21 May 2019

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Messes & the Perfect "Parent Kit"

Messes are a part of life from day one with children. The memories tend to crash in my mind on a regular basis, like the waves on Mexico Beach.  One minute they’re there, the next minute they’re gone.  They just mix and meander.  Griping about clean-ups is like peeing in the wind – and that’s just something else to clean-up.  I just wish I could come up with a perfect “Parent Kit.”

For those that don’t know, learning to change a diaper on a male child can be a challenge.  A –major- challenge.  You need at least three hands, and I learned it the hard way.  For those that do know, I salute you – “Bless your heart.”  Close your mouth and shut your eyes.  As soon as you open a baby boy’s diaper and the air hits, you are going to get a “golden shower.”  I do not say that with a smile on my face.  We had cloth diapers back then, I wasn’t real quick with the diaper pins, and I learned not to smile while changing one.  Not sharing details, just know it wasn’t nice.  I also learned to close my eyes and hope I didn’t stick the baby with a diaper pin.  Neither was pretty.  I truly believe every parent training program should come with rubber gloves and a full face mask.  Thing 1 only –thought- he trained me well.  I’m sure baby girls come with their own challenges.  I haven’t learned them yet, but I’m pretty sure granddaughters will teach me.

Thing 2 was a breeze.  I really thought I knew what I was doing by then.  Well, I thought I knew what I was doing before he broke his arm, his leg, his arm, and arm again.  Someplace there’s a brick wall with my head imprinted on it that match the scratches on my kitchen floor from his body cast.  It’s someplace next to the toilet that I tried to hold a 4 year old in a body cast that had to pee.  Cheerios and tissue targets couldn’t help that one.  

Then comes Thing 3.  That’s when I learned that garbage bags, shower curtains, or –any- plastic covering should be a part of the parent kit.  Ingles bags would have helped.  Thing 3 was just starting on rice cereal with grape juice.  Watered down grape juice, but that didn’t help the mess.  He had, what I’ve always called, a MAJOR BLOW-OUT! at Smiley’s restaurant on the Square, and purple poop went EVERYWHERE.  When I say everywhere, I mean from the nape of his neck, down to his ankles, the chairs, the table, the wall…  A good tip was left, but I don’t think it was enough.  It could –never- be enough. 

A gas mask should also be included in the parent kit, with love from Thing 4.  If you ever have a child that can burp and fart on command, hold your breath!  “Dookie Stick” details will just have to wait.  This is the child that liked to dump his diapers on his desk and play “mud-boggin’” with his trucks.  Lysol and Clorox would be a nice addition to the kit.

Annual cleaning duties included painting the walls.  The strip of painting started low, about 2’ from the ground and 3’ high.  It got higher as the kids got taller.  I still have –no- idea why children can’t keep their hands off the walls!  This is coming from a mom that has to get out a step-stool when the grown “kids” go back to base so I can wash their handprints off the top of the door frames and ceiling.  WHY?!?  

The icing on the parent cake is a vehicle with vinyl seats, rubber floorboards and several dings and dents already on the body.  You can park it on a slope and hose it out (helpful if anyone has the flu, the poops, or an ice cream in the summer that hits the floor), no worries about the exterior (if a ball or bike hits it, it’s really not a big deal) and candy/suckers/ice cream/French fries.. don’t stick well to vinyl seats.  A garden hose is a life-saver.  

Perfect Parent gift basket:
Diapers (the throw away kind!)
Rubber gloves
Safety Glasses
Face Mask
Gas Mask
Unlimited paper towels
Garden hose
Small paint roller
A wonderful sense of humor
A shoulder to lean on and a half-deaf, veteran parent ear to listen and laugh with.  

Any additional suggestions are always welcome.