Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures at the Germ Tree

When my sister Tammy was pregnant with her second child, she was put on bed rest. Her daughter, Emma, was 3 at the time and potty training so it was kind of tough for Tammy to keep up with her since she really had to stay down for a good part of the day. At that time, my sister Erin only had her oldest daughter, Savannah, who was about a year and a half. Erin and I decided that we would go pick Emma up and take her out for the day. We figured it would be a nice break for Tammy and it would be fun for Emma and Savannah to play with each other.

Erin had the great idea to take the kids to the Germ Tree at the mall. It's a little playground in the middle of the mall that is made up of little plastic mushrooms, little plastic rocks, little plastic pathways, little plastic hollow logs to crawl through, and a big plastic tree that has a mildly disturbing smile. No, it's not REALLY called the Germ Tree . . . that's the name that Erin gave it because it's always teeming with kids and, therefore, germs. Until that day, Erin had refused to take Savannah to the Germ Tree because, well, she called it the GERM TREE.

We arrived at the mall and Emma and Savannah were so excited so we let them loose inside the playground and they ran off. Erin was in charge of watching Savannah and I was in charge of watching Emma. It was a hard job . . . it's stressful to keep an eye on a little kid in the middle of a busy playground! At one point, a kid who must have been 8 years old ran past Savannah and almost knocked her down. Erin glared at the kid and yelled so that he could hear, "That's ok, Savannah. Mommy's got his number. That's right - Mommy's got his number . . ."

Emma and Savannah had been playing in separate parts of the playground but, at one point, they were standing in the same general vicinity and we noticed that Savannah was crouched down, staring at something on the ground. Erin and I squinted to see what it was. Right about the time we realized it was a suspicious pile of brown something-or-other, we saw Savannah reach out to touch it. Erin let out a primal scream and began running toward Savannah, hopping over plastic mushrooms and logs and knocking small children out of the way. As she was running, Savannah managed to get her finger into the pile and was in process of raising her finger to her mouth. She was still crouched down, her mouth was open, and her loaded-up finger was making the approach when Erin reached her and grabbed her hand. I was frozen on the edge of the playground, totally useless but thoroughly entertained.

Erin quickly brought Savannah over to the outside perimeter of the playground for an emergency damage assessment. She noticed that Savannah had also stepped in the pile of poop so she had poop on her sock. Erin began trying to pry the sock off without touching any of the poop and was emitting an high-pitched sound and trying to form unintelligible words of disgust. And she was gagging. Repeatedly. By this time, there were about 10 outraged, sympathetic mothers surrounding Erin, all speaking in a similar high-pitched tone and saying things like "This is ridiculous! I can't believe that someone would allow their child to poop in the middle of the playground! We need to call security! Someone should do something about this! What kind of mother would allow this??" Erin tried to chime in with them between gags.

Meanwhile, I was trying to help Erin while keeping my eye on Emma. I called Emma over to me so that I could keep her close and not have to worry about losing track of her. As she walked toward me, I realized that she, too, had stepped in the poop. In her case, though, it was looked as if she has SLID through the poop because it was all over her sock and up the back of her leg. For a second, I wondered if I could just return Emma back to Tammy in this state and avoid the clean-up. Then I noticed that she had poop all up the back of her legs, disappearing under her dress. I was horrified. It was like a poop massacre.

Suddenly, a horrifying thought entered my mind. What if Emma was the culprit? What if SHE had an accident and SHE was the one who had pooped in the playground? What if WE were the terrible people who had allowed a child to take a poop in the middle of the playground? Slowly, I raised the back of Emma's dress to see her underwear and, sure enough, it was loaded up and overflowing. I quickly pulled her dress down and looked around, wide-eyed, hoping no one else had seen. Luckily, they had been too busy ranting and raving on what a horribly irresponsible parent was responsible for this. I made eye contact with Erin and squeaked out a whisper so that no one would hear me: "It was Emma!" Erin looked at me, stunned. We knew we'd have a riot on our hands if we were discovered. She squeaked back, "Gooooooooooooo. Get out of here! Save yourselves!" It may sound dramatic now but, let me tell ya people, this mob was ready to KILL someone.

I didn't have to be told twice. I took Emma's hand and led her out of the playground, without looking back. She waddled along, no doubt finding it difficult to walk with the adult-like LOAD she was carrying. I hoped that she wasn't dropping little presents along the way but, if she had been, I was prepared to run like Hell if anyone called me out for it. I took her into the bathroom of the closest department store and began the mother of all clean-ups.

After Emma and I had left, Erin quickly packed up our things and left the scene of the crime. One mother stopped her on her way out and said that the security guard had determined it was just chocolate. Erin just laughed nervously.

So we decided that the Germ Tree just wasn't for us and vowed to never return. We choose to go to the pool now. Nothing bad can happen THERE . . . right??


Emma said...

Nooooo!! Weren't you sworn to secrecy??!! Don't think I will ever not laugh at that story, or hearing the two of you retell it!!! I'm crying now laughing again. Great start to my morning again....I think :)

Anonymous said...

again, coffee just isnt an option when i read these catherine!!! micah, my 10yr old had to take over reading 1/2 way thru!, the look on micahs face was a bit worried b/c she doesnt get to see me laugh THAT hard....tears were streaming out of my eyes!! thanks!!

Alana said...

kinda sad when dustin and I are still in bed trying to wake up--and instead of saying, "good morning honey," or, "how did you sleep," -- we just reach for the laptop and begin reading AND laughing of course!!

Anonymous said...

another good ab workout!!! thanks to you!!!

Deborah said...

As I read the title I wondered if this was the story. I remember exactly when that happened as Tammy told me all about it - horrified! You do seem to tell it much better though!

Stephanie said...

i seriously laughed til i cried reading this out loud to Donnie...lol...friggin awesome!

Christi said...

Been there, done that... not at the germ tree, but it was definitely a stinker of a day. :P So funny how many mommy experiences you already have. Just wait til you have a plethera of little catchys running around. I can't wait to read it then!

Amy Daniel said...

Hahaha! Now THAT is funny.