I probably should not be telling this story. There are some things we are better off not knowing. I don’t need to know how hotdogs are made. They just taste so good. And I don’t want to hear about what happens in restaurant kitchens. I just want to enjoy a meal out.
After taking Thing 1 and Thing 2 to the pool in the morning, I thought we’d go by this new Burger King with the biggest, two story play place I’ve ever seen. After which, they would surely be wiped out and the rest of my Saturday would be easy.
This play place had 4 levels of tunnels, slides, and climbing. There was actually a sign that said maximum capacity was 215 people! Surely that can’t be right. The Things were loving it. They played for almost 30 minutes before deciding it was time to eat.
At one point, I heard Thing 2 crying three levels above me. The one bad (or good) feature of this place was that I couldn’t see them. All the kids were hidden in the tunnels, and you could only hear them and the dozen or so other kids. Thing 2 had gotten lost and couldn’t find his way out. I sent Thing 1 on a search mission to bring back his brother, and all was good.
They had their lunch. Chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. Then, back up into the stratosphere which was this play place.
There were only a few other groups in the play area at this time. One was a dad by himself with six kids. I don’t know if they were all his, but this man is my hero.
Now I heard Thing 1 crying. This time he was the one who was lost, and was in a panic. Not to worry, Thing 2 to the rescue. It was kind of funny, actually, to see the 3 year old bring back his older brother from the brink.
They made their way down to the entrance. Thing 2 first, with Thing 1 not far behind, still crying. The other dad was at the entrance with his youngest, a toddler.
The other dad was trying to comfort Thing 1. “You’re OK now”, he said. Then, the dad started yelling at Thing 1 to “Put it down! Don’t touch it!”
I still don’t know why I’m telling this story.
I saw Thing 1 holding something in his right hand. It was brown and cylindrical. Do I have to say more?
Thing 1 was now hysterical with everyone telling him to put the poop down. He dropped it where he stood, like Michael Corleone dropped the gun after shooting The Turk, and I whisked him off to the bathroom. What kind of a public play area has poop lying in it? How long had it been there? Why did my kid pick it up?
On the way to the bathroom, I discovered it was Thing 1’s poop. He either had to go potty, but was lost in the maze and couldn’t make it in time. Or, because he was lost and scared, he pooped in his pants. Whatever the reason, it had literally hit the fan.
I don’t know why I’m telling this story.
We emerged from the bathroom after about 10 minutes. I still had to go back to the play area to get their shoes. I thought about making a run for the car. To hell with the shoes. I can get new shoes.
I just did not want to face the other parents back in the play area. I was mortified. I’m pretty sure the other dad didn’t realize, at least at first, that it was Thing 1’s own poop in his hand.
We entered the play area room. There was a poor teenager, probably pulled from his usual job making fries, with plastic gloves on, “sanitizing” the play structure. It looked like the site of a toxic waste cleanup.
I looked nobody in the eye, put their shoes on as fast as I could, and left the premises. Fast.
Needless to say, this will be my last trip to a fast food play area. If this happened to me, I’m sure it’s not the first time there has been poop in a Burger King, McDonald’s, or other seemingly innocent place where preschoolers gather. Once you have this kind of information, there is no going back.