Poop and Panera

Over the holidays, we traveled to and fro, over the river and thru the woods to Grammy & Grandpa’s house in Oklahoma.  Really, we drove west thru 5 different states, for 18 hours stopped along the way at 4 different Panera restaurants.  We plotted our stops out carefully with the help of Yelp.  We timed our intake of liquids and held our pee in order to only have to stop at a Panera.  Because We are food snobs.  and coffee snobs.

But we are not poop snobs.  We deal with shit on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day. For the last 7.5 years, our lives have been enhanced by experiences with shit.  Thanks to our 3 wee Babs, we are experts at changing diapers, in any position, on any surface and wiping up their 
shit poop.  You get the picture.  And if you don’t, you can come over and visit anytime.

We regularly joke about poop.  It’s a daily part of our lives.  Our son plays with dolls – wait, did I just say that?  He plays with dolls by squeezing them, flying them around the room and chasing his sisters, while holding the doll over their heads, saying “I’m gonna poop on you!”.  The other day our 2 year old stepped into her own poop I had neglected to see and clean up.  It ended up on her heel, and tracked around the house as she came to find me and tell me her struggle.  I cleaned it up.  Shortly after, our family engaged in a wrestling cuddle match, one in which we rolled around on the carpet and rug that had just been cleaned. Yelling and laughing so hard we were crying saying, “Don’t roll in the poop!”

But I digress…back to our stop at Panera.  My oldest daughter and I went to use the Panera restroom, as custom before getting back in our van for the rest of our looooong drive.  As we were patiently waiting for an open stall, I gently told her, “Soleil this is your last chance to go potty before we get to Grammy & Grandpa’s.”  There are no more Panera’s along the way.  This may seem harsh for a mother to tell her daughter on a long road trip, but have you ever been in a Panera restroom?  They are NICE!  And given the options along I-70 and I-44, they are the definitely the best option.  No stoppin’ at Wendy’s, Love’s or Kum & Go gas stations for us – Panera all the way!  Though, Cracker Barrel is a close 2nd.

But I digress…again.  So we enter the “big” stall together and prepare to take care of business when what do I see on the toilet seat?  SHIT!  I mean, POOP!  Whatever you want to call it!   There it was, and it was the last thing I expected to see.  For a Panera bathroom, I had higher standards.  Sooo, I calmly took out a baby wipe and scrubbed down the toilet.  Then I proceeded to go first, in order to absorb any germs that might be lingering, so that Soleil wouldn’t have to.  Maybe all of this is TMI?  But I’m making a point, people.
We have lived many places, traveled to other countries, and poop is something I would expect to see in a bathroom in… India or another country.  Heck, I don’t even expect a toilet when we travel to India.  But not in the good ol’ US of A, and certainly not at a Panera!

But we are not poop snobs.  I left that Panera thankful.  Thankful for a toilet I had to clean first, thankful for toilet paper, thankful for soap & water to wash with, thankful for my family I have to travel with.  Thankful.  Even for the poop we have to deal with in our lives.
Note: this is the first of 3 Holiday Stories involving Panera, which I am affectionately calling “The Panera Series”…stay tuned!

Noted. By Les Babs

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