Did you just put your hands inside the potty?

The following is a story wherein my 9 year old son does a bit of vocation discernment.  Let me set the scene for you, it’s a bit of a twisty road, so stay with me:

The house is frantic and abuzz with energy. Daddy has been in California all week, and will be home in 1 hour. We know. We tracked his flight from LA to Atlanta to here. We’re cleaning and tidying and talking about how cool it is to see Daddy’s plane fly across the map on the screen…when I hear my newly potty-trained 2 year old calling me from the bathroom. She tells me in her most consoling voice that all is well, she has just flushed the poopy out of her panties.

There are few things that will cause absolute terror to possess a mother. Hearing that her 2 year old has just flushed poopy from her panties into the potty whilst simultaneously hearing the potty flushing causes unspeakable anxiety…where to look first? Seems obvious, but frozen in fear, I stood unable to make the decision.

Did she just say what I thought she just said?

Adrenaline finally takes hold and I make all haste to the bathroom where I find one poopy covered toddler proudly proclaiming that she has indeed cleaned up her mess. As this is a legitimate part of her potty training (she cleans up any accidents, which until now had been almost nil), I now bite a small hole through my lip attempting to hold onto my composure.  (And no, she is not supposed to clean up messes without me!)

Are you still with me?

I now allow thoughts of wine and post-bedtime toasts to occupy my thoughts as I triage the situation and wipe down obvious remnants of the ill-fated trip to the potty. A bath is had. Deep breath, and I make my way to the Clorox wipes and my good friends, the yellow rubber gloves, and stand before the bathroom in all its poopy-smeared glory. Rob calls about this time to let me know he’s in his truck and on his way home. I relate my current circumstances to him. I can tell he’s smiling wistfully as if I’ve just told him that his youngest daughter has composed a sweet song to sing to him when he arrives…he tells me how happy he is to be home and can’t wait to see us.

I am, as you might expect, speechless. Here’s a man who has his priorities straight!  I didn’t just let him know that I had prepared an elaborate welcome home dinner…or that our children had just been discovered to be of heretofore unknown intelligence…nor did I just relay magnanimous feats of generosity between siblings.  No.  I just told him that his downstairs bathroom and 2 year old are covered with poopy, and that I need to quickly get off the phone and finish cleaning because all 4 children are now gawking at the remnants.  Here’s a man that is anxious to get home to the potty-smeared lot of us.

Alright…back to the story. I promise I’m getting to the 9 year old.

Staring at the entry of the bathroom, and with my trusty Clorox wipes in hand, I disinfect and wipe down every surface – every step stool, sink, toilet roll, toilet lid, potty, floor, wall – everything. I move on to the panties, which are waiting patiently for me to give them a meaningful swish in the potty. In the process of cleaning up, I’ve mopped myself into the bathroom and have closed the door behind me. My gloves are now…well…if I might borrow from my children’s vocabulary…icky-fied. So….I yell to any living person passing nearby for someone to please open the door to let me out. Guess who was at my service? Yep.  Sensitive and terribly detail-oriented, Sparkly, my 9 year old.

He stares questioningly at the lump of icky-dirty-Winnie-the-Pooh panties in my yellow glove encased hands.  Aware that I have been dealing with a poopy mess, his sharp wit has surmised that in my hands are the very icky-fied panties which have just been swished in the potty.  In disbelief at the logical conclusions his mind is leading him to, he inquires in his most incredulous voice,”Did you just put your hands inside the potty?”


“Does a dad have to do that?”

“yeeeeeessssssssssssss,” I hiss back in his direction.

“Oh.  I’m not so sure about the whole dad thing then.” he replies.

Welcome home, Rob!  Tag.  You’re it.

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  1. LOVE the story! I can take most things, but feces is one that makes me gag if it gets on me or anything that it doesn't belong on.

    Glad to hear your husband is back!

  2. I read this whole thing just slack-jawed, until Sparkly walks in. Then I laughed hysterically! Way too funny (not the poo!). Your doodlebug and mine are about a month apart, and I can totally see mine doing this too 🙁

  3. Glad Paula 'remembers' those days, I'm livin' them 😉

    Well at least sparkly asked about Dad's role, my scallywags assured me they wouldn't be doing such deeds, they'd get their wife to do it!! I assured them they may not have a wife with such attitudes;)

  4. Jen, now that was an unexpected post! I am always reading your musings and thought you lived this beautiful, perfect and STERILE life. TeeHee. Thanks for sharing. It helps to know that even those born organized people have to stop and clean the poopy out of their lives once in a while. Have fun reuniting with that wonderful hubby of yours.

  5. The wonderful thing about having a blog is, when you come across a heaping helping of 'real life' you can imagine the wonderful blog post it would make and it can get you through the moment…LOL!

  6. So funny!!! I'm out of those days myself, but they are glued into my memory – the visual picture you painted was hysterical! I have many pairs of underwear that were so “poopified” (to borrow your expression!) that they ended up straight in the trash rather than the sanitation cycle in the washer. Sometimes, it was just worth the couple of $$ to buy a new pair or two!

  7. LOL Having just been through this times 2 plus vomiting I had to laugh… my boys certainly saw their father cleaning up his share of poop, but I have no idea how this affected their vocational direction! 😉

  8. The youngest of our 7 children just turned 19. I'm well removed from poopy…but we never forget. I'm rolling on the floor with laughter. You can tell Sparky that the daddy in this house never touched any poopy or barfy or toilet water. It all depends on whom he marries.

  9. LOL. These stories are always so funny when they happen to someone else…but I know exactly what you're talking about! My 23 month old isn't potty trained yet and he rarely has a solid poopy (have to ask the doc about that..) and we do cloth diapers so I'm constantly w/ my hands in the potty, swishing, scrubbing…etc. I'm sure there's a better way…I just haven't thought of it yet!

  10. I'm so glad that I'm not the only mum who has to do this sort of thing,and I care for two nearly two year olds as well as a childminder who are just beginning to use the potty so I've got plenty to come too!!

    Hugs, Jenni

  11. An incident like this got my 3 year old trained. I had been trying for 6 months to get him to use the potty. One day he too decided to “clean up” after himself. When I saw poop literally covering every surface in the bathroom, I sat down and had a good cry before I attacked with the Clorox. Oddly enough, my breakdown made a big impression on him. After that, he was trained!

  12. This is one of those things you'll all laugh about one day… I think I would have thrown the rubber gloves and the poopy panties in the trash. There comes a point where the balance between sanity and being wasteful falls in favor of just getting rid of them!


  13. Love it!

    I let my 1 yr old “air out” last week. She managed to poop on the carpet, step in it, squish her hand in it, walk the length of the house, meander into the bathroom, pee on the floor, slip and fall on the puddle, and start screaming. It was only then that I looked up and discovered a trail of brown footprints all over the house. (Err, time to invest in some hard wood floors!)

    So, I can relate, LOL!


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