Shit Everywhere (or How to Get Your Child to Help Around the House)

By: Tosha Woronov

My dog has diarrhea. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but I do know I can’t handle it anymore. He’s behind me in the office right now, farting away as I type. He’s throwing up too, and I’m having trouble finding my compassionate side. I know he can’t help it, but coming home after a long morning of helping out at my son’s school (Kindergartners! What kind of prescription medication must his teacher take in order to put up with 20 psychos all day?) –to a house already dirty with dishes and piles of laundry and scattered crayons and whatever the cat’s gotten into –to find piles of vomit and poop on various rugs throughout the house (on the rugs -always the rugs -never the hardwood floors), I could only think what the FUCK have you been eating?! It’s not the cat food anymore. His incessant eating of that caused a bout of diarrhea several weeks ago –an episode that went on for five days and got so bad that by Day Five I sobbed and sobbed while cleaning it. Now I stand like a sentinel as the cat mows down his meal, guarding before Charlie can sneak just one more taste. So it’s not cat food. Look closer. Oh it’s grass! Of course it’s grass, fucking stoner dog. Stop eating the grass! Oh look at this pile –is that…rabbit poop?! Are you seriously eating rabbit poop from the backyard?? So I lost it again yesterday when Leo and I returned home. Not right away, but once I saw that the cat had walked in it, had walked all over the couch –tiny kitten vomit/crap footprints on our couch –I lost it. I didn’t sob. I yelled. Oh my GOD!!!! I cannot DEAL with this! I’m gonna LOSE it! I can’t TAKE this anymore! What is WRONG with this dog?? When is your DAD…GOING…TO…GET…HOME!!?!? And then I noticed Leo. Poor Leo. Beautiful child of a crazy woman. He was crying, silently crying.

I found my compassionate side.

Baby, it’s ok. Mommy is just really really overwhelmed right now. I’m not mad at Charlie and I’m DEFINITELY not mad at you. I shouldn’t let you see me so upset. It’s ok baby. Shh, shh, it’s ok. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

And I found my compassion for Charlie, too. How dare I judge him for eating shit that makes him sick? I once had the stomach flu all day on a Saturday but came downstairs 10 hours later –my stomach still trembling — saw the pizza that Pete had ordered for himself (while his sick wife lolled around on her deathbed), and ate a slice. Of pepperoni pizza. I’ll never forget the look of disgust on Pete’s face. So I can’t judge Charlie. Maybe rabbit poop is delicious. But still.

I stayed up last night petting his head, checking his nose for signs of coolness (maybe an old wives’ tale, but I always feel better when his nose is cold), wondering if we should go to the vet. I know the only real issue right now is dehydration (we’ve been through this before) so I tried like hell to get him to drink water, or lick an ice cube, which worked when he was a puppy. Please Charlie, just drink something. Nope. But at the crack of dawn today I let him out to pee or throw up or whatever he had to do and he went directly to the moss-covered, half-filled, slime-infested, unplugged water fountain…and drank from that. Good choice Charlie.

I will say this: I am not at all proud of freaking out so badly that I made my son cry. I’m ashamed actually. (You know you’re really ashamed when you decide to confess it in a blog.) But Leo has been incredibly helpful ever since. Jumping out of bed the second I woke him for school today, finding clothes to wear without protest, brushing his teeth with no prompting, and even asking last night before bed…(ok this is the shameful part)…”Mommy is there anything I can do to help your burden?” Burden. He said burden. (Oh god I am the worst.) He’s afraid of upsetting his crazy biatch of a mother so he’s now Mr. Cooperative. But is that so bad…? It’s a positive outcome, right? Just the other day he removed his socks while watching TV, tossed them up, and cared not at all that one landed on the flat screen. But today he’s thoughtful. Today he wants his mother unburdened, and how many 6-year-olds feel that way? The dog loses his shit, I lose mine, and the kid behaves. Nice!

I know; scaring your child to the point of total compliancy is probably not recommended in modern alterna-parenting books, huh?

Ok, I have to be finished with this now. The smell’s unbearable…


[Photo Credit: Flickr Member Leah Lockhart Rogers]


  1. says

    And I thought I was having a bad day! My day in no way compares to cleaning up doggie diarrhea. I feel bad for you. However, on a positive note, I feel much better about my own life now. :) So sorry. My children have seen me lose it on numerous occasions. I hate that deer-in-the-headlights look they get when mommy is raving like a lunatic. But I least you’re getting good behavior out of it. Maybe the end justifies the means? Maybe?

  2. says

    Tosha, every parent feels that way and I don’t believe in letting our kids see us unemotional. From time to time a good rant shows them that life deserves a scream once in a while and he will see it not as a burden but something that needs to be released. I would have done a lot worse so relish in the fact that your “burden” was felt by someone else even if he is only 6. Love Leo and his compassion.

  3. says

    This is so well written..I could totally feel your anxiety! Mind you, I really laughed as I read this – your vivid description is amazingly humorous to me. I have a very similar dog story, but mine is just lazy and uses the whole house as a toilet…its exhausting.

  4. Tosha says

    Thanks Kerrie. As soon as I finished writing it I was able to say, “well at least I got a blog out of it.” If my dog’s diarrhea can make just one person laugh, well then, it’s all worth it. Sort of. 😉

  5. Cathy C. says

    Hey old friend, I had a dream about you last night and here I am!

    Such a beautiful blog-your writing has always been the best, beautiful son, and of course you are still as beautiful as ever!

    Email me…would love to catch up.


  6. says

    Eek! Our dog, too, last week. Colitis? Get some Pepcid-Ac for the dog, maybe a martini for you. Having oh, so recently felt your pain I send you warm thoughts.

  7. Tosha says

    Cathy! So great to hear from you! Oh my goodness! It’s been waaay to long!!

    Tanya: Pepcid-Ac! Oh, I wish I’d heard of that two weeks ago. I’m stocking up on some now. Thank you for the advice!

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