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The Day I Earned my Mom Badge

Mother’s Day Story: “Real Mom”

My children didn’t come to me in the usual way. I was there to receive my daughter Tessa when her first mom delivered her many years ago. Two years later I became mom to Reed thanks to his first mom.

Because I missed out on pregnancy, sometimes people wonder when I felt like a “real” mom.

I have loved them both from the the moments I knew of their existence. But the lovin’ wasn’t proven until Tessa was about 3 months old.

My Admittance to the Sisterhood of Mothers

Roger had a conference in Costa Rica one summer, and I didn’t want to miss the chance to travel with him. So we recruited two babysitters — the kind who buy their own airline tickets and hotel room — a/k/a “parents.” My parents.

Listen To Your Mother Show in Denver, 2013


Three-month-old babies have a surprising amount of stuff. Clothing, diapers, wipes, and (in our case) formula, bottles, washing paraphernalia and drool cloths. One of the bulkiest things a baby needs is a bath seat that fits in a bathtub or over a sink. Bulky!

I envisioned getting on the plane with all her stuff and my stuff and a car seat and a stroller, and it was easy to decide we could do without the bath. I’d just bathe her with me.

Our hotel room had a beautiful deck bath. Deep but not long or wide. I filled it up (it took awhile because of the volume) and got in with Tessa. We played and burbled for awhile, happy in our liquid cocoon.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you might know what’s coming.

Go ahead. Try to look away.

Somewhere during Rubber Ducky (perhaps the line, you make bath time lots of fun?) Tessa got that look on her face. The one where her mouth turns into a downward arc which is not a frown. The one that shows exertion.

I couldn’t get us out of the bath quickly enough without putting us both at risk. I yelled for Roger, for my mom, for anyone sitting in the next room.

At best, I’m thinking, the product of her efforts will be discrete. Contained. Easily removable. Pleasegod, pleasegod, pleasegod.

But noooooooo.

Within seconds, I am sitting in a vat of poop soup. Baby Tessa has the squirts.

What could I do?

My mom comes in, and quickly assesses what has happened. She grabs Tessa from me, and I open the drain.

Mom works at the sink to clean up Tessa, who is squealing happily at the crap storm she has unleashed. I wait in the tub as the soup recedes, shivering and wanting desperately to get clean. It takes forever because of the sheer volume of water, and for the, um, is viscosity the right word?

While trying to decide the best way out of this mess, Mom and I start to laugh hysterically. Tessa gets in on our giggles as well. (I just HOPE she was laughing with me and not at me. But I’m not sure.)

Mom and I share a moment of knowing. I feel like I did the day I bridged from Brownies to Girl Scouts. See, I didn’t cross the bridge into Motherhood via the usual route: pregnancy, labor, childbirth. There was never a defining moment where I felt accepted into the sisterhood of mothers.

Until Costa Rica, where I most definitely earned my badge.

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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46 Responses

  1. Gotta love poo in the tub stories! One time I caught B.B. trying to…uh…”sample” his big brother’s poo in the tub. B.B. was just old enough to sit up alone in the tub & I had turned my back on them long enough to get the baby wash out of the shower. No one ever told me motherhood would involve saying things like, “No, Baby! Nasty! Don’t eat Bubba’s poop! Spit it out! Spit it out!”

  2. Kids LOVE those stories — W can’t get enough of the story where poo flies up G’s arm when he’s changing him…he ADORES it…snickers like an evil genius each time its brought up…and I love your mom. That’s a wonderful story.XOPam

  3. Oh no!! This reminds me of the time Claire pooped in my hair…at 3am (not that there’s a better time to poop in someone’s hair), and she was on the changing table at the time. Just think of the logistics of that situation! LOL! I’m glad you could (and can) laugh about it, because only a mother (parent) truly can. Badge indeed…I’d say you earned a couple of them that night!

  4. At this point I can only dream of getting pooped on. Note to weirdos of the world: That is not an invitation. I only want my own child to poop on me. Not that I <>want<>… argh, you know what I mean.

  5. What a great defining moment! I betcha that she loves to hear that story! Liam’s favorite story is to hear about the time I took of his diaper and he peed in my eye!Ahhhh kids and bodily functions. It doesn’t get much more mothery!

  6. oh, boy! Yesterday I thought you were setting us up for a tween angst moment. This is great, though. I’d say you earned a whole sash worth of badges.

  7. What a beautiful moment! Three months is such a great age. She was certainly in on the joke and must have felt soo good once that poop was out of her. Thanks for the story. You brought tears to my eyes.(p.s. I am laughing AT you.)

  8. That is so funny, Lori. I can’t wait to tell my nephew about the time he pooped on me in a restaurant and I didn’t even notice until I passed him back to his mother and realized his thunder poop of a few minutes ago had escaped his diaper and soaked through his clothes and mine. Yup, you know you love somebody when they can poop on you and you just laugh.

  9. This image of “Poop Soup” will live with me Forever!! LMAO, ROFL, Thank you! Your mom is GREAT! You deserve an “Uber Mom Badge” or something for this, great story.

  10. I took countless baths with my son and never once did it cross my mind that such a thing might happen. I think I dodged a bullet. Whew!

  11. I can see why she loves the story. It’s a great inversion of power at such a tiny and helpless age. It’s terrific! And it’s what kids love best.So, now your a veteran mom. thanks for sharingBarbs

  12. Enjoyed your story again Lori! I have yet to come across an adoptive parent who has not grown to love her adopted baby. Those I have heard of, were already a few years old when they were adopted. I figured those weren’t disciplined from young.Keep lovin!

  13. LOL! Sam did something similar to me. He had been all backed up the night before and at 5 AM woke up crying, ready to eat. I fed him, went to change his diaper in the semi-gloom and SQUIRT! all over my leg. SQUIRT! all over the blankets. Sarge wandered in a little while later, as I was stripping Sam down, and inquired as to what was going on. “I’m giving your son a bath!” I grumpily replied. But secretly I was thrilled to have a “real” mom story to tell.

  14. Oh good lord. That is so freaking gross. I have never had that happen to me (yet).I did, however, have my darling daughter puke directly into my mouth once.

  15. oh wow, that’s a great one. I’m sure her prom date will just LOVE it! can’t wait to earn my badge. especially if it’s on vacation…funny how chicklet loves the POO story too!

  16. That is true love! I can only hope I’ll be such a good mom someday. Your mom sounds awesome! You are sooooo lucky!

  17. This is fantastic…and she won’t appreciate it for a looooong time in between ‘not very long from now’ and if she decides to become a mother someday. I have one of those stories…and I do think they are laughing AT, not WITH…but what do I know? hee hee…I’ll be chuckling over that for a while this weekend!

  18. I am happy to say that I have never had this experience. And, should I ever have grandchildren, I hope to continue never having this experience.No. Thank. You.Yuk.heh.

  19. You see, this is just one of those things about motherhood you CAN’T prepare for! LOL! You wouldn’t believe it before you became a mother even if someone tried to warn you!

  20. That is so funny. I had something similar happen years ago but I will never forget it.

    Happy ICLW!(#64)

  21. that’s so awful! my oldest daughter never did poop in the tub, but my younger one has on a few occasions. i hated cleaning up her infant tub, but it was worse when she was in the big tub – along with her sister – and pooped, because then we had 2 wet, naked kids to worry about.

  22. I loved this post! I hope you won’t mind me sharing a moment that I will always remember, from my daughter Sophie’s similar age. I took her with me to do the shopping at Costco and decided to feed her in the cafe and then eat my own lunch before moving on. She happily had her milk and I propped her up vertically to burp her, with a cloth under her. I heard a burp and stopped patting because it seemed she had fallen asleep, her head resting angelically on my shoulder. Suddenly, a woman tapped me and said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you, that your baby just vomited in your coat pocket.” My coat was hung over the back of the chair, and the patch pocket hung wide open. Sure enough, the baby had vomited on the cloth and it had just dripped in a continuous stream into my pocket. I looked at her, with her enormously long eyelashes fanning down over her cheeks and thought, this is love. It was February and I had to run out to the car without my jacket on. It was absolutley disgusting and I cried with laughter when I phoned my own mother and told her the story. It still makes me laugh to remember it.

    Lisa (ICLW #30 Your Great Life)

  23. Hello!!!! Been away, barely skimmed your posts, busy, busy, busy.

    I don’t know why I landed on this one, but I did. I used to bathe with the LB all the time (oh, almost forgot her blog name) and was pooped on more than once. Fun! 😉

    Love the new name. It fits you.

    Some day in the not too distance future, I hope to get back to my blog and do a better job of keeping up on others.

  24. stopped by from iclw, and so glad i clicked on this link….what a great story!! i needed that laugh. without a doubt…. true love

  25. SOOO funny!

    My little Oscar (17 months) just pooped in the tub a few nights ago. I had the same horror, as I myself was sitting on the thrown taking care of a number 1, and I saw the bubbles coming up from his behind…I couldn’t get myself off the pot quick enough to get him on the potty to try to let it unleash there. Next thing I knew Oscar says “uh oh” as he watches the big brown boat float around in his tub. And then he goes back to playing. EEEEW!

    You haven’t lived until you’ve had to clean a poo out of the tub!

  26. I know this is an older post, but had to comment! Love this story. For me, I really became a Mom when my oldest–just a few months old–while we were playing, with him laughing up in my arms above my head, he……yes….vomited into my upturned wide open gleefully laughing mouth!!

  27. Just read this for the first time today and really appreciate this story! Somehow you managed to make me laugh and get misty with your account of this story. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  28. My daughter was a formula baby. The first time we traveled with her, I packed a case of – wait for it – glass bottles of formula in my suitcase. Checked the suitcase. Every single one broke. That was a moment of disaster that I’ll never forget! Becoming a mother, after we have babies to love, takes time.

  29. Such a right of passage, those blow-outs! Funny how we moms have these poop stories- I think I have at least one for each of my kiddos!

  30. Oh my goodness this made me laugh! I’m dying to know now that she’s a few years older, what does she think of the story? Does she still love it?

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