the mustard incident

As I sat in bed this morning, Brandon entered the room to greet me. We exchanged pleasantries, and he walked past me heading straight for the bathroom. He entered the bathroom, busied himself in there for roughly 20-seconds, then exited.

Upon his exit, he was holding a bottle of mustard.

He flashed a broad, toothy/gummy grin as he walked past me again, affectionately bear-hugging the bottle of mustard to his chest and then they disappeared around a corner together.

Let me tell you something: I am not in the habit of storing mustard in my bathroom, or any room outside of the kitchen. Because, I run a normal household, goddamn it. We are normal people, and being normal does NOT include storing perishable food stuffs where we defecate. ESPECIALLY mustard. So this begs several questions, the first being: when the hell did a bottle of mustard materialize in my bathroom? I’ve been in and out of that bathroom at least 10 times since last night, and not ONCE did I spy a bottle of mustard. Which leads me to my second question: how did Brandon know there was mustard to be had in the bathroom? I didn’t know it was in there. How did HE know? What else does this kid know that I don’t? He entered and exited bathroom in less than a minute, leading me to believe he went in there SPECIFICALLY for the mustard. He was on a mission, a mission involving mustard, and he knew exactly where it would be. The smile he gave me spoke to a confidence he had in knowing there was mustard in the bathroom, right where it was supposed to be. Not unlike the confidence someone has when they leave something in a familiar place, and then come back to it later, because that thing was right where they left it. Where it always is. Of COURSE there’s mustard in the bathroom, Mom. Duh. That’s where it’s supposed to be.

Two seconds later, my husband calls to me from the front room.

“WHY DID YOU GIVE HIM A BOTTLE OF MUSTARD?” he asked.

“I DIDN’T,” I yelled back.

“WELL, THEN, WHERE DID HE GET IT?”

“THE BATHROOM”

[….silence….]

“OH REALLY? MUSTARD IN THE BATHROOM?” he says.

I don’t have any answers, and frankly, I’m getting annoyed because now my husband has adopted this tone in his voice that suggests I’m lying. Which is stupid, because who lies about mustard? In fact, his accusatory tone makes me not fully trust that HE isn’t behind this somehow.

“MAYBE YOU GAVE HIM THE MUSTARD!” I yelled.

“WHY WOULD I GIVE HIM MUSTARD?”

“WHY WOULD I GIVE HIM MUSTARD??”

[….more silence…]

Aaaaand now we’re at a stalemate. Which is annoying because we’re both too proud to give in and admit one of us is being childish (him). But now I’m legitimately mad because HOW DID WE ALLOW MUSTARD TO DRIVE US INTO A STRAIGHT UP YELLING MATCH? The day I let some mustard test the endurance of my marriage is a dark day.

We never did get to the bottom of the mystery of the mustard, but we did eventually kiss and make nice. I think it’s safe to assume Brandon stashed it in there for future use, days (maybe even weeks) prior to its discovery. But I’m not fully on board with that theory either, because it suggests that I am a shitty housekeeper who doesn’t even know when condiments have been hidden in her bathroom for days on end.

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the time I called poison control

I have a habit of multitasking throughout the day. Re-tarring the roof while folding the laundry. Vacuuming while breastfeeding with no hands, and the like. Some days it’s putting on my make-up in the bathroom mirror while giving Brandon a bath. It’s something I do fairly often: hurriedly slather on my warpaint for the day while he frolics in the tub 6-inches away from me. Usually, it happens unremarkably and without incident. But not yesterday.

The scene of the crime.

The adorable scene of the crime.

Yesterday, while putting the finishing touches on my eye-liner, Brandon became curiously quiet for a moment. A few seconds (SECONDS) of silence had passed after I noticed a lingering lack of noise. “He’s quiet…… too quiet,” I realized. My reptilian brain screamed “something’s not right” when I looked over my shoulder and beheld…….. abject horror. There Brandon stood, waist deep in water that was once crystal clear, now murky green and floating with turds. Turds in the water. Turds on his skin. Turds on his hands. Hands in his mouth.

I wasn’t sure what to do first. I noted the immediate need to get the turds OUT OF HIS MOUTH, and that seemed simple enough, but it required me to navigate a complex series of obstacles faster than he could swallow. If he hadn’t already.
The look on his face said he was having a great time. His literal shit-eating-grin spoke it in volumes, as forest green strands of poop snaked between his teeth. His smile suggested this was the best bath-time ever, and this would surely be his first memory.

Meanwhile, I’m all like COULD YOU STOP TRYING TO MURDER YOURSELF AT EVERY TURN? At least wait until your father’s shift.

Up until yesterday I wasn’t sure if eating shit was a viable means to kill yourself, so you know, I started panicking. Brandon was pretty amused by my panic. At least ONE of us won’t recall this incident at our therapists office (I don’t actually have a therapist, but it couldn’t hurt at this point).

I figured, at the very least this was a surefire trip to the ER, followed up with questioning from Child Protective Services.

I didn’t know what other tool to use, so I jammed a finger in his maw and tried to fish-hook as much poop out of there as I could. But was that enough to stop the impending e.coli infection? I had no expert to turn to. My mom and my husband were both at work, so no help there. And my fingers were too clammy with sweat and poop to type out “does eating poop kill you?” on my phone’s touch screen. So I told Siri to call Illinois Poison Control. At least THEY could talk me off of that ledge, right?? Well, kinda.

The poison control lady had to cut me off because I felt compelled to share the whole story leading up to the poop eating. I just wanted her to know that I’m not a neglectful parent, so there’s no need to put me on some watch list because my kid ate poop.

“Eating feces is considered non-toxic,” she said.

WORD TO YOUR MOTHER? That can’t be right. Don’t you always hear about swaths of people getting sick because poop got in their bag of triple-washed spinach? “Are you SURE?” I asked, daring to question the experts.

“Are YOU sure it was HIS poop?” she asked.

Of course it was HIS poop. What kind of operation do you think I’m running? “Yes,” I assured her. At the very LEAST I know whose poop my kid is eating. WHAT THE HELL DO I LOOK LIKE?

“Well, that’s a relief,” she said.

Oh. I didn’t think relief was the appropriate emotion to go with here. But go on, poison control lady, I’m listening. “Eating your OWN feces is non-toxic,” she explained. “Just watch him closely for the next four hours and give him some water.”

Just give him some water and THAT’S IT?

………some WATER??

Okay, I can do that.

NOT TODAY, CHESTER

Last night, I was host to a heart attack.

At 10 at night, I got a text.
A text from a number I did not know.
Within the text was a picture.
Do you want to know what the picture was of?
It was a picture of my son.
There was NO follow-up text from the mystery sender.
Just a picture.
Of MY kid walking around in a park.

You best believe I promptly texted back with,”um, who is this?”
The answer I received read, “Your little bumblebee was at the park today.”
Aaaaaand, that was it. THAT all they said.

……..OK, so NOW I’m PISSED.
I text back, “YO, WHO IS THIS” really trying to choke down the urge to get ignorant with this mystery stalker.
The answer I received was another picture of my kid walking in the park, but from a different angle.

Okay, so at this point, I’m like utterly FURIOUS.

My husband is in bed with me like, “who the hell are you angrily texting? Why are you out of breath? Who are you threatening to call the FBI on? I’m talking to you, ANSWER ME, DAMMIT.”

But I can’t hear him over the roar of me cursing at my phone and angrily doing a reverse phone number search on google.  But THAT wasn’t getting me anywhere. At this point I’m so enraged, I’m channeling Tony Montana, like YOU WANNA PLAY ROUGH? OKAY. So I do what I should’ve done several minutes earlier and simply called the mystery phone number. THAT would’ve saved us both a lot of grief, and restored the years that were taken off of my life with this unmitigated panic-attack.

My Step-Grandmother-In Law answers the phone, and she is laughing her ass off at my buffoonery.

Relieved and shaken, I was like, “jesus woman, I WAS ABOUT TO RAIN A BARRAGE OF DEATH THREATS DOWN UPON YOU.”
She says, “you still don’t know who this is? why don’t you have my cell number saved?”
I’m like, “you’re 80-years-old, you’re not supposed to have an iphone.”

I only have the number to the crusty rotary phone she STILL has mounted to her kitchen wall since the 1970s. Then I text my mom the abridged version of the story, and she texts me back the “laughing so hard at your dumb-ass I’m crying” face. And she says, “you thought Chester the Molester was stalking Brandon at the park and taunting you with pictures, eh?”
I was like, “NOT ON MY WATCH, CHESTER. NOT TODAY.”