What would you do if one of your roommates took a deuce in the middle of the floor of the most sacred room in your house—your bedroom? Take it off of their rent? Stop cooking for them? Refuse to do their laundry?
For the last few weeks, I have started or concluded nearly every day with a steaming pile of human shit. I understand that this is one of the tribulations of having twin two year olds, but it’s a tribulation that’s supposed to stay in a diaper or toilet. These days, the cutest two pairs of hands that ever lived hand me shit on the deck, in the living room, or while we’re wrestling. Sometimes these hands squish the poop, other times they triumphantly hold up a turd. Shockingly, they’re always surprised when this happens as if they were just going about their day playing with trucks and looking for big rocks and bam, a giant turd fairy blessed them with a gift and, as we all do when we give a gift, bestowed it upon their pointer finger. It’s at times like these that I look at my boys and think, where in God’s name did you come from? What planet do you inhabit? Boys are so gross. I know this, of course, from having dated a few, but seriously. Ewwww.
Saturday night, before putting the boys to bed, the boys and I showered off their Jell-O and dirt. It was a tender moment and when we finished, I wrapped each kid in a towel tucking the end of the towel into the neck of their burrito wrap so they could walk around without being cold. At that moment, I felt like a great mom. “Yeah, fucking nailing it,” I thought. Because after shower with mom comes glow in the dark jammies and books in bed with mama and a giant stuffed bear named beh and a giant giraffe named raff. However, in the fraction of a second between wrapping Loren up like a burrito and feeling like a great parent, Ryder took a giant, coiled, steaming shit in the middle of my bedroom floor. My immediate reaction was “I fucking hate you. What human being ever would do such a thing?” But I softened as soon as I saw Ryder squatting unreasonably close to the pile, clearly proud of that which was before him.
“Mama, poo poo.”
“Oh my God,” I put my hands over my mouth literally trying not to vomit. I’m not exaggerating. I really hate shit. I know most people don’t love it, but it really freaks me out. Shit and snakes. “Poo poo,” I said calmly. I might have nodded. Acceptance, you know? Then sheer and utter panic. “Poo poo! Poo poo!” I leapt about a foot from the pile, straddled the poo line, got into a wide squat, kicked out my left foot and absolutely flattened Ryder. “Don’t touch! Don’t touch!”
For some reason, this fracas caught the attention of Loren who came flying out of the bathroom, his hands trapped within his towel cocoon yelling, “I see! I see!”
“No see! No see!” I yelled, frantically waving my arms. And then, in the John Elway of all mom moves, I did a bit of a triangle to the right, intercepted Loren and lunged back to the left to check on Ryder who had risen and was creeping toward the bathroom slowly, obeying the parameter I had set with my body by clinging to pieces of my skin as he retreated. “No no!” he yelled. “No no!”
With both boys securely out of danger of spreading the shit to various places I would unexpectedly stumble into while looking for a chocolate covered blueberry, or plugging my Mac into the outlet by my bed, I burst out laughing. “Where did you come from?”
“He he, yeah,” said Ryder, thrilled to pieces with my marvel, but unable to understand it.
Enough of that tender shit.
“Back in the bathroom! Back in the bathroom!” I snapped to reality and, with my mom superpower, somehow got one naked kid and one burrito kid shoved into the bathroom they had locked me out of six weeks ago. “Stay!” I said as I reached for the wipes and toilet paper that is kept not on a roll near the toilet, but three feet away in the sink. “I’m cleaning up the poo poo.” This was a grand announcement and if someone had been standing by to give me a uniform or a HASMAT suit or a fucking royal send off, I would have taken it.
“Poo poo! Poo poo!”
“Oh my God.”
“I see! I see.”
“Okay, stay in the bathroom. Just stay in the bathroom. I’ll tell you when to come out.”
Great in concept, terrible in practice especially with twins. The onslaught commenced the second I opened the door. “I see, I see!”
“I poo poo mama, I poo poo!”
“Jesus! Stay back. Just stay back!” Thankfully, or perhaps horrifyingly, kids are like dogs on leashes, they feel what you feel. So when I inched out of the bathroom door in a crouch as if I was approaching an IED rather than a turd, the boys‑one on each side— held tightly to my shoulders.
“I’m sorry,” I shivered and then squatted to their level. “It’s just,” I shivered again. “I don’t really do, eh eh,” I started to gag and then choked it down. “I don’t really do—I don’t really like—poo poo.” I shivered again. “Bleh.” Another shiver. When the tremors stopped, Loren simply said, “No poo poo for mama” and we all went on our merry way. I washed my hands for five minutes, the boys found the books they wanted to read and we all met in my bed under the soft glow of the same lamp that nurtured Ryder through his dump.
“Thank you,” I said to them both and I fucking meant it. Thank you for understanding that to me, poop is fucking revolting, and not judging me for it.
I suppose that I could have reacted to this situation differently. When I was pregnant, I pictured myself confronting or stifling my own fears in front of my children. I pictured myself saying things like, “Oh honey, what a lovely gardener snake. Don’t you think it would be happier in the backyard?” when they handed me a much loathed serpent. Interestingly, shit never landed among my short list of fears in these fantasies. Because of this, I had never planned for stifling my shit fear. I had never planned for how gracefully I would react to Shitagedon on my bedroom floor, how I might say something like, “Oh how wonderful you are developing a relationship with your feces, but love can be a triangle, get the toilet involved, please.”
The things that my kids do that drive me the most crazy are anti-human. Shitting on the bedroom floor and dancing on my living room table shatter social constructs and I don’t know how to get my kids to stop. Other moms tell me to “lead by example.” Okay perfect. I’ll stop pooing on my floor then. Does anyone have any better advice (other than to hang up my drama queen tiara)?