“Nobody tells you about the sheer volume of excrement you will encounter, up close and personal, as a mom.” I said this to my sister yesterday as I scrubbed thick, dried on clods of the stuff from the bathroom wall, and the underside of the toilet . See, when a child has a poop accident and tries to deal with the problem himself, this is quite often the result. He will have made it to the toilet in time to deposit the last teaspoon of his bowel movement into the actual bowl, but in so doing he will lose a large portion of the poop in his underwear to the floor, “plop!” In the process he will spread a generous amount on the back of his calves, and on the bowl, and when he attempts to remove his soiled unders he will then smear it on the wall(s). Next he’ll make little poop footprints all the way to the sink where he will deposit an ample dollop on the faucet before (hopefully) realizing he’s in over his head.
Quite often, poop is the least of it. Take, for example the week every year, usually in late spring, that begins with a child who neglects to eat his favorite spagetti dinner, and then passes out on the couch. “That’s strange,” you think as you scoop him up. Give me flu, give me strep, give me a lingering cough requiring chest x rays, antibiotics, and multiple follow up doctor visits. DO NOT come at me with a vomiting child in the wee hours of a Monday morning.
I’m not sure why, but kids in this condition forgo basic common sense. When they feel the need to vomit they make their way, not to the bathroom, but to the side (or bottom) of Mom’s bed. We have two toilets, three sinks. I bought a jumbo pack of those special vomit bags on Amazon. All of these options have been presented to my children as alternative options Yet, they choose my bed. Every time.
The quantity of vomit that a small child can produce is more than you might imagine. Besides the mess on the bed, the stuff on the floor will first need to be dabbed at, gingerly, with paper towels (good luck finding your rubber gloves at 2am), before the chunks will require scooping into a trash bag, and the whole area disinfected. If you do not exhibit proper caution, you might find that the liquid will, quite unexpectedly, splash into your eye. This will be the moment you realize that, in a few short days, just when your children are all feeling well enough to require constant supervision, you will be doubled over on the toilet yelling orders through a locked bathroom door.
Then there’s the toilet monster. Have you met him? He tends to visit children about a year after they’re potty trained. He threatens to bite, and snarl at any bottom that dares sit upon his unlikely abode. I have never encountered him personally, but I know of special treatments to drive him out should he become a nuisance. I recommend those tank tablets in the cleaning aisle. The ones with the convincing blue hue. Toilet monsters are repelled by the color. But until he can be gotten rid of, expect to find neat little turds tucked under bathroom mats, in the shower stall, or simply in the underwear hidden behind the trash can.
Shall we discuss children’s fascination with flushing things down the toilet? Would you like to hear about the Christmas Eve I spend with the commode, hoisted into the bathtub in order to better facilitate the removal of a tiny porcelain teacup? Or the soggy spring evening I spent with an audience of two, and a belly full of baby? One (or both) of my little darlings had systematically flushed an entire roll of paper towels down the lone toilet of our rented, century old farmhouse. I’d had to line the thing with a trash bag for morning use until I could drive us forty minutes to the nearest hardware store in search of a toilet snake. It was a full day dealing with a poop crisis created by children, who’s ages combined just barely reached double digits. It culminated in the removal of the commode, and me, sloshing around in ankle deep shit water, my new Bog Boots festooned with bits of soggy toilet roll. I’d placed the kids in the tub to observe, so they might understand the consequences of their actions. I think they found it fascinating.
I’ll finish with this, a tale with which you are unlikely to relate, but is prudent nonetheless. This last weekend I marched out to the shed where we store our animal feed. My teenagers insisted that the shed was clean and organized in preparation for our weekend vacation. Their Auntie would be feeing the animals, and they’d been assigned the job. I forced open the shed door past piles of discarded bags and disheveled buckets, most without lids. My irritation turned to anger, and I took it out on the garden implements I encountered on my way to gather supplies. I jabbed at cobwebs with the broom, and vacuumed up goat poop with the shop vac. Chicken poo is an whole different situation, however, almost as stubborn as cement, so I wrestled our mistreated power washer in the direction of the shed. I checked, and rechecked the connections. I plugged it into another power source, and another. I watched a youtube video. I watched five more youtube videos. Eventually I took the thing apart, shocked myself, and cried. I deposited enough water onto the shed floor that I made a sludgy mess, and when I tried to stand up I did the splits in watery chicken shit. I feel that this story alone accurately sums up my experience of motherhood. Perpetually irritated and sweaty, hair sticking to my neck, and knee deep in feces.