Things childcare books don’t prepare you for

Every once in awhile along this mothering gig I find myself doing something so utterly ridiculous it boggles even me. This afternoon, for instance, I was hunched over the utility sink scrubbing dog poop off checkers.

Yeah. Here’s what went down.

The eight year old wanted to earn some money and offered to scoop the “bad” corner of the back yard (otherwise known as the dog’s bathroom) for the princely sum of $2. I know a bargain when I see one, and happily agreed. Little did I know that the two year old would be trailing around after him, stepping in whatever he missed.

Then she tromped happily into the house, walking right through a set of ‘travel’ checkers in the process. The other eight year old’s jaw dropped to his bellybutton at the sight of the poopy things, and so to forestall a snit fit and save damage to my ears, I gallantly stepped in to do the de-pooping.

Never have I hated the little grooves in checkers so much.

Now I’m off to wash my hands. Again. For the third time.

Thus ends this installment of “The least glamorous job in the world.”

Got any of your own?


  1. I would have just thrown the checkers away! Little one has severe acid reflux- before his diagnosis he would projectile vomit anywhere from 7 to 15 times a day- not joking- he was almost 3 at the time. I then endorsed the rule, ” if it can’t go into the washer, dishwasher, or tub, and come out clean and smelling good- it goes into the trash!” my hubby felt that I was throwing everything away, so one day I saved everything for him- he now endorses the rule also! I know it sounds awful wasteful, but I can only deal with so much! Little one is one medicine now that controls it, but if he is sick and has to vomit, 9 times out of 10 he will hit the toilet- he’s skillful like that…..

  2. And here I was thinking that you ran your house with 8 kids so smoothly because you didn’t have any pets. Now I’m really impressed.

    How come we never see any pictures of the mutt?

  3. Brian, We have a dog, two horses, 4 cats, one guinea pig, 4 lovebirds, and 7 goldfish. Hmm…dog pictures…guess I don’t take many….


  4. Christine Masloske says:

    BLEACH!!!! Soak them in bleach water and they should come out clean!

    Or toss them which is what I do with “#2 accidents” in underwear. You have to pick your time spent and battles carefully!

    My gross story for you is this….a couple of years ago my children were all shod in their brand-spanking new shoes and we wore them over to our friend’s house who lives on a little farmette. Nobody told the kids to avoid the area with the broken drain tile from the septic system so my 3rd child comes up with BLACK SLUDGE all over his new shoes. Well, as you know, shoeing the whole family is not a cheap task and this was beyond gross to me; hubby and I would have been OK with tossing the mess into the dumpter!

    Bless the hostess’ heart as she immediately took the shoes, the jeans, socks, etc., and made it her responsibility to sanitize it all and provide my son with temporary back-up clothing! I’m not sure if it was from kindness or embarrassment but it saved the shoes and we then made all of the children, as usual, wear the shoes until their (the shoes) deaths!

    Love in Christ,

  5. Christine Masloske says:

    P.S. Of course the books don’t tell you any of this stuff, there’s already a shortage of mommies willing to do any of it, let alone the dirty work involved. Just as I’m sure we keep a jillion things from the newlyweds or singles we know, afraid to scare them off. Ahhh, but the blessings and joys that come from child-rearing, they normally don’t tell you any of that either!

  6. My ultimate moment in this category would have to be the one involving my elementary age daughter AND a pet AND vomit. The setting was a typical “we’re late again leaving for the bus” morning. The accident was the cat was left in the van and threw up on the carpet. The unfortunate development was that my daughter plopped her cute little backpack down in front of her seat right on top of the vile pile. Still unaware (she was a dreamy little thing) she slipped it onto her back and marched onto the bus, sat down and proceeded to spread the mess and odor all over the seat. About this time I am catching the drift in the front seat and begin to comprehend what has happened and run to retrieve my poor mortified child from the bus and get her cleaned up. The last comment I remember hearing was some child saying, “I think it must be applesauce”!

  7. Mary, won’t you be a dear and post the pics of all your pets?

    A fellow animal LOVER.

  8. Ugh……. [:-(

  9. that’s a pretty gross one.

  10. OH, ugh ugh ugh, Mary! And I’m with the other posters who would have tossed them into the trash, LOL! Guess I’m just not frugal enough…

    I have a poop-scooper too, but he gets a quarter a pile (we have a boxer, and she doesn’t go in just one corner, so I consider it a bargain)

    This is Jenni, btw…I used to have a blog called wonder woman meets grizzly adams that I’ve closed, but I’ve started a new one here at wordpress. I put you in my blogroll; hope that’s okay!

  11. Please don’t make me go there.
    It took my therapist 3 sessions to clear it from my memory the first time around.
    Doggie doo is nothing by comparison.

  12. Eewwww. My glamorous life today? After doing housework for someone else (yea, like I need more housework.) Came home to a toilet that overflowed, filling bathroom, out into hall, then various people walked through it and tracked it through the house.

  13. Yuck! It takes quite a while for things to feel clean again after those little incidents, doesn’t it?

    So many crazy/ gross things that you never would have dreamed of doing before mommyhood!

    Then there are all of those motherhood moments when everything just lets loose at once. (Like when one little person throws up, also spilling his juice everywhere in the process, and another of your little people responds helpfully by yelling at the top of his lungs, “EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! EW! ” etc., and the baby responds to all of this chaos and loud noise by shrieking and crying hysterically, and the phone rings… For instance.) And things just seem to move in slow motion for a second while you look about you and try to decide conciously whether to laugh or cry!

    Or those public spectacle moments, when you’re that mom everyone later talks about for dinnertime entertainment, prefaced by,”Oh! You should have seen this crazy mom today!” (The zoo, temps in the 90’s. Four kids, 7 months through 8. Two year old very happily crawling in the “mole tunnels” –which are, incidentally, smaller than the usual plastic tunnels, the diameter being less than the length of my femur and therefor inaccessible to me– until he quite suddenly decides he doesn’t like it. AT ALL. Inside the farthest reaches of the tunnel complex. A 45 minute stand-off in the hot sun ensues. Sweet-talking, coaxing, pleading, bribing, directing older brothers, trying to climb outside of play structure while leaving baby unattended… Oh my. Enough of that memory. I’m starting to sweat.)

    What’s funny, though, is that I knew before having kids that those moments existed. Of COURSE! You know, you see it in the movies for comic effect (ever seen “Parenthood”?). But you think that, surely, those are extreme, fairly rare happenings, all just assembled onscreen for our comic viewing pleasure… What was shocking was realizing that this was actually just regularly scheduled LIFE!

  14. Oh, Mary! Check your spam folder. Apparently I have once again offended your filter, and been deleted. (Though I can’t for the life of me think of why!)

  15. I think when Caiden threw up Gatorade-tinted vomit into my face and mouth probably tops my list. So far. He is only 5, after all.

    Bleach is your friend when dealing with poop:)

  16. At least you cleaned the checker! Reminds me of the time my son ran a Thomas the Tank Engine train right through a dog poop. Ugh. I unwisely put off cleaning the thing until “later” and stuck it in a ziplock bag. Well, I waited so long that the paint eventually started to peel off of Thomas so I, a little too gleefully, tossed the whole thing in the trash!

  17. hehe that was a funny story. life in the fast lane, eh? things happen in real life you just couldn’t make up if you tried. especially with kids. πŸ™‚

  18. Ooo, ooo, ooo! How could I forget? When we first moved to this border town, there was a K-Mart, since razed. I was standing in line with my 2 y/o, when I noticed she was squishing something around on the floor. There, on the floor, was a poop, human variety. It was NOT hers. After running her to the bathroom and staring at the tennis shoe with lots of grooves, I dumped it in the trash. She was happy. What girl doesn’t love a new pair of shoes?

  19. Hmmm…nothing too gross really comes to mind right now, although I know there were plenty of incidents. I attribute my bad memory to the late hour. πŸ˜‰

    Regarding the checker pieces, next time either pin them into a pillow case or put them in lingerie bag, then wash with the next load of laundry (with bleach, preferably!).

    Just a thought…..

  20. OOOOHHHH BRUTAL!!!!!! That is sooo horrible and I am LOL!!!

    THANKS for the congrats! πŸ™‚

  21. Soaking the checkers first would help (I’d use a solution of Simple Green); if I didn’t have a brush to get the stuff out, then, I’d consider a special run of the dishwasher with a cup of chlorine bleach thrown in to the first cycle. Another alternative would be to toss them into the nylons bag and run them through the clothes washer, assuming the checkers to be plastic.

    Make it easy on yourself.

  22. Never saw a chapter in any of those books called “De-pooping 101” You are so right! Occassionally, we find ourselves doing things we never imagined possible. But what a job it truly is–nonetheless!



  23. I WAS going to share the vomit story . . . but I read the other comments, and mine isn’t so vile (or funny) anymore!
    Happy day anyway!

  24. That’s so true what Christine said–no one prepares newlyweds for these episodes. Nobody warns us that for years we’ll be up to our elbows in various unappealing solids and liquids. Could I have been prepared in advance, though? Before kids, I was extremely nervous about how I would handle parenting. Maybe it was better to be ignorant. Then you just take each day, each disaster, each checker as it comes and deal with it.

    I was at a baby shower this past weekend thinking similar thoughts. Is it possible to warn her without scaring her? But of course we didn’t, certainly not in that setting. Instead, we just coo’d over the soft, pink receiving blankets and teensy booties and remembered the dry, delightful moments of motherhood: The baby fresh skin just after a bath (instead of the explosive diaper smeared up the back and staining clothes and carseat), and the quiet moments cradling the wee one while nursing (instead of the projectile vomit that shoots out and splatters like a fountain or a fire hose).

  25. Oh my gosh, this made me laugh! We should get huge paychecks for this kind of stuff, don’t you think?

  26. Yeah. The other day Malachi yelled to me from the other room,”Mom! I got some yellow junk on my finger! It came from my ear!” I yelled back, “Sometimes that happens when you have a cold, wash your hands real well, then bring Mama a Q-Tip!” Malachi: “No! It’s alright! I already licked it off!”

    PS – Thank you, Mary, for sending all those prayers our way. You (and everyone who stopped by to check on us) were a huge part of our being able to lay our hurt at the foot of the cross. You minister to more people than you realize, and I’ve met some incredible folks by checking on other blogs when you mention their joys or hardships. Can you believe I got 469 hits the day you asked people to drop by? That’s 460 more than I usually get πŸ™‚ I really felt lifted up in prayer. We all did. Thanks for being a part of our healing.

  27. ew. i don’t. not a mom (yet). just had to sympathize and say ew.

  28. Oh, boy, I could write a book, or a blog, hehe. Stop by mine for some of grosser and funnier moments!
    Trinity is a poop player, she loves all things to do with HER poop. She’s an artist with it. Not good for crib rails or walls. The worst was when she smeared it into every nook and cranny and railing in her Fisher Price doll house. I had to clean that thing soaking in hot water in the tub, where it didn’t fit, and scrub everythign with a scrub brush. It took a LOOOONG time to get it clean.
    One time my son fell 12 feet from a tree, catching branch after breaking branch into a black sludgey, stinky ditch in his brand NEW white sweat suit. I couldn’t let him in the house to wash him up because I would have to carry him over the whole length of the carpeted house! I had him stripped nekkid and handed through the bathroom window by my brother! The clothes went in the trash. And he wasn’t hurt, just really, really scratched and bruised. We said he got in a fight with a tree and the tree won!

  29. Oh well… I guess there was the time that Bean barfed right into my mouth!

  30. Ew! The baby threw up in my hair in the middle of the night, which was pretty gruesome.

  31. There was that night a couple of years ago…the four-year old started crying in the middle of the night and I rushed to his bedside. He was throwing up in his bed. As I was desperately trying to keep him fairly clean during this episode, his six-year-old brother in the top bunk leaned over the edge of his bed and proceeded to throw up over the edge of the bed. He did this from three different sides of the top bunk as he tried to climb down and make it to the bathroom. It took me the entire day to get that room clean. I kept finding ‘stuff’ everywhere. A lot of toys got washed that day!

  32. yesterday I had my 19 mth old over the sink, swishing my fingers & gulps of water in her mouth, trying to force little bits of sand out into the sink…I had to wonder what in the world she was thinking putting her hand into a large candle holder with sand & a pillar candle in it & then eating the sand!! & not just a little bit!! eeew!! but really, motherhood is unlike anything else…I am blessed & thankful!

  33. this isn’t as gross… but I remember being all dressed up, (evening gown) hair done, ready for my debut with the opera company in a concert… I went in to kiss my kiddo night night… PUKED all over me… I had another gown… but I went with puke smell in my hair. I just wiped it out the best I could.

    The audience couldn’t tell, and the other singers… well… oh well!!

  34. Hi folks. Got the T-shirt. Literally.

    Have been a full time professional poop-scooper for some
    4 years now. Some commercial, mostly residential. Almost
    exclusively for dogs.

    People ask me “why…?” I’ve had kids, dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, snakes, lizards, spiders, birds, rats… I’ve seen everything that can come out of a human or animal, and I’m
    all OK with it now.

    Plus it pays pretty well. πŸ™‚

    Need your own scooper? Find one at or
    my site,


    Jeff Morgan, The Grand Poobah, Denver, CO
    877 POOP-GUY

  35. ewhh…you are so right. the books don’t prepare us for that! but sounds like a chapter to me…

  36. Our dog loved to ‘relieve’ herself on piles of the kids’ toys. After the second time cleaning piles of little legos,etc. I decided it was time for our dog to go back to the pet store. We are not meant to the owners of an inside dog!

  37. I’ve currently got a shoe of my son’s that I’m cleaning doggie doo from. I think I’ve got to get a tooth pick now since his shoe has such tiny ridges in the bottom – Oh I’ll be using rubber gloves and probably wipe it down with bleach too….yuck!