You. Reading this. Do you have kids? If you do, they’re gross.
Whoa. Relax. Don’t get offended. I have kids. They’re gross too. It’s not a matter of whose kids they are. It’s a matter of kids in general. Most of the time, they are adorable miniature people. They’re cute simply due to their size. Much like tiny food or micro-machines, the pint-size nature of their physical being can be enough eek out a sure-fire aww.
Deep down, though, they’re just like us as grown-ups. We’re gross too. In fact, the only reason why we don’t walk around coughing into the air, blowing our noses on guest towels, and shoving pudding into our mouths with our hands at the diner is because of public awareness and a lifetime of correction. We know how to control ourselves because we’ve been on Earth longer. We play the game.
Kids, however, don’t. Without that sense of keeping their disgusting nature hidden, they unveil their repulsive sides to the world.
The stories go from cute to catastrophic with revolting levels measured across a wide spectrum. Both of my children have tested the boundaries of good taste and left my threshold for nausea much higher than it was before them.
My daughter, back when she was a baby, was an expert at this. As soon as she was born, she appeared to be melting in front of us. Whether it was a nose or an eyeball, there was always a tissue in hand to dab something dripping from her face.
One day, just as she was starting to talk, my mini-princess walked up to me with her two pincher fingers carefully holding what I thought was an imaginary handkerchief.
Daintily, she approached, placed her hand into mine, and let go of the object. I looked down at my palm and was surprised to see a tiny white speck.
Here you go, Daddy.
I looked down at my hand and then back at her.
What is it?
She answered as she walked away.
It came from my mowff.
I stood frozen as her curly hair bounced away with each step. I scrubbed my hands for days after that. It was one of our most disgustingly adorable interaction.
Stories like that are the tip of the yucky iceberg. My non-verbal son is the king of the gross-out as his inability to offer a verbal explanation often leaves his victims standing there like doofy adults on a Disney Channel sitcom. It’s enough to make you want to carry a trombone around just to give these stunned victims the old “wah-wah” sound effect.
It all started back when Lucas was still able to wedge into a highchair. Just around two years old, he sat there, all roly-poly and darling, in his seat. This particular sushi restaurant was one of our favorites, although the wait staff could be a bit off-putting.
The overzealous waitress couldn’t help but pinch his cheeks and continuously remark on his endearing presence. You couldn’t blame her. He was lovable through and through. Who wouldn’t want to get right up in his face with an old-fashioned coochie-coochie-coo?
So that’s what she did. Already dealing with a slight language barrier, she seemed to throw caution to the wind. He smiled as she leaned down. Looking delighted as she inexplicably placed her face one inch from his, my son’s eyes widened as she gave him a big smile.
And he proceeded to unleash the most magnificent sneeze you have ever seen – all over her face.
Her once glowing expression was now frozen in shock and drenched in whatever he had in his sinuses. No one said anything as she slowly stood up, mortified, and walked to the back without a word. There were no more pinched cheeks after that and I was almost positive she spit in our food as retribution. I wouldn’t even blame her.
That tale, I’m afraid, isn’t the top of my boy’s grossness hitlist. That honor goes to the great bus ride of July 2020. You may remember it as the summer of COVID.
Much like others in his program, Lucas struggled with remote learning for those initial months. After fighting to have his small special education class return to in-person instruction, the doors finally reopened that July and he prepared for his first big day back. We waited excitedly as that bus rolled back up for the first time in months. After all the letter-writing and protests, my son was finally going back to school.
Concern, obviously, was heightened given the pandemic still going on around us. Making matters worse, his sensory issues prevented us from keeping a mask on his face. While time eventually helped him learn to tolerate the face cover during times of necessity, he was completely unmasked for those early days. That was the case when the bus pulled up to our home.
As it did, a new bus aid descended the steps. This man was completely covered in protective wear. He had a mask, face shield, and a hat. This dude was ready for the COVID challenge. The only exposed skin he had was his hand and upper arm. He stepped forward and reached out.
Just as his uncovered hand motioned for my son to start his first day of coronavirus-era school, Lucas leaned his head back like a Looney Tunes character. It was all happening in slow motion.
What followed was an even more epic sneeze than ever before. This one made the sushi waitress seem like a light drizzle.
The matron’s entire arm was soaked and the front of his face shield looked like someone had thrown a large Slurpee at him. We all stood there in shocked silence as he visually regained his composure and robotically led Lucas up the steps. I felt terrible…
About the fact that I laughed so hard when they pulled away.
Don’t get me wrong. I was sorry for what had happened, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing that can be done about moments like that. My kids are gross. Your kids are gross. Everyone’s kids are gross. They grow and evolve, but for now, it’s what it is. The school bus staff knows it already. One waitress at a closed-out sushi place on Long Island knows it. Me, the guy holding “mowff” junk knows it too. We all do.
Grin and bear it. The only thing you can really say is “bless you”.
Every Friday on HIPODIMDAD.COM, Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, IHeartRadio, Pandora, Tune-In, Alexa, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Pocket Casts, Deezer, Listen Notes, and…Everywhere Pods Are Casted.