I’m a mom of 7.5 kids (see my About Me page if you want to understand that one). I feel like I’ve seen and dealt with about any illness through the years and cleaning up blood, urine, feces, vomit, whatever. I can even leave the dinner table, clean up vomit from the sick kid in the next room, wash my hands, and come back and finish supper. Whatever. It’s what has to be done when you have that many kids and, like any mom, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Anyway, the stomach bug hit my older daughter’s house four days ago. She has just moved back to the area where we live to go to graduate school and has been in her new home with her two children (24 months and 8 months) for less than two weeks. Being a mom of 7.5 I clean and sanitize like no other when one person is sick. I can’t have it spreading to everyone and, even though I only have two still living at home, I still clean and disinfect when anyone is ill. I don’t want to catch their stomach bug and I don’t want them to get it again once they are over it the first time!
Today, during my lunch break from work, I go over to my older daughter’s house to bring her the laundry she dropped off at my house yesterday (remember…she just moved in…her washer and dryer are still in a storage unit two hours away). I also have dishes she brought over to throw in my dishwasher because she was too sick to handwash them and some grocery necessities—Pedialyte, applesauce pouches for the kids, character fruit snacks, and a fountain soft drink for my daughter (our one simple pleasure in life lol). Her next round of dirty laundry to wash goes with me so I can wash it when I get home from work since the kids still have vomiting and diarrhea.
So, back to work I go. I work until 6 pm and then go home to get my 15-year-old. He and his older brother are the cleaning crew at my business (a local mental health outpatient facility), but his older brother (the one with the driver’s license) is canoeing in Canada with his Scout Troop. So he can’t drive them. Additionally, my husband is a firefighter literally working 72 hours in four days this week, so he can’t help either. Thus, I get to transport my younger son back to work to clean after I have already been there all day long.
Poo, Poo, and More Poo
I make it home to pick him up to find my daughter had come over while I was at work with AN ADDITIONAL load of diarrhea laundry from the two-year-old. (The eight-month-old didn’t start vomiting until hours later btw!) My daughter put her laundry in the washer and went back home.
I went to put it in the dryer when I got home and start the one that was in my car from when I went to her house over lunch. However, I opened the washer to find it covered in tiny pieces of fecal matter.
I call my daughter to see if maybe she didn’t think to wipe it off or rinse the clothes off before she put it in the washer since she was not feeling well either, but that wasn’t the problem. So, back in the washer with the laundry. The 15-year-old and I grab some supper and then go back to work so he can clean.
What’s wrong with my washer?
We get home at about 11 pm (no big deal since it’s summer break for him) and I find the same problem with the washer! Tiny pieces of fecal matter everywhere! So….out goes the laundry from the washer, still covered in tiny fecal matter pieces. I sani-wipe the inside of my washer to get all the tiny pieces left behind… Now…remember… I have 7.5 kids….There is only a rare occasion when I can say I have never had to do something. Until today I have NEVER had to sani-wipe the inside of my washer! At this point, all I can do is laugh, clean up the mess, and put the laundry from lunchtime in the washer to see if it can get clean.
I’m out of ideas for cleaning my grandson’s bedsheets, clothes, favorite stuffed animal (that I got him of course), and his comforter. I consider buying new ones….but we have no Disney Store in town anymore to replace the stuffed animal and the comforter belonged to my oldest grandson, this grandson’s cousin, and probably cannot be replaced since it’s a fire truck quilt….so no buying new things and pitching these!
Now, I’m on to figuring out Plan C….take everything outside and hose it off with the garden hose. This seems easy, right?? Well…out I go and drag the 15-year-old with me. We have no lights in our side yard and can’t find the hose that’s actually hooked up to the water (there are separate hoses in the side-yard along with two pallets of paving bricks because my husband is paving part of the side yard).
When we finally find the hose connected to the water the hose is run over the backyard fence and hung around a smaller fence post in the back yard. We can’t go through the gate that is right in front of us because my husband zip-tied our gate shut. My son stays in the side yard while I walk through the house to the backyard to hand him the hose to take to the driveway. Apparently, the hose was still turned on because I get sprayed as I’m handing the twenty or thirty pounds of the hose over the fence to my son.
Hiding in the fitted sheet…..
Back through the house and back out to the driveway I go. I spray everything and it’s still yucky. I then spray each piece individually. When I get to the fitted crib sheet it seems like it just keeps getting worse as I spray it, rather than better. Upon further inspection, there was a very large toddler turd remaining in the corner pocket of the fitted sheet!! No joke! I have no idea if this was the only solid bowel movement my grandson had in days or if being washed twice caused it to form into a very large toddler turd, but that’s what I found! (A second first for this mom/grandma this evening!)
Also, keep in mind it’s about midnight by the time this little present gets found. I finish rinsing everything off with the hose, ring it out, put it back in the laundry basket, carry it back in the house and up the stairs to the laundry room. The other load is still running, so I do a few other things around the house while I’m waiting for it to get done and I can put in this load.
So, it’s now 12:40 a.m. and the first load is finally done. I’m putting in the laundry I just hosed off and rang out in the back yard into the washer to find that, apparently, there was more water left in those items than I gave them credit for. I now have a puddle of icky water with a few specks of fecal matter left behind in the bottom of the laundry basket. I get the clothes in the washer and then have to figure out what to do with the icky water and icky laundry basket.
Remember the 17-year-old canoeing in Canada? He’s not home…so I head to his bathroom (both boys have their own bathrooms now because there are two bathrooms upstairs and two boys left at home). He’ll never know the difference, right?? I put the icky laundry basket in the bathtub and find out there is no normal soap in his bathroom. Guess what the baby’s laundry basket gets washed with?!? Axe body soap! That’s all I could find in the teen boy’s bathroom and I wasn’t searching around the house for anything else because my hands are all icky from everything.
What a day/night it has been!
Morals of the Story:
- Stomach bugs are icky!
- When you think you have experienced everything….think again! (I sure never thought I would have to sani-wipe my washer or have washed a poop ball TWICE!)
- Double and triple check the corners of those sneaky fitted sheets!
- Sometimes poop hides! Be careful!