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The story is short . . . and not graphic. But every mother will relate.

This actually occurred before I was a mother. And I did not babysit as a young woman so by the time my oldest nephew, Paul — ironic that his first name begins with “P,” as in poo, but I digress — was born, I was quite clueless about how to take care of a baby. But I was crazy about the kid and I hung out with him whenever I could.

On the day in question, we went shopping at Macy*s. Paul was just a few months old . . . not talking or walking yet. He was adorable and I thought it was fun to push the kid around in the stroller because all the other shoppers smiled and cooed which gave me a chance to try on motherhood without thoroughly committing. And if they asked me how old he was, I declared my status as proud auntie. My sister appreciated my willingness to stroll because she had thoroughly committed to motherhood and enjoyed having a few moments to herself.

My sister went one way, I went the other and, being the clueless auntie, I pushed and shopped, not paying as much attention to what the kid was doing as, in retrospect, I should have. He was a very contented baby and this day was no different. He made happy baby noises, other shoppers smiled, time went by and I eventually decided I had better go find my sister.

I thought she would be pretty delighted to see what great care I had taken of her first-born and thrilled to know that the little trouper had ridden contentedly all over the store without shedding one tear or letting out any ear-piercing “let me out of this stroller” screams.

So as we happily approached her, I was quite surprised when she nonchalantly asked me, “Did you give him a cookie?”

Cookie? “What in the world is she talking about?” I thought to myself. “Where would I get a cookie and why would I give one to a kid this young?”

We both looked down at Paul, smiling happily in his stroller, and came simultaneously to the same horrifying conclusion: That was no Oreo cookie he was playing with.

Yup, I had been strolling him around, oblivious to the fact that his diaper had failed to contain its contents, so to speak, and he had his fingers in what was escaping around the elasticized legs. And those shoppers smiling at us? Yes, they were probably mothers and fathers laughing at the clueless auntie who would eventually figure out that the kid was curiously examining the texture of something, rolling it around between his fingers . . . that he definitely should not have been playing with.

By the time I had my own kids a few years later, I had learned to pay close attention to what they did while in the stroller.

Paul is now a handsome, successful 23-year-old.

But my sister and I still laugh about “the cookie” incident whenever someone mentions Macy*s.

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