Picture the scene, my daughter and I huddling by the car door as traffic zooms past at what feels like a hundred miles per hour on the A34. Coco squatting on the portable potty squeezing out a poo, starring in my eyes as she strains and grunts. This was the better part of my day on what will forever be known as the world’s worst car journey…ever.
When I heard my mum was meeting my brother, his girlfriend and my nephew for lunch on what was forecast to be a sunny Saturday, I wanted a piece of the action. Yes, I had not long been potty training Coco and, yes, Raffy hates his car seat, but why not!? Winchester is just a mere 2 hours away and if we scheduled it for nap time everyone would sleep. What a fool!
The morning started off well. I somehow managed to remember the six billion pieces of baby paraphernalia required for a short day trip and everyone was in the car and ready to rumble on time. I should have known then something fishy was going on, but off we trotted optimistically unaware of what was about to unfold on this fateful day.
My first mistake I realised, as I read the large information boards hanging over the A406, was trusting the sodding sat nav and heading straight towards Wembley on the same day as a major event. Yes I needed a wee, but Coco had just been and the sooner we could get off the nasty North Circular the better. Let’s aim for a service station on the M25, a much better idea…or maybe not. Hello M25, bumper to bumper traffic, and the beginning of “are we nearly theeeerrre yet?” for the eight hundredth time that day. Seeing that her non-stop, deranged chattering was starting to take effect on my previously chilled out chi, Coco then figured it was time to take things up a gear and began straining for a poo in her car seat. Marvellous. Cue my panicked screams as I tried to force Coco to keep her cheeks clenched until we could reach the next service station and use the portable potty. Slowly but surely the traffic started to ease up and now convinced she was no longer about to sh*t herself, Coco drifted off into a sweet slumber. Perfect, peace at last. The only nagging problem was I still needed to pee, and it was beginning to get pretty urgent.
As we began to approach the M3 I finally spotted a sign detailing the distance to the service stations – 9 miles on the M25…19 miles on the M3. With quite possibly the world’s weakest pelvic floor, it was at this moment that I realised we had a problem. Determined not to be undeterred by the road works, and now the piercing screams coming from the back seat, I began the final stretch to Fleet services. But I knew this was going to be touch and go. With one unhappy baby, one sleepy toddler and only one parent I knew the chances of me “embarrassing myself” in front of the fellow drivers at Fleet was going to be high. That’s when I spotted the portable potty bags and loo roll in the front seat and had the most mental eureka moment known to man. I think you can imagine what happened next. Oh sweet relief. Panic only set in again when I remembered my daughter no doubt also needed the toilet, meaning I would have to convince her to hold fire and not copy her deranged mother. Instead Coco waited patiently for me and sat on her potty like a normal civilised human being. The shame.
I wish I could say the rest of the journey got better, but sadly it did not. Despite doing a very good job of convincing me he was about to starve, Raffy was simply refusing to feed (yes, I also got my boobs out in Fleet. I might as well have stood there naked). Unfortunately this lead to a further road side stop off when the screams got so bad I thought he was about to have a fit, but yet still no feeding. After a missed turning and a further 10 minutes of yelling, this time from me, we finally reached our destination. The cheese burger did go some way to make up for the traumatic events of the morning, and time spent with my lovely family is always “embarrassing myself” for. However, the roadside poop I mentioned at the start of my story, and the warning light coming on in the car on the way home were enough to convince me I am never travelling on my tod with the two kids again. Not for the next week anyway.
Please don’t let me be alone in sharing my hideously embarrassing story. I would love to hear your funniest “red-faced” tales too. After all, it’s often a case of laugh or cry when it comes down to this parenting malarkey, and after this weekend I could certainly do with a giggle!