Toddlers are adorable and hilarious and oh-so lovable, but they're also ridiculously gross. I mean really, really gross. It's not their fault, to be sure, since they're still learning what is and is not acceptable to eat or play with or cover their bodies in. You have to explicitly teach them not to play with their poop and, well, those lessons are as disgusting as they are necessary. I consider it a right of passage, so-to-speak, as there are gross things your toddler will eventually do that no amount of planning or forethought will save you from experiencing. Just like the lack of sleep, having things set off your gag reflex is just a part of parenting.
Among the weird things only moms of toddlers understand, is a toddler's insatiable appetite for all things sticky, slimy, and seriously sickening. I'm the lucky mother of two toddlers and, well, I'm almost ashamed of the substances I've had to wash off of my kids' hands (and basically every surface of my house). I understand that there are terrible things about toddlers that are actually pretty funny when you look back at them, but that doesn't make me gag any less when I've got human poop in my hair and a dead bug in the palm of my hand while I watch my son lick the surface of a dirty sidewalk.
The reason moms get nothing done is because we spend so much time cleaning unknown substances off of literally everything. I mean everything. It's maddening. At the very least, I do take solace in knowing that I'm not alone in my sticky predicament. Toddler moms share an alliance like no one else, and we're all bonded by our shared, snot-covered stories and struggles. In fact, I'll share some of the gross things toddlers do with you, and how you can survive them, because solidarity is essential if we're going to make it out of toddlerhood in one snot-free piece.
They Will Have Snot All Over Their Face, Clothes, And Body
It's so unfortunate that babies aren't born with the ability to wipe their own noses, because snot is gross. It's gross when you're an adult with a cold and your nose runs uncontrollably, and it's gross when you've got a kids with a cold, whose nose also runs uncontrollably but instead of using a tissue to stop their running faucet they just smear snot all over themselves and whatever else is around them (like curtains or clean laundry or throw pillows).
They Will Eventually Have The Most Explosive Diaper The World Has Ever Seen
The older the kid, the bigger the poop. Newborn explosions are plenty disgusting, don't get me wrong, but toddler explosions trump them in their size (and, sometimes, their smell). I've developed the new talent of being able to hold my breath for two minutes while I change sticky, explosive diapers. I'm pretty sure that my body is going to adapt to me holding my breath to the point that I develop gills. Actually, that would be pretty cool.
They Remove Said Explosive Diaper Themselves
Also, the older a child gets, the more coordinated they become. I've found a few full sized nuggets in my toddler's bed because he decided to remove his own diaper. We're in the process of potty training, and I can appreciate that he doesn't want to sit in his own waist, but it'd be nice if, you know, he didn't leave his freshly made poop on his freshly cleaned sheets.
They Get Food In All Of Their Orifices
Toddlers and known for their lack of table manners. It's sort of hilarious when they're covered from head to toe in yogurt, but it's slightly less adorable when you're cleaning ravioli out of their nose and ears and, oh yeah, their diapers. Why they feel the need to slather their entire bodies with their dinner is beyond me, but cleaning crumbs out of my kids' crevices is a part of my daily routine that I've just learned to accept.
They Play With Dead Bugs
I don't want my sons to have to live in fear of walking through a spider web every day of their lives, so I try to teach them that bugs and other animals are all OK and normal things if they're just left alone. However, when my son says that he has a present for me, and I hold out my hand only to have him place a giant dead spider in it, my exemplary behavior quickly vanishes as I squeal and run and probably cuss a little.
They Pee In Places Where They Definitely Shouldn't
Potty training is the worst, man. I'm glad that my son is grasping the concept and realizing that he doesn't need a diaper to go potty, but I don't enjoy having to remind him to keep him pants on in public places. If you've got a toddler, odds are that you've cleaned up more than your fair share of urine from places that have no business having urine on them.
Poop In The Bathtub
Yup, it happens. Yup, it's disgusting. Yup, I have a fish net for this reason, and this reason only.
They Lick Public Surfaces
My youngest son saw our dog licking water off of the floor the other day, so he assumed that was something that he should do when he sees liquid on the floor, too. Thankfully, this has only happened in our home, where I'm (mostly) positive that the germs lurking on our floor don't pose a serious risk to his health. However, I've seen a kid lick the sink inside of a public restroom, and I'm pretty sure his mother rushed him to the emergency room afterwards.
They Play With Their Poop
In all fairness, I guess I can see where a toddler might think that poop would aid them in their artistic endeavors. However, as an adult who knows that poop isn't an appropriate tool for arts and crafts, I'm ashamed to say that I've cleaned hand prints made out of poop off of my kid's wall. Twice.
They Eat Something That's Not Food
Toddlers will eat bugs, marbles, pocket change, dog food (which, technically, is food, I guess), crayons and flowers, but the second you put a green bean in front of them they turn up their nose. Really, kid? You just ate dirt, but you won't eat a vegetable?
They Play With Toilet Water
In a toddler's mind, if there's a bowl full of water in the bathroom it must be there for them to splash around in. The aging battle between men and women, revolving around putting the toilet seat down or leaving it up, is completely squashed when you have a toddler. Don't just put part of the seat down, put the whole thing down, lock the bathroom door behind you, and barricade the bathroom with vegetables to deter a toddler's interest in playing with toilet water. No, I'm not exaggerating. This is not a drill, people!
What You Need In Your Toddler Survival Kit:
The good (and sad) news is that toddlers eventually grow and develop and learn to understand the importance of things like hygiene and cleanliness. Almost every night I dream about the day when I won't have to clean urine off of the floor. In the interim, I approach my parenting with as much preparedness and bleach as possible. So, what do I have in my toddler survival kit, you ask?
- Antibacterial wipes
- Magic erasers
- Heavy duty cleaning gloves
- Nose plugs
- Holy water
- More bleach
So yeah, toddlers are gross, but cleaning up their chaos gives you a reason to start drinking before 5:00. Kidding! Sort of.