I understand this is an odd blog post title, but give until the end and I think it will become clear. Having a toddler in the house makes every day an adventure… and exhausting, but that’s for a later post. This post is about one of those adventures and how it relates to real life.
Some days suck. At least for me that’s the case. I have more good days than sucky days and it’s been that way for a while, but I still have sucky days. Most of the suckiness resides in my head. It’s my interpretation of what is happening, not the reality of the situation, that leads to me describing my day as sucky. A few months ago I was having one of those days.
I don’t really remember the very specific details, but I do remember the lesson I learned. I’m fairly certain it was a weekend day, I know I was extremely tired and had been trying to get a variety of things accomplished, none of which were getting completed. I was tired, stressed because we had another baby coming in less than a couple months, and I felt overwhelmed and unprepared. Candidly, I also wasn’t getting to do what I “wanted” to be doing, which has been a major adjustment for me and as such I was frustrated and irritated.
Enter, Frankie, my 22 month old daughter at the time. I think she might have been having one those days as well, which is very unusual for her. She must have absorbed my energy that morning. Anyway, she’s running around having a grand old time and I realize she needs a diaper change. We’re nowhere near her room or the changing table, but my day must be getting better because there happens to be a diaper and wipes nearby. Perfect. I’ll bang this out in less than a minute and get back to whatever it was that was so important that I couldn’t take a five minute break. Apparently, I hold the office of the President of the United States on the weekends.
She runs. I catch her. She screams. I carry her to the nice white sofa. Makes sense right, a large soft landing area where I can make the quick change. She’s kicking, screaming and struggling and I’m just trying to get this done as fast as I can. As I’m taking the diaper off, with one hand because I’m holding her feet with the other hand, she flips over on her stomach and the diaper comes loose from my grip. Like a movie in slow motion, I see the contents of the diaper separating from the diaper, flying through the air and heading for a landing on the nice white sofa cushion.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO is all I could hear echoing in my own mind, except it wasn’t the word no and it started with a capital F. Knowing what the ramifications are for ruining things in the house (which I do often) I had too options and both sucked. One, let it fall and deal with the justified frustrations from my wife, mother-in law and brother or two, catch it and deal with consequences of my own actions by catching a ball of shit in my bare hand. I chose the latter and it was as gross as you think it would be!
So, what’s the point? Here is the lesson I learned. Sometimes the only options I have in front of me are sucky options. That’s life. Not all situations are good ones. Most of the time I’m the one who caused the situation in the first place. Looking back at times recent or past when my only options have been sucky ones I realize that it was never a result of something happening at the moment, but a result of poor decisions I made leading up to that moment. There is no one else to blame or person to get pissed off at. I just realize I have to deal with the consequences, make the best of it, learn from it and try and make better decisions moving forward.
In this situation I could have gotten frustrated with Frankie or the poop in my hand or work because I was working on a weekend or whatever. However, I chose not to get frustrated at all. Instead, I started laughing so hard that I was almost crying. Frankie of course, thought this was the funniest thing she had ever seen. She starts screaming / laughing, running around the house naked while I’m laughing hysterically with a giant ball of shit in my hand.
My day sucked less after that because I got some perspective on what was really important in my life and learned an important lesson. Sometimes you just have to catch the poop.