It’s such an amazing feeling—bringing home your perfect newborn, in a brand-new outfit, into the beautifully-appointed nursery. Everything is so sparkly and fresh and tidy. But after the umpteenth spit-up, the zillionth dirty diaper, and the inevitable projectile poop, you realize: Crap. Kids are messy. And *I’m* the one who has to clean up after them.
So you look around your now stained and cluttered house, and you methodically adapt to your new reality. You stash baby wipes in every room and purse. You go to IKEA and buy a gajillion bins to store the toys. And you revel in the dog’s ability to clean in and around the high chair after every meal.
But try as you might, you simply can’t fully prepare for every mess.
My disgusting story started with a farting mishap. The kind of mishap where my preschooler thought that he was going to release a simple fart but instead found himself sitting in warm, squishy underwear.
Please note: this has never happened to me. I’m talking about my son here.
He’d had similar incidents before. And each time, I refrained from calling it a “shart” and casually advised my son to “learn the difference between a fart and a poop.” He would nod, present me his butt for cleaning, put on a pair of fresh underwear, and get on with his day.
I was never thrilled to have to deal with one of these accidents, but they didn’t happen all that often. And let’s face it—I was just so happy that my son was out of diapers that I didn’t make a fuss over the occasional slip-up.
Until one terrible day…
My son came to me to report that he’d had another farting “mistake.” I held back a curse word, forced a smile, and said, “We all have accidents, Sweetie. Let’s go clean up.”
We went into the bathroom, where I directed him to the toilet so that he could finish whatever it was that he clearly needed to finish as I rinsed out his underpants in the sink.
As I was scrubbing, he sneezed, and a HUGE booger on an enormously thick string of snot torpedoed from his nose. And just hung there … precariously, down his panic-stricken face.
Now I can handle a lot of gross things. But, honestly, mucus pushes me to my limits. And this was like no mucus I had ever seen before. This … had a life of its own. That monstrous tentacle of slime swayed dangerously back and forth … just taunting me.
I. Was. Terrified.
But this was my child, and I would show no fear. I hitched up my yoga pants and went in.
Like a slow-motion scene from an action movie, I dropped my son’s soapy clothes in the sink, grabbed a tissue, reached over to contain the foul mess, just as the entire hanging mass of mucus—booger and all—accidentally got inhaled RIGHT INTO HIS MOUTH.
Time stopped. Our eyes locked. We exchanged a silent, “What the fuckity-fuck?!” Okay, that might have been me, but my son conveyed the little boy equivalent.
And then, my son began to gag. I knew precisely what was coming. LIKE A NINJA, I grabbed the bathroom wastebasket and shoved it right in front of his face. Just. In. Time. My son puked the ginormous glob of snot—and his entire breakfast—into the trash can. All of this—ALL OF IT—while pooping on the toilet.
A trifecta of bodily fluids. If it hadn’t been so repulsive, I would have said it was a beautifully choreographed piece of performance art.
Heart racing, I looked at my son who was staring back at me with a betrayed look in his eyes, as if to say: “Mom. You never prepared me for this scenario.” And I was shaking my head slowly, trying to catch my breath, thinking, “My husband had better get me something shiny for this one.”
My son and I both walked out of that bathroom despondent and wounded. We had become different people—scarred from the epic battle we fought together.
Once I recovered, I knew I needed to do my motherly duty and address the real issue. My son and I had a long discussion about when to trust a fart. And when not to. The difference between air pressure … and the pressure from a solid mass.
But this is a difficult skill to master when you’re only four years old, and my son had more than a few accidents during the process. Worn down from the war on sharts, I eventually threw my hands in the air and gave him the best advice I could think of, “Just go sit on the toilet every time you need to fart.”
Photo Credit: IKO / 123RF Stock Photo