Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Truth Tuesday: Poop Happens

We writers all look forward to The Call.

It seems illusive and then suddenly it's happening. An agent asks if she can call you! You think she'll probably offer representation! YIKES! Leap around the house. Scrub the bathtub. Sing silly songs. Kiss the baby.

I cleared the house for The Call. I farmed out my children in preparation. I put the baby down for a nap early. It was awesome.

During The Call my house was totally quiet. I was perfectly professional. (*ahem*--except for the nervous giggling at the beginning and the "Oh, I've been so excited to talk to you!" in a sixth-grade girl voice--*ahem*)

Then came The Acceptance Call. Short and sweet. My agent said she was thrilled, we both danced a jig on our opposite sides of the continent. All was well.

Then came The Call After the Acceptance Call to talk details. I didn't prepare so well for this call. My big kids were at school, but my two little girls were home and both awake. I figured it would be fine. My two-year-old was playing nicely, so when the call came, I took it in the office.

I have no idea how long this call lasted, but it was going great, I was making notes, when all of a sudden the door creaked open and my two-year-old was standing in the doorway, bare bottomed, holding out a long stream of toilet paper smeared with poop.

I don't remember exactly what Emmanuelle was talking to me about at that moment. I think it was something about cover ideas (I'm sure it was a wonderful cover idea), but suddenly all her words ran together and I was faced with a dilemma.

I'd been trying so hard to be professional.  

But here is my daughter smeared with poop standing in the middle of my office.

I had to make a decision:

1) FULL DISCLOSURE: "Ha ha! My daughter is standing in the middle of my office with a bare bottom and poop all over her."

2) PARTIAL DISCLOSURE: "Sorry, I have a little emergency here. Can I call you right back?"

3) DENIAL: Keep talking on the phone and silently guide the poopy child back to the bathroom; try to finish the call with some kind of grace.

It was probably not the best choice, but I chose option 3.

In hindsight, I should have gone with option 2. But I was in panic mode and in panic mode you don't always make good choices.

Now that I know my agent a little better, I'm sure she would have been very understanding even if I'd dropped the Option 1 bomb. She's gracious and has a great sense of humor, so I'm sure she would have laughed along with me.

Did I learn anything from this fiasco?

1) Only that parenthood is sometimes not synonymous with professionalism.

2) That it's good to stay humble. You never know when a child covered in poop will walk into your office and interrupt a phone call.

3) That you can do your best, but in the end, poop still happens.

I'm sure you all would have handled this situation much better than I did, but tell me your thoughts. Any other lessons I could learn from this? Is anyone totally grossed out? Have I convinced anyone to swear off having children forever?

Well, that last one wasn't my intention, so just in case, here's my daughter looking like the angel she often is:

"Mommy, this is for you."

Yep, she's worth it!


  1. I can guarantee I would have chosen option three. You and your children make me laugh. Probably because I can relate so well. I love your honesty.

  2. Ha! This is hilarious. As a fellow wahm, I deal with this sort of thing all the time. Congrats on your book deal!

  3. I've gone with option 3 many times. I wasn't on the phone with a publisher of course, but it was not a phone call with family or close friends either. I'm thinking that option 2 could be the best one, but alas, parenthood does not always allow for enough time to weigh all the options fairly!

  4. Ahem. I have been there (okay, not with an agent, but with people I was trying to be professional with). And given the fact that poop was already everywhere, I might just have gone with option 3.

    OR I might have bumbled out option 1 in the shock of the moment. It's hard to say until you get there.

    I actually have a worse story that I will share with you if you ever need to feel good about how you're doing as a mom. :D

  5. Of course, with hindsight, option 2 is best but I'd have gone with option 3 as well :-)

  6. I am laughing. This is so funny- and you know, I would have probably chosen option 3. So don't worry. And I am so glad you got "The Call".

  7. LOL! I so would have chosen option 3 too. It's the way we moms are hardwired--handle it all, even when we can't. :o)

    Poop does happen. Good thing it does, because like you say, it keeps us humble. :o)

    Thanks for the laugh today, Amy!

  8. "I have no idea how long this call lasted, but it was going great, I was making notes, when all of a sudden the door creaked open and my two-year-old was standing in the doorway, bare bottomed, holding out a long stream of toilet paper smeared with poop."

    Hilarious! LOL, this is wonderful.

  9. ha! Man, this such a perfect anaology for just about every part of motherhood. Yep, a constant juggling act. There are no right or wrong answers...just us trying our best to muddle through.

    thanks for the giggle :)

  10. Oh, man, you *were* professional. I wouldn't have gone past Option 1.

    For my very first assignment at Odyssey, when the editor called, we were able to talk about the details for the articles because my daughter had a blowout diaper. Yup, poop happens. The editor was great.

    I've taken my kids with me to interview people (I know, highly unprofessional, but we've never had a sitter, so what was I supposed to do?). Thankfully, my kids are quite easily entertained.

  11. At least your child didn't paint the walls with her boop like my son did. Fortunately I wasn't on the phone. I'm not sure how I would have reacted, beyond fainting. :)

  12. I laughed out loud at this. What a great story :)

  13. Oh, Amy! You must have been dying! You absolutely handled yourself with grace under pressure.

    I have four kids so I totally understand "poop happens," and sometimes at the most inconvenient times, lol. Great story!

  14. I would've panicked and chosen option 3 as well.

    And aww, your daughter is so sweet. :)

  15. Option 3 every time. Loved your story! You definitely have a way with words - I can't wait to read your books someday. Even if I'm an OA. (old adult!)

  16. Thanks for visiting my "interesting" story...thank goodness it was NOT poop. =)
    Also, thanks for being real.

  17. I too would have chosen Option 3! Congrats on the deal offer and isn't it good that your little girl at least tried to sort her own poop problem out and I just love that rose-style peace offering of hers. She's a sweetie.

  18. Hee! It's funny to hear about how other clients of Emmanuelle acted during their Call. (Whew, was that the most convoluted phrasing or what?)

    I actually missed the first call, then freaked out because I saw the call had been from a 212 number. Luckily, Emmanuelle emailed soon after to set up another call ;)

    ...which I then spent the majority of thinking, "Gee, I wish my heart would stop pounding so loudly...I can't hear anything!"

    hehehe ;)

    Your daughter is adorable!


  19. I would have absolutely done #3 but then my agent would have heard me hissing to my older daughter in the background, "I will give you $5 if you deal with your brother without anyone crying or freaking out."

    Poop happens. :)

  20. I would have gone with option #3, but you're probably right that #2 would have been better. Your little darling is beautiful. And poop totally happens, especially when you have toddlers.

  21. I surely would have picked 3... to the point of extreme ;) I guess in panic mode, our minds do act that way!!!!

    Lesson (even for myself) : Learn to say "I'll get back to you" !

    Btw, by the end of the post..all I could say was : "awwww, sooooo cuuute!!!" :)

  22. What an awesome (and unforgettable) "Agent Call" story. :D
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  23. You are so funny! While the timing wasn't good and we're all feeling your pain, agents are people too. I'm sure she would have understood. Dang, though...what a funny story! :) And your daughter is totally adorable!

  24. Isn't it weird how we can go into that teen mode when we know it's an agent on the phone? One called me at my in-laws' house, where I was already slightly out of my element (they're great, but it wasn't MY phone or house!) and when she said, "Hi, Heather?" I said, "Hi Heather," right back. DUH. Where did that come from? Who knows. I was just flat-out terrified. So I feel your pain! I would've probably chosen option 1, because I'm usually brutally honest! But I'm so glad you're comfy w/your agent now and able to explain those poopy incidents to her. Poop happens! Ha.