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Snail Trails and Diaper Pails

Some body fluids aren’t so bad.

A concentrated jolt of literary marrow-sucking at the Whistler Writers Festival, Sept 14-17

Thoreau went to the woods to live deliberately. And Whistler, it seems, is the place to come if you want to write deliberately. The fifth Whistler Writers Festival, Sept. 14-17, is a hyper-literate jam-packed long-weekend for readers, writers, closeted scribblers and anyone looking for a fresh perspective. From manuscript workshops and daily seminars to evening readings with Canada’s best authors, the festival has something for everyone.

Here, in Pique Newsmagazine’s special Word Made Flesh, four local writers come out of their closets. The series is a prelude to Writers in the Flesh, three incredible readings at Millennium Place, featuring the Chair of the Council of Canadians, Maude Barlow ( Too Close For Comfort: Canada’s Future Within Fortress North America; Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World’s Wate r) on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m., Joseph Boyden ( Three Day Road) on Friday, Sept. 15, 8 p.m., and Eden Robinson (Blood Sports) Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $10. Or buy the trifecta for $25. Book tickets to the events at, or contact Stella Harvey at 604 932 4518 or

Snail Trails and Diaper Pails

By Sara Leach

They don’t warn you about the body fluids in pre-natal class. When you’re expecting a baby you get ready for the poop, but not the rest of it. And I’ve been soaked, smeared and spewed on by all of it.

There was the time my son had a blowout poop at the community centre drop-in. I cleaned it up while the rest of the moms retched and left a half hour later to run some errands. I had a reasonably coherent conversation with a man at the liquor store, given my sleep deprived state, and left with my purchase. Returning home, I noticed brown smears on my sweater and forehead. I didn’t even care.

My son has a runny nose from November to May, and at age three he still hasn’t learned to blow it. The most he manages is a raspberry sound from his mouth. I hope it isn’t a genetic defect. What will his wife think when he runs over to her and wipes his nose on her shirt, leaving snail trails across it? Or when he digs around, then holds up his finger and says, “Honey, could you bring me a tissue, I’ve got a booger.”

The first time my son peed on our carpet we panicked, rushing around, soaking and scrubbing with multiple cleaning products. Now, as my daughter begins the toilet training phase, I’m embarrassed to say I finish what I’m doing, saunter to the offending spot, and give it a quick rub. We steam clean our carpets on a regular basis these days.

At least my daughter appears ready to train earlier than her brother, who was almost three. However, after watching him for 18 months, she stands in front of the potty, thrusts her hips forward and shouts “pee”. She’ll be a hit in elementary school when she shows off her standing-to-pee technique.

What would a discourse on body fluids be if it didn’t include puke? I can now spot THE LOOK — my son’s early warning system that comes moments before the mess. There are no words or gestures. I have seconds to get a bowl. I’m proud of the day I twice caught the projectile vomit with an airsick bag during a bumpy ride in a four-seat Cessna airplane. The potential victims, pilot and other passenger, had no idea what might have hit them — literally. I imagine talking to my son’s fiancée before the wedding. She’s concerned about his stag night. I tell her, “Dear, that’s the least of your worries.”

Some body fluids aren’t so bad. When my daughter leans over and gives me a big wet, gooey kiss, it makes it all worth it. And when my son, who knows where his bread is buttered, looks at me and says, “Mommy, you look sooo pretty today,” all is forgiven.

I reply, “That’s so nice. Here, have another cookie.”

In pre-natal class we worried about the body fluids we would spill during labour. By the time we graduated to baby group no one cared what spilled where. For now, I remind myself that someday my precious ones will leave and I’ll look back on all this with yearning, and hope I have many years before the diapers are back in our house because my husband and I need to wear them.

Sara Leach writes children’s fiction and non-fiction about her life with children. Her work has appeared in Whistler’s local newspapers, Literary Leanings , and Solutions Magazine.