I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 7, 2013
Some stories just beg to be told on this blog… but the last thing I want to do is write a post that will embarrass my kids down the road.
So, the story I’m going to tell you today didn’t happen to me, m’kay?
It happened to a friend.
This friend went on a road trip with her two children recently– a road trip that should have taken four hours. Instead, my poor friend was on the road for six hours. This was partly due to an hour-long traffic jam midway through the trip.
But it was also due to the fact that there were not one but TWO separate Poo Poo Pit Stops.
If you’re not familiar with a poo poo pit stop, you’ve probably never taken a road trip with kids. My friend has yet to go on a single drive that’s lasted longer than two hours without one or both of her children announcing loudly, “I gotta go poo poo, Mommy. NOW.”
These announcements are always followed by quiet sighs and eye rolls from my friend and her husband, since they have learned from many, MANY experiences that these poo poo pit stops generally take anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes. While an adult in this situation would get this type of pit stop over with as quickly and efficiently as possible, my friend’s children seem to believe that poo poo pit stops are a time for quiet meditation, reflection on the meaning of life and the latest Spongebob episode, and, in one memorable instance, the entire libretto from “Annie.”
On this latest road trip, my friend was sans husband, so the pit stops were twice as tricky. The first one was anticipated. She waited to hear the call from the backseat, quickly found a McDonalds and followed up the pit stop (after 20 minutes of waiting in the bathroom) with the purchase of lunch. Once she got back on the road, she encountered the aforementioned hour-long traffic jam. That was followed by a downpour that caused her to slow to 50 mph and sit ramrod straight as she drove, squinting to see through the rain pounding down on her windshield. Five hours into the four-hour trip, her second child piped up from the backseat.
“I gotta go poo poo.”
“Are you sure?” she asked. “Can you hold it? We’re only an hour away. And it’s pouring rain. And it’s about to get dark.”
She received a wail in response.
“Okay, okay,” she muttered. “Give me a minute, will ya?”
Ordinarily, the preferred location for a poo poo pit stop is Cracker Barrel, which, as any seasoned traveler knows, tends to have the cleanest and safest restrooms on the road. However, since it was pouring rain and getting very dark outside, my friend opted instead to pull over at a well-populated rest area. With lightning speed, she got everyone out of the car, grabbed both her kids’ hands, and ran for the entrance. It was only then that she realized that everyone at this particular rest stop was wearing overalls. This realization deeply disturbed her– but it was too late to change course. Resolutely, she made her way through the sea of overalls and into the women’s restroom, where she deposited the poo poo’er in a stall and began The Longest Wait.
After five minutes had passed, she peered through the crack in the door and noted her child’s philosophical expression. There were no signs of any, uh, effort being put into the task at hand.
“How’s it going in there?” she asked.
“Still poo pooing,” was the benevolent reply.
“Okay,” she sighed. She knew better than to request that the child hurry up. She had tried that once in 2010, and received the same contemptuous expression that she imagined Michelangelo would have given if asked to do a “rush job” on the Sistine Chapel.
After a few more minutes passed, my friend peered beneath the stall. She shuddered. This particular child had a penchant for removing all clothing from the waist down when going to the restroom, whether at home or in a nasty-ass public restroom. Not only did this severely challenge my friend’s germaphobic tendencies, it also meant an extra five minutes of getting re-dressed once the toilet had been flushed.
Realizing there was nothing more she could do except wait, my friend pulled out her iPhone and checked her e-mail. Next, she texted her husband. Then, she played a round of Boggle. After that, she read War and Peace from beginning to end. Twice. Finally, she counted to infinity.
“I’m done!” her child announced five minutes after his mother had finished counting. My friend made sure everyone’s hands were washed before firmly propelling her children back through the crowd of overall-wearers and out of the building.
“Can we get a snack?” the children begged, pointing at a row of snack machines.
“No,” she said firmly as they emerged into the driving rain. It was now completely dark outside. Shee-ut.
Once everyone was back in the car and buckled up, my friend carefully got back onto the interstate. She glanced back at her child in the rearview mirror.
“You know,” she said casually, “you really don’t have to take everything off when you go to the bathroom. You could just pull your pants down to your knees instead. It’s a lot easier that way.”
“No, I have to take off my pants,” the child said dismissively.
“Why?” my friend asked.
“I have to kick my legs to make the poo poo come out.”
My poor, poor friend.
THANK GOD this has never happened to me.