Our eight-year-old, Tristan, has to be the nastiest person I’ve ever lived with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the hell out of the kid. But frankly, I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle getting his hygiene up to par. Here are a few reasons why.
Skid marks: My son’s laundry basket has more dark lines than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After all the years I spent “checking his butt”, you’d think he’d have learned the value of a clean seat. But no.
Boogers: If my son isn’t eating his own boogers, he’s wiping them on his shirt, bath towels, or bed sheets. I cannot count how many times I’ve found his little green surprises on a towel while drying my hands. He’s also gotten sneaky about it, and has been putting them in the pockets of his shorts. This means when I do laundry, I have to check his pockets for boogers. I don’t recall this being listed on job description as a father.
Underwear and socks: My son will wear the same socks and underwear for three days. Sometimes longer. I try to tell myself that he is going green, but I know it’s not true. He’s just lazy. At least once a week Mel and I have to interrogate Tristan, asking him how long he has been wearing his underwear and socks. It always ends with me holding him down and stripping off his shock and underwear. Shameful, I know. But so are rashes.
Missing the toilet: I’m not sure what my son does in the restroom, but it doesn’t involve hitting the bowl. It’s like he’s painting a house yellow.
Brushing teeth: My son listens about as good as a goldfish. This means I have to push him up to the bathroom sink to get him to brush his teeth. Then I have to time him, and make sure he actually moves the brush around. My main goal is that he gets all the boogers off his teeth.
Farts: Tristan lets out more air than the New England Patriots. He announces it at dinner, during movies, and while at church. He talks about his farts with pride, as though he commands the elements.
Poop talk: He talks a lot about poop. It encompasses his similes (beans look like poop), metaphors (that dog is poop), recess activities (we found dog poop on the basketball court. We poked it with a stick)… I’ve gotten to the point where I just hope that he will grow up and become a scatologist (is that even a thing?) so I can more easily explain his obsession.
Obsession with filth: Somewhere there is a muddy puddle and my son is playing in it. Somewhere there is strange colored dirt and my son would like to rub his face in it. If it’s mysterious, sticky, and nasty, Tristan wants to roll in it. When I was a teen, I had a dog with this same problem. We gave it away.
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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.