Prescription for Disaster

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Pooping Tree

The Pooping Tree

We are a family destined to never have a weekend without some sort of incident. I have come to accept that, and this weekend was no different. 

A favourite friend of mine recently told me that I 'don't quite view the world the way everyone else does - that not only do excessively weird things happen to me but that I laugh about thing in ways that maybe most people don't.' She's a psychotherapist, so I tend to take her somewhat seriously. I cannot understand, however, how these things continue to happen - and how anyone would not also laugh until they nearly wet themselves in these situations.

But I honestly wouldn't want it any other way.

This weekend featured a hike through the woods around Ashridge Estate, a beautiful woodland full of deer and dense forest surrounding a picturesque manor home. The area is dotted with ivy covered cottage farms and bright yellow canola fields - dangerously easy to get lost and with somewhat difficult to spot trails - which explains why you periodically see pairs of hikers thrashing through the brush like drunken yeti's, searching for anything that might resemble a walking path. But you don't see other people often on this trail.

In hindsight it wouldn't be a bad place to hide a body.

We had been walking for about an hour and a half straight when Kaitie started to get uncomfortable. She wasn't thirsty, she wasn't tired. She wasn't hungry, she wasn't just a whiny three year old. She had to poop.

Okay, no problem. We can do this. Pooping in the woods is totally no big deal - in fact it's a life skill. See? We're good parents! Plus, we've done it before - on a previous hike in which the entire family descended into outdoor bodily function mayhem. She got her pants down and I scooped her up, squatting down myself and using her weight as a counter-balance to keep us both upright, me again holding her by the back of her knees. Paul and Lochie went off to find walking sticks and to leave us in relative peace. My thighs quickly started to burn, I wouldn't be able to hold this position for long. I urged her to hurry, to which she responded with a mighty squeeze, her little legs straightening as I felt her entire body tremble with effort. I couldn't help myself, I started laughing. She told me it wasn't funny, which made it that much funnier. 

She squeezed out a little deer-poop and was so proud of herself that she twisted around to take a look at her accomplishment, nearly knocking me over in the process. I regained my footing, beads of sweat dripping down my face. I couldn't hold this position much longer, and called to Paul - he was going to have to come take over soon. Huar Huar then came out of nowhere, diving between my legs to try to get at her poop-nugget  - "Gaaah! No Huar Huar! Don't be disgusting! Honey, help! I can't hold her while fending him off!"

We needed a break, this was not a normal poop - this was going to take some time. So Paul found her a log.

And so we waited. And waited. 

And waited. 

Alright, this wasn't going to happen, perhaps it would be best if we kept going and she could walk it through her system - so off we went to continue on our hike. We had been going for another 20 minutes or so when Kaitie stopped on the trail, clutching at her bum. 

"I need to poop!"

Can you wait honey? We're almost to the manor house and I'm sure they have a washroom there.

"No, I need to poop now!"

Okay, wow. Alright, hang on, we'll find you a place to go.

"It's coming out in my pants, Mum" (she says this in a total dead-pan)

Oh my God ,what? Okay, okay - Paul, we need a log! It's going to be a big one! I picked up Kaitie and ran after Paul, who had found... Kaitie's pooping tree:

There was a small dry log directly in front of the tree and I stuck Kaitie on it, who strained and pushed like a snake trying to pass a small goat as we, her loving and supporting family, laughed until we cried. We were laughing with her, of course. Paul then noticed a major flaw in our plan - directly across from Kaitie was some sort of very large fox-hole in the base of the tree. Were there foxes in there? We both peered down inside, listening for sounds of life. Nothing, and we slowly backed away, keeping an eye on the fox hole lest a fox randomly burst out of there after Kaitie, who was determined not to move from that log for anything.

It was also about this time that we heard a sound off in the distance - our entire family suddenly still and completely alert - relaxing our vision as native Indians did in Canada when hunting to draw our eyes to movement (who said outdoor-ed was a waste of time in junior high?). We all turned to movement off in the distance to our left - a lone mountain biker was about to happen upon our perfectly normal family all hovering over a half-naked toddler straining over a fallen tree. No no no no no, please turn. Please please please please turn. Go any other way but this one. We all waited and watched silently, like deer in headlights - collectively sighing with relief as the biker did indeed turn the other way, then laughing like hyenas when his bike tire got caught in the mud and launched him off his bike and into a bush. Quiet and discreet hyenas, but hyenas none the less.

Kaitie announced that she was done - but our stash of biodegradeable TP was already gone. I had nothing.

"There's poop stuck in my bum."

What? What do you mean 'stuck'? Paul told Kaitie to 'assume the position' and he took a brave look - "yep. There's poop stuck in there alright."

"Get it out Mum!"

Wait, why me? WHY IS IT ALWAYS ME?!? Dad's right here too!

"Just get it out Mummy!"

Ah crap. I looked at Paul in desperation, I didn't have any tissues left and was considering using her socks. Paul unclipped the water bottle from my pack, asking me if I'd had all I wanted to drink. 

"Yeah, why?" He then asked the kids if they wanted any more water. "No? Good. Because either we sort out some leaves of this water bottle becomes a bidet."

Oh hell no.

In the end we found some large leaves and, after googling images of 'stinging nettles' and 'poison oak' from our phones in the woods I used them to clean up Kaitie, unsure of what to then do with the rather large collection of dirty, dirty leaves. 

And then I remembered the fox hole.

The rest of the hike was reasonably uneventful as we made it to the manor house, came upon a full village memorial for a horse and risked a deer stampede just so Paul could show up his mother's expensive camera with pictures taken from his phone. We started the long hike back through the woods when...

Lochie had to poop.

"Not on my tree!" shouted her sister as we tried (in vain) to convince Lochie to hold it until we got back to the car, or at least to a less populated part of the woods. It was happening now, like it or not (what is with my family?) There was a large log-pile up ahead, clearly stocked in the woods for use at the estate over the winter. I pointed it out to Lochie, we just had to make it to the privacy of the log-pile and she could let loose. Paul ran ahead of us to set up a log, which he had to take from the actual log pile and position behind the mound on the other side of the trail.

Can't we do anything like a normal family?

We all huddled around Lochie for support - she wasn't as cool with woodland pooping as her sister - and quietly coached her through the ordeal, again, gathering leaves and leaving a little mess of horrors for the estate groundskeeper to find later (I'm so sorry). Phew, it was done, we pulled up her pants, dusted her off and gave her a high - five, then we stepped out from behind the large woodpile and screamed -

We had scared the ever living crap out of an elderly couple walking along the path as our family of four just randomly jumped out at them from behind a woodpile in the forest. Six people screaming and clutching their chests in a huge forest with no sign of people in any direction, Huar Huar having been too interested in the poop to give us any kind of warning or for the couple to have seen him running around. They must have thought we'd been waiting for them from behind the log pile. 

How do you recover from something like that?

You don't. So we did the most British thing we could think of, commented aloud on the weather, wished them a good day and walked away as though nothing had happened at all.

One of these days we'll have a nice, normal day out.

One day.

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