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.