35. Touch Gross Stuff

Boys are so heavily invested in gross stuff that I’ve been forced to break down this topic into multiple subcategories.  Therefore, following in the footsteps of “Eat Gross Stuff,” we find ourselves here to address the touching.  Good heavens, all of the touching.

Having already quite definitively established the fact that boys touch everything (Every. Single. Thing.), it’s no surprise that they are touching gross stuff.  The disturbing trend is that said gross stuff continues to be the single most attractive item for boys to touch. Without fail.

Case in point, our family is enjoying a perfectly splendid, meandering walk through the national mall in Washington, DC on a gorgeous summer night this past summer.  The three boys are doing what boys do: picking up every item that is not permanently welded to a national monument and hurling it into lakes and bodies of water with a ferocity not seen in these parts in centuries.  Pebbles, sticks, leaves, flowers.  It’s all going in the lake.  The ducks and geese haven’t been this worked up since the Union captured Arlington House.

And then Nathan hits the mother lode…

Nathan: “Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyy!  GUYS!!  I found something!!!”

(note: this phrase precedes parental discovery of gross stuff on approximately 97.3% of occurrences)

Me: “Uh-oh.  What did you find?”

Nathan: “Look!”  (Holds up used flosser.  VERY used.)

Me: “DUDE!! Put that down NOW!  That is disgusting – somebody probably flossed with that, man…


(didn’t really say that last part but wish I would have)

Nathan: (forlorn look spreading on face, hand drooping back toward the ground and letting flosser fall)  “But Dad, it’s just like our flossers in our blue bathroom.”

Me: “Dude, there are like 9 million people a day in this park.  You don’t pick up stuff that even remotely involves bodily functions.”

Nathan: “Oh.”  (Has no clue what I just said, runs toward Connor, who has cornered another duck.)

Pretty much if there’s a gross item within touching distance, boys are mandated by law of physics to touch it.  Like magnets.  When peeing in public bathrooms, boys will totally press their entire pants, legs and hands against the edge of the urinal.  Always.  Thank goodness all grown men are aware of this magnetic law of physics and take care to always avoid leaving any germs or other various DNA samples attached to the edges of public urinals.

Once after some afternoon field trip, I had all three boys in the restroom to change clothes before an evening service at church.  Inadvertently let them lock themselves into stalls, leaving me outside to attempt coordination.  Total rookie mistake.  Eventually found myself bent over, head between shins peering upside down into stall #3 where Nicholas was doing the “try to rake pants/socks/shoes all bunched up at ankles off with one foot” move while grasping the toilet rim with both hands for balance.


Seven minutes later we emerge, three boys in new clothes, me with pants soaked by multiple soap and water washes/rewashes, at which point my wife gives me the I-can’t-let-you-supervise-anything look.

Whatever.  You cannot win.  Boys are gonna touch all the gross stuff anyway. Millenniums from now, the battle will rage on.

What about you, what gross stuff has your boy picked up?  (Besides flossers.)



11 thoughts on “35. Touch Gross Stuff

  1. When my youngest was 2, we were in a petting zoo. I turned my back for a second and he dumped all of the animal food from the Dixie cup and found their water. Yep, he put the cup in the water and starting drinking it, as I was screaming Nooooooooooo!! I caught him pretty quickly, but not before he had a swig. It still grosses me out to this day!

  2. I thought of this incident after reading your blog, although it probably falls in a slightly different category. Once when our youngest (Justin) was about 2-3, we were in church and a tic tac got stuck up his nose. Don’t ask, just use your imagination, it’s probably correct. After trying to determine whether to dig it out or blow it out, it was finally released into the palm of his hand. Most obvious thing to do after this? Being quicker than the hands of parental supervision, the tic tac is deftly launched into the mouth and with a smile, forcefully chewed to smithereens. yum…extra flavor tic tac.
    We always seemed to be more entertaining than the preaching to the people in the pews around us.

  3. Every wall… every WHERE! Nursing homes, hospitals, bathrooms, zoos, malls, honest to goodness, if we walked through an underground sewer tunnel, they’d be caressing its slime-coated bricks as they walked along just to see what it felt like.

  4. Attending the oldest son’s Little League Tournament one summer, my youngest trailed behind me as I went to the concession stand. Knowing I was about to spend the crisp bill on what look liked to me as a smorgasbord of concession foods. This wasn’t any concession stand, it was the snacks of all summer fruit neatly placed on ice, fried foods, ice cream, hot dogs on the roller, sloppy joe’s, just to name a few. As I retrieve my massive order probably grateful I didn’t have to heat up the kitchen that Saturday and cook for my family of 6, I neatly pack my order into the carry box which was needed to haul it back to the bleacher seats.. When I turned around it was my surprise and panic to see my 3 year old with a giant wad of bubble gum. Sporting a crew and very back yard tan, his cheek resembled that of a hamster. This wasn’t any ordinary wad of bubble gum, you could have hung 5 pictures, caulked two bathtubs and plugged a hole in Niagara Falls – it was GIANT and shoved inside his tiny cheek. I inquire, ” Aaron, where did you get that bubble gum?” as he pointed to the ground. Apparently I was so fascinated with what was behind the counter which was out of my little sons vision, he was inspecting the gravel, cigarette butts and discarded wads of gum. I proceeded to wash his mouth out with water rubbing his tiny teeth and he obliged with his cheese grin, I brushed his teeth with my index finger and but I couldn’t seem to get the taste out of my mouth! The good news that day was, they won the game.

  5. Pingback: 41. Drink Gross Stuff | Stuff Boys Do

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