The house seemed darker than normal yesterday morning, and as I peered out the window I saw a thick layer of fog hanging over the neighborhood that gave me a sudden shutter. I swiftly closed the curtains and softly moved down the dark hallway, perplexed at why the kid’s bathroom door was closed and the light was off. Typically, I go around in the evenings shutting off bedroom lights, hallway lights, but always leave their bathroom light on and the door at least half way open.
I peeked in both of the boys rooms and saw they were still soundly sleeping, and I lingered for a moment at Jake’s door wondering why the bathroom door would be shut. Maybe my husband did it on his way to bed? No, not likely. Just as unlikely was the thought that one of the boys turned off the light, shut the door and walked back to their room in the dark.
I reached out my hand and touched the door knob, just holding it there for a moment. What was I afraid of? Surely a burglar wouldn’t be hiding waiting to jump out at me. Last I checked, although it some times felt like it, this also wasn’t an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Some crazed knife wielding killer wasn’t lurking behind the shower curtain. “Turn the knob, Susan.” I told myself, but my hand stayed motionless. Why am I not opening this door. That’s it, no more paranormal shows at bedtime if this is how I was going to act. I’m cutting myself off. How ridiculous was it for a 32 year old woman to be afraid to go in a bathroom?!
A sudden noise behind me made me jump and grab my chest. Joey, like the ninja that he was born to be, had climbed out of bed, opened his door, and made it all the way down the hallway before I heard him. “What are you doing, Mom?” Before I could answer he was already on to his next question, “Can I have Frosted Flakes for breakfast, pleeeeease?” I quickly shushed him and hurried him back into his room. After picking out his outfit for the day, I instructed him to get dressed, and returned to the bathroom door.
Before opening the door, I turned and peered down the slightly lighter hallway and could see the dense fog just outside the window through a crack in the curtains. I immediately resolved that the spooky weather conditions coupled with the late night paranormal shows must be fueling my imagination. Even with that rationalization fresh in my mind, I found myself turning the door knob ever so slowly.
As I began to push the door open with one hand and lean into the bathroom, I half smiled thinking how the creaking of the door was playing right into the terrifying tale my mind was weaving. The door was now completely open, and although the small bathroom was still totally dark, it was apparent that no one was hiding in the shower and that aside from the darkness, it was just a bathroom. Feeling slightly relieved, my arm outstretched and I flicked the switch on the wall.
In a flash, a scene far more terrifying that any horror movie I had ever watched was now illuminated right before me. I started to yell out, but my voice caught in my throat. Joey immediately ran up behind me and I felt as though I might faint. Was it a bloody scene there in the bathroom? Words of terror scribbled on the wall from the great beyond? No, no. It was far worse.
“What is that?!” Joey questioned which immediately cleared him as a suspect. My chest tightened as I tried to give him an explanation. “That, Joey… Oh, my God…” I rambled hardly able to complete a thought, “that is poop….poop everywhere.”
Poop smeared on the toilet seat. Poop smeared under the seat, down the front of the toilet bowl. Poop on the tub. Poop on the rug. Poop on the sink. Poop in the sink. Poop on the light switch. Poop. Poop. Poop.
My thoughts turned immediately to Jake, the obvious culprit. I opened his door and he still laid there in bed, under the covers, sleeping like an angel. I flicked on his light and he didn’t stir. Looking around his room I saw two dark spots on his rug in front of his closet and directly next to a couple of Pull-Ups. Just like when detectives and crime scene investigators on the popular TV cop dramas put the pieces of a mystery together and replay the scene, showing us the viewers what happened, I too painted myself a mental picture.
Jake, who has now been potty trained even at night, for at least a couple months must have gone to the bathroom sometime in the night to do his business. Either he called out and didn’t wake us or he decided to wipe himself and smeared poop all over the seat as he climbed down. He bent over in front of the toilet to wipe, but was standing too close and smeared poo on the front of the bowl. Going to reposition himself, he turns, bends again and hits the side of the tub with his apparent shit covered ass, stamping several “Mr. Hanky” style poo splotches as he moves. In the attempt to wipe his own rear he gets more poo on his hands. He sits on the rug to get redressed leaving another smudge of poo on the rug. He then attempts to wash the evidence off his hands, but before that happens he leaves behind several shitty finger and hand prints in and on the sink. Upon seeing the mess he is about to leave behind, the toddler thinks quickly and shuts off the light and closes the door behind him as he leaves. He then returns to his room where he discards the poop stained Pull-Up and trades it for a new one, but not before rubbing even more poop into the fabric of his rug.
My first instinct is to wake him and bathe him in an alcohol based solution like Purell. I resist this urge and first Clorox the bathroom. I use nearly an entire container of wipes and go over every inch of the room, including places I’m sure he didn’t reach. My obsessive/compulsive disorder kicks into overdrive as I fight to kill every shitty germ in that bathroom. I go over surfaces multiple times, and still feel like the bathroom is coated in e-coli.
Jake got a bath in antibacterial hand soap, and again I resisted the urge to clean his nails with an antibacterial wipe and just used the baby nail brush to remove the remnants of the bathroom disaster from the night before. After taking the boys to school, I then scrubbed the rug in Jake’s room with Spot Shot, sanitized his sheets and blankets, and cleaned the bathroom one more time just for good measure.
The next time I get that scared, creepy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I won’t be so quick to dismiss it. No it wasn’t a ghost, or a murderer or an alien. For someone like me… someone phobic about germs it was far worse. It was a real life shit-astrophe.
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