What did you wash out of your mouth today?
I don’t even know how to start this, so I’ll just say it.
My kid peed in my mouth today.
There it is. My child—a boy who turns four years old in less than two months—urinated in my mouth a couple of hours ago.
You should know my love for this boy is boundless. The younger kid—the one you might know as Dos—and his brother have absolute immunity for the entirety of their lives. They can do whatever they want, and my love for them will not flicker or wane.
And today one of them tested that dedication by shooting a stream of urine right across my lower lip and into my mouth.
I’m reading Live By Night by Dennis Lehane right now, and I’m giving away nothing too important about the book by telling you the protagonist (a young Prohibition-era outlaw) is the son of a high-ranking Boston police official. The early part of the book is a nice study of the bounds to which a son can push a father’s love. It strikes me tonight that at no point in the first act of this novel does Joe urinate in his father’s mouth. In fact, I don’t recall any urine at all. Lehane was smart. No reader would ever buy into something so unimaginable.
So, non-parents are sitting there asking, “How can it be that a child manages to commit such a horrifying act? How can a boy with the ability to hold his bladder until he makes it to a toilet do such a thing? How can a kid who needs a boost into his car seat even reach that high?”
Listen, I know we Willises are not necessarily private people. We live our lives aloud for better or worse. But good taste (and, really, no pun intended there) requires a little discretion here. Let’s just say, we’re at the tail end of toilet training with young Dos and, well, we’ve had easier tasks to complete. He knows when he needs to go have a sit-down. We know when he needs to go have a sit-down. Things get sort of blurry about the time he starts screaming he doesn’t want to. I only know he’s adamant he doesn’t want to, and we’re adamant that he must. I’ve had blackouts that have more reason and logic to them.
There’s no reason to attack this subject of toilet training in full, because it’s most parents’ least favorite job. I’m not breaking any new ground here. If you have a child four or older, you’ve probably also torn out your remaining hair trying to reason with an irrational machine.
But, damn it if I didn’t think we are on the verge of a breakthrough today. I saw the look in his eye and the dance in his step. There was an intestinal necessity about to rear its rear, and I was ready for it.
And so to the restroom we ran. I lifted him high, sat him upon the seat, and opened my mouth in such a way as to say, “Oooooookay, buddy.” And you’ll have to imagine this in slow motion, because that’s how I saw it. I had completely disregarded the fact it had been a couple of hours since he had been to the bathroom at all. I was sitting on the edge of the tub and leaned over in paternal encouragement.
And, yeah, that’s when he peed in my mouth. And, really, all over my face, pants, shoes, and hands.
And the kid laughed. He laughed with the kind of mirth reserved for drunks and the truly cruel. It came from his gut in high-pitched giggles that eventually drew a crowd to see what-oh-what was the matter.
But, my friends, that was the only thing coming from his gut in that room. He sat there long enough for me to rinse out my mouth, spit several times, wash my face and hands, and wonder how I have made it this long without striking another human being in anger. Then he got up with the promise that he would tell me as soon as he was ready to go.
I’ve been to some terrible places. I’ve seen some terrible things. I’ve been doused in substances I don’t dare describe here. I’m a man of the world, and I have rolled around in the muck. I’ve carved my initials into rock bottom. But today was a first.
“So, check that one off the list,” my wife said. And she laughed, too.
I showered. I relaxed. I got ready to put the boys in bed. I was tuning up an old guitar for a bedtime song when I realized something was wrong. It was like a tingling on the back of my neck, an electricity in the air…a bowlegged walk from a child as he walked into my office with a look on his face that made me say things in my head that I wouldn’t say in front of anyone.
And so it was on this March 25th, 2013 that rinsing urine from my mouth was not the grossest thing I did today. I’ll save that story for when my wife gets home. She probably hasn’t had a good laugh since the last time her husband had pee in his mouth.