By: Heather O’Neill
I remember watching my father wipe my little brother’s nose with his bare hands and being totally grossed out. His response to me was, “Once you become a parent you’ll do things you never knew you would.”
I certainly know this to be true.
When you first become a parent you understand that changing diapers comes with the territory. My son peed all over my husband during the first diaper he ever changed. Funny, yes, but we quickly learned to maneuver things just so that history did not repeat itself too often.
Additionally, I never could understand how a tiny little baby could create the amount of poop that would shoot up its back, down the legs, out the sides of a diaper and fill a onesie. It was triumph if poop only got on the onesie and you could save the outfit. I must admit though, I have certainly cut off my fair share of onesies because I could never figure out how to get a poop filled one-piece off of an infant and not smear it all over the only parts that weren’t covered in some of the nastiest smelling mess I’d ever experienced. And I may have used the entire package of wipes.
While people prepare you for diapers – no one tells you about the horrors of potty training, until you are actually immersed in it. Cleaning up bodily fluids becomes second nature. I can now wipe down my son after a wet “accident” and clean up the floor using only one wipe! As parents, we understand this is part of the experience. You expect it, deal with it because it’s your child, and move on with your day.
However, if you are not a parent, cleaning up these messes is a completely different story.
I encountered a boy, probably 16-17 years old, working at one of the local indoor inflatable play spaces. I watched a mother help her son off of one of the inflatable obstacle courses. She had a bottle of water in her hand as she helped him off and then people started looking for an employee for assistance. There was a small puddle on the floor near where she was standing.
The “I’m so happy I work in a place where kids are running, screaming, and out of control” employee comes over armed with a paper towel, bends down and starts wiping. People around him stare in shock. I’m standing to the side when (based on the horrific looks of the adults around) I realize seconds before he does what the actual puddle is. Suddenly he stops, looks at his hand and cries out in horror, “Oh my God, is this pee?!” Then he jumps up and runs away.
The adults all chuckle. This is something we deal with on a regular basis, so we are prepared for it. This poor boy had no idea what he was walking in to. Another employee comes by with a Swifter and effectively cleans the area.
A few minutes later I am sitting to the side of the inflatables and a group of employees are behind me. The “victim,” if you will, walks up and they immediately start busting his chops. He replies, “Guys, I just washed my hands like a million times!”
I am biting the inside of my cheek, trying not to laugh at the poor boy. If he ever becomes a parent, he has no idea how many more times in his life he’s going to be subjected to this exact scenario.