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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Petersen


A mom’s life is a charmed life. It’s bows and books and wet kisses and high-pitched giggles and toe-counting, toddler-chasing, fun, fun, fun. But real talk—it can be kind of gross sometimes.

Like, Ellie is a sweet little cherub-faced baby angel, but yesterday she came running into my arms and I gave her a big squeeze and kissed her forehead before I realized she was dripping wet. The water droplets led straight to the bathroom, where a large puddle indicated that only moments before, she’d been a-splishing and a-splashing in the toilet. And the two of us were both covered in grossy toilet water. And I kissed her toilet water head with my lips. And typically, I try to keep my lips and toilet water faaar, faaar, away from each other.

Later that day I was changing her poopy diaper while doing my darnedest not to get poop on her, me, or any of our surroundings. This is proving to be more and more difficult as she has started trying to stick her hand down in the mess while my hands are full wiping her bum and holding her feet in the air. I thought I did a pretty good job with cleaning her quickly and effectively. I double sacked that dipe, washed my hands and moved on with my life. A little bit later Ellie came over and forced her fingers into my mouth. It’s a little routine we have. I say chomp-chomp, she thinks it’s hilarious, we all have a good laugh. But this time, afterward I noticed that there was POOP on her KNUCKLE. The knuckle that is connected to the finger that was IN MY MOUTH. Ew, ew, ewie, ewie, ew. GROSS.

I was a preschool teacher for far too long to be under any kind of delusion that kids are up to no nasty good when we aren’t looking. They’ve got redeeming qualities for days….but seriously, every time I would catch a kid with their finger up their nose or their hands down their pants I’d make them go wash up and think, “How often do I not see it?” Every time it would be my week to clean the bathrooms and I’d wipe the walls clean of poo finger prints I’d think, “Oh gosh, they totally touch me with those filthy little hands.”  And then, because little ones have yet to learn anything about personal space or “bubbles,” they touch you with them dirty paws. They touch you lots. We hug em’ and kiss on em’ and there’s gotta be a high level of denial about what disgusting thing they’ve done while we were looking the other way.

Like this morning, when I caught Ellie taking turns with Bower, my parent’s lab, licking the yogurt off her fingers. It makes me cringe something fierce on the inside, but I have a hope that this is how they build up stellar immune systems. If it isn’t, don’t tell me… because I kind of like to think there’s a silver lining.

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