True Story: Code Brown, Sound the Alarm

“Karen!” I shout-whispered to my sister-in-law from the top of the stairs at my mother-in-law’s neighbor’s house. “I need you. We’ve got a code brown.”

It was a house full of lunching, punch-drinking ladies for my sister-in-law Patti’s bridal shower. A neighbor was kind enough to offer up her house to host the party. The thought was, show off Ollie a little to the doting women and bring the pack-n-play so he can nap at some point. I checked on him every 15 minutes/half hour. At one point, he was just laying there looking dreamily out the window. The other time, he was standing with poopy pants, so I changed him. “Lay head-y down, close those baby eyes,” I said and left.

I was downstairs chatting with Karen and some bridesmaids, finally cooling off (it was like 93 degrees in the house), enjoying a beer, when I thought, “He’s so quiet, he’s either sleeping (finally!) or playing. Better check on him.”

Just beyond the big four-post guest bed, I saw a little naked boy covered in his poo. It is the sight you think about as a parent – vividly, even – but never truly prepare for, even thought you know you’re always one nap away from it at any time. Here I was, alone in a stranger’s house armed with only a box of wipes, a bottle of hand sanitizer and a bag of diapers. So I got to work. Ollie is old enough to understand “no” and we aren’t afraid to use it, so I knew I had to first let him know what he did was wrong.  “No, no,” I said. “We don’t do that.”

But then, as I looked at him figuring out where to start with this whole mess, I was like, he’s 15 months old. I left him in here in his diaper and t-shirt to his own devices. He knows how to open the tabs on his diaper. He took a shit. He played with said shit. It’s not completely his fault an I need to share some of the responsibility.

Plus, it could have been uglier. It could have been diarrhea. It could have been smeared all over the whole room, not just himself and his pack-n-play. Also, he could have been 10 years old.

So I just got to work, careful not to make a big mess worse. I essentially gave him a hand sanitizer bath, sailor style and got him dressed in a change of clothes (a change of clothes is a must-have until your kid is like 15).

Picked up each little baby poo patty and wrapped it up in clean diapers. Cleaned and folded up the pack-n-play. Only when everything was clean did I call for the big guns (Karen) for some garbage bags and moral support. What a goddess.

Our host was graceful. I had to dish on what happened because a few of her stuffed toys fell victim to the poo-splosion. “Remember, I have three kids,” she said and hugged me.

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1 Response to “True Story: Code Brown, Sound the Alarm”


  1. 1 katiekw April 14, 2010 at 7:46 am

    you rule. nicely handled.


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