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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Potty Palindrome

Toddlers are gross. As parents, we tend to forget that this statement applies even to our little ones, especially if they have, thus far, avoided certain disgusting behaviors that we’ve heard others complain about. At least, I know I do. We say, “oh, you poor thing!” We think, my baby would never do something so base, thank goodness. But the joke is usually on us.

Yesterday, I heard my little angels waking from their nap in the late afternoon. I thought I had time to make a trip to the complex dumpster before rousing them completely. I was wrong. We’re in the middle of potty training, you see, and while I still put a diaper on them for naps and sleep, they now know that a diaper isn’t permanently attached to their bodies.

I walked into their bedroom. “Hi!” I was greeted. “Hug, hug! Up! Outside! MUAH!”

I walked out of their bedroom and took a few huge gulps of fresh air.

What had greeted me on the other side of that door was a monstrosity I wasn’t sure I had the heart to deal with. I opened the door again, with grim determination and not a little disgust pasted on my face. I didn’t yell. I didn’t cry. I certainly didn’t hug or kiss them. I looked at my two naked babes, hands caked, feet smooshed. I looked at the room itself, brown streaks on the cribs, on the pillows, on the carpet.


“No, no. This is very bad. This is very very bad. No. Don’t move. Don’t move!”

In my misplaced pride, I’d thought this could never happen to me. Since most babies who are going to experiment with this usually do so at around a year of age, or 18 months at the latest, I thought my babies too high-brow for such shenanigans. At least by waiting until age two, they gave me the advantage of having children who can actually listen to the word no and the command, don’t move.

Okay, so how to clean this overwhelming stinky mess:

First, find the big piles of the culprit, pick them up and put them in a bag you can seal. I picked them up using the dirty diapers from which they had been tossed. Second, do a thorough search for laundry. Look at blankets, loveys, washcloths, sheets, toys - anything that you leave loose in the room is suspect. Put all of it in a pile on top of a clean blanket.

Next, soap up a rag and a small towel - really soap them up. Using the rag, scrub the carpet, walls, doors, changing tables, anything that may have been sullied, but be sure to remember where the offensive material was. This is a job that requires more than soap.

Now, turn to your twins (or singleton, as the case may be), and using the towel (a washcloth is too small, trust me) vigorously scrub them down from top to bottom. (If you have a baby younger than 2, you should do this step first. Mine were decidedly not moving at the time, and I wanted them to see the clean up. It wouldn’t behoove a baby to see such a clean up, and a baby wouldn’t know not to move and could further soil himself or put the stuff in his mouth. Clean babies are happy babies.) Remove everyone and every soiled thing from the room. Start a load of laundry; use bleach.

Get the tub ready, and toss in babies. Give a good scrub down and a good rinse. In my case, I left them naked (we live in Florida) and instructed them to sit on their potties. If you have a younger baby, or it’s cold where you live, suit them back up.

Now, turn your attention back to the room in question. Open the window and turn on the fan (if these are possibilities.) It is very important to disinfect the area. You can use hydrogen peroxide, or any cleaner with an enzyme. I further cleaned the carpet using Oxy-Clean.

I can’t tell you how to prevent this in the future. Some parents fully clothe their kids at all times, put footy sleepers on backwards, pin velcro diapers shut, or put socks on their babies’ hands.

I, of course, gave mine a stern talking to, and am taking no further action, still convinced that they will not do this again. How much do you want to bet that the joke, again, will be on me?

(A proud postscript: I was able to write this entire thing without using the word poop. Oh, shoot. There it is.)

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