I woke up to baby snuggles like I do most mornings. Xander cooed, wriggling around to blink his sleepy eyes up at my face as he touched my cheek with his impossibly soft little hands. And then he looked me in the eye as he let rip a torrent of poo that immediately started exploding from the leg holes and back of his diaper. Of course, this was the one morning that the mattress cover was in the wash, so the only barrier between copious amounts of poo and the mattress was a thin sheet. I ninja rolled out of bed with him, taking the brunt of the poo onto me to try to save the bed from being a permanently stained mess. As I leapt up, I glanced down to see the dog vomiting in the spot where my foot needed to land. I kid you not, he couldn’t have timed it more precisely to make sure I stepped in his puke. So step in it I did, but I was carrying a baby who was literally dripping shit, so I had to just keep moving and trail dog vomit footprints across the floor to the changing table.
I started to battle the poop only to find that we had one wipe left. One. Of course. This was more like a four wipe and a bath mess, so I had to locate more wipes in the diaper bag while the baby flailed about in his own poo. I got him clean and began wiping myself down only to realize that I still had sweet potato crusted into my arm hairs from Xander’s dinner last night. Shower? Who the hell showers?
I got the baby clean, me mostly clean, and washed the floor of vomit. I took a deep breath and put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. As I took my first sip, I discovered the dog had exploded bloody diarrhea all over the house. Did I feel bad for the dog? Yes. But we were treating his stomach bug and there wasn’t much else I could do for him at the time. Xander was being particularly fussy, and wouldn’t let me put him down long enough to clean up the shit. He outright refused to take his morning nap, so I left for lunch without tending to the utterly revolting mess.
I called my agent on the way there to talk about the first draft of my book cover that my editor sent over the day before. It was surreal emerging from the trenches of motherhood to talk about book stuff. I’m about to be an author of a real book that’s going to be on real shelves. My agent’s lovely voice was a life preserver that I’m sure she didn’t even know she was tossing me, a connection to a different side of my life. Our discussion was brief because we felt the same way about the cover, but it was enough for me to hit the reset button before lunch and relax a little.
Xander fussed through lunch because he was tired and still refusing a nap, but thankfully Kylie is a good enough friend that I don’t stress about it with her. Just as I started walking home, he passed out in his stroller. I smiled and laid him back a little. For once I had brought my headphones, and pulled my phone from my pocket, excited to finish a podcast I started a week ago and hadn’t found time for since then.
At precisely the moment I hit play, some asshole on a bike bumped me from behind and snatched my phone from my hand. I managed to regain my balance without falling, but it scared the shit out of me because the stroller could have tipped or ended up in traffic. As he pulled my phone from my hand, I dimly registered that this fucker was stealing from me: a mother on a busy sidewalk with a fucking stroller in the middle of the afternoon. I shouted out to the crowd and started to run after him. There were dozens of people around who heard and a number who even saw, but none of them showed an interest in helping me…except one. A homeless man sprang to action and ran after the bike thief, but he took two quick turns and we lost him.
The homeless hero wasn’t all there, but he was touchingly distressed that someone had stolen from me. He kept repeating, “But you’re a mom. You’re a mom. That’s a bad man to steal from a mom.” He handed me his phone, insisting that I call mine, but I had to politely decline since his didn’t have a battery in it. I wish I could have rewarded him for caring enough to try to help me, but I didn’t have anything with me and was focused on finding a police officer.
I found a cop a few blocks away and filed a report. I doubted it would do much good, but figured that if I hadn’t filed it, it would have been the one time they could have caught the asshole.
I try to constantly remind myself to be kind and forgiving because everyone I encounter is fighting a battle I know nothing about…but I’m struggling with this guy. It’s such a petty crime. He was a white hipster looking dude in a grey sweater on a fixie. Maybe he was desperate. Maybe he’s just a prick. I hope he loses sleep over it, but I will probably lose more.
After I had completed the police report, I continued my walk home, remembering that a pile of dog diarrhea awaited me there. Despite my frustration, it was still abundantly clear to me that these were First World Problems.
Losing my phone was a bizarre feeling. I kept reaching for it only to remember that someone had taken it from me. I kept playing out a fantasy in my mind where I had reacted quickly enough to pull the kid off his bike and give him a swift kick in the ribs before taking my phone back. It made me wish I’d had time to pull my Dominatrix alter ego out of retirement.
I pushed the incident from my mind as I fell asleep that night, ready to put a quiet, snugly end to my literally shitty day.
I was awakened a few hours later to the joyful sound of our bigger dog having explosive diarrhea next to my side of the bed. The previous morning, Kris had cleaned up the first bout of dog diarrhea, so I felt like this one was my turn. We have concrete floors with cracks that divide the floor into segments. She had shit all over a crack, and they’re almost impossible to get clean. It took me over an hour to wipe up the mess and wash my hands enough times to feel good about getting back in bed with the baby.
We determined that we had gotten a bad batch of dog food, and it took a few days to nurse our poor fur babies back to normal.
In that few days, the LBPD had been busy. They called me (on my new phone!) to say they had a lead in my case and needed me to come to the police station to see if I could ID the guy.
Xander and I walked to the station the following morning, suddenly feeling aggressive towards cyclists who rode too close to us. I was tense because Kris was at his UCLA jobsite, and there had been a shooting in the building across from his. They were all in lockdown in the basement. I tried to tell myself that he was fine because there were already hundreds of police officers on campus dealing with the situation, but until they gave the all clear, I was worried.
We had to wait for a while in the lobby of the police station, so I can now add that to the list of public places I’ve had to nurse the baby.
I don’t know how much detail is okay to post, but the outcome of our trip to the station was that they caught the guy, I confirmed it was him, and they got him to confess to seven robberies. He sold my phone. I didn’t ever expect to get it back. He told the Detective that he wasn’t going to stop until he got caught. He felt he wasn’t hurting anyone because he was just taking their property.
As I walked home, I wanted to feel victorious, but mostly just felt sad that this kid had fucked up his life that badly. He was young and stupid, and now he was going to pay the price.
I’m impressed that the police handled it as well as they did, and in all honesty I didn’t lose that much. My old phone was ancient in iPhone years, and had been malfunctioning for a while. We just hadn’t made time to go get a new one. I lost some things that were on the phone, though. Kris runs an after school program to help high school kids without a clear path after they graduate to get into a construction trade (you know…so no one feels like they have to steal to make a living). I had recorded interviews with the students for a piece I was going to write to promote the program, and the interviews were all lost with my phone. That was what I was most upset about. The rest was a superficial inconvenience.
I choose to focus on the police, who did great work, and the homeless man, who desperately wanted to help, instead of on the guy who could have made better choices.
I received a subpoena to testify, but it ended up being unnecessary as they struck a plea deal, so it didn’t go to trial. The kid was only 18 and has been sentenced to 8 years in prison. I am seriously impressed with the efficiency of the police department and prosecutor’s office. I hope the kid can put his life together when he gets out.