cleaned.”

“I … what?”

God almighty.

“My baby SHIT in this CART.” I said. “It was huge and leaked and seeped into every crevasse and I want to make sure no one else touches this thing before it is sanitized,” I said. “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

“Uh,” he said.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I had just yelled about poop in front of a long line of people in the customer service line at ShopKo.

I turned and headed for the door.

An older woman leaned out at me as I rushed past the group.

“Honey, really, thank you,” she said.


Thank YOU for voting. It encourages me to keep oozing this stuff out.


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  1. Hilarious! Sorry it had to happen to you, but at least I can laugh at you about it. My kid licked Disneyland last winter and came down with an illness so bad that he has stopped the licking completely (thankfully).

    1. That\’s what you call natural consequences! Unfortunately(?) nothing happened directly as a result of the licking incident, so we couldn\’t curb it immediately. And if you\’ve been there, you should certainly feel free to laugh (at me, with me, next to me, whatever)!

  2. You are hilarious. I laughed out loud at the line: \”Whatever, lady. Shush with your sympathy.\”

    1. To be honest, I probably was thinking more colorful than \”shush,\” but thanks, Karen!

  3. Naturally I had to follow the last post of yours that I read to this one, because you said Target. My best stories have Target in them-what is it about that place that brings out the best (or in some cases, the worst) in people when it comes to blog fodder?

    My kids have licked everything in that store, including the cart, but I must admit that is one place that neither has had any sort of poop accident in. *Knocking very loudly*