Kids are gross, and they don’t believe in trash cans, which is probably why I found a sticky, slobbery lump of chewed candy on the floor beside my toilet. Which one of my four lovely children put it there is anyone’s guess, but it was clearly something that one of them had shoveled into his mouth and then decided he didn’t like.
It had once been something chewy — a Starburst, maybe, or one of those weird fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls — but it was now reduced to a sugary glob mucking up my bathroom floor. I mean, it’s not like the area around the toilet is exactly sterile and pristine, but there’s not usually a gnawed on, taffy-ish chunk glued to the floor with its own spitty syrup.
I pried the gummy mass off the tile and tossed it into the toilet, figuring it would swirl happily down the hole where all the other nasty crap (literally!) goes. Then I peed on it because that’s why I was in the bathroom to begin with. After I flushed, I peered into the bowl to see if the candy had gone down, but nope, there it was, adhered to the side of the toilet like some sort of fruity pink barnacle. I wasn’t about to go in after it, that’s for sure.
It was made of sugar, so surely it would dissolve, right? If not completely, then at least enough to be on its merry way with the next flush. Right?
Or so I thought.
A little while later, I was folding laundry in the adjoining bedroom when my husband went in to use the john. “Uh, Honey?” he called. “Is this…candy in the toilet? Do I even wanna know why?”
I explained the situation, suggesting that he might be able to dislodge it with a stream of pee. I mean, he could aim right at it! He accepted the challenge (with a little more enthusiasm than a 30-something man probably should have) and let loose with a targeted urine stream, directly battering the candy with laser-like precision. But it remained firmly in place, stubbornly clinging to the porcelain despite being submerged in water (and pee…twice). Amazingly, not even the second flush could budge it from its resting place.
Like most moms, though, I had more pressing issues to worry about — and let’s face it, zero desire to fish it out. So I left it. Again.
A few minutes later, we were getting ready to leave the house and I instructed the kids to go to the bathroom before we left. My son Cameron, who was 4 at the time, went into our bathroom. I heard him peeing, but there was an oddly long pause before I heard the toilet flush. And when he finally emerged from the bathroom…he was chewing.
Just happily smacking his jaws.
My stomach lurched. I didn’t want to ask the question because I was pretty sure I already knew the answer, but I did anyway: “Cameron? What’s in your mouth?”
“Just some candy,” he mumbled through a gelatinous pink mouthful.
“And did you get it…” I gulped, eyes watering, “from the toilet?”
He nodded nonchalantly, like it wasn’t weird at all. Like it was typical to find treasures in the toilet. Like it had, in fact, been quite a lovely surprise, brightening his otherwise boring day. Free candy!
And then? HE SWALLOWED IT.
Oh yes, he did.
To recap: My child ingested a piece of candy that had been chewed up (by someone else, no less), spat in a slobber-soaked heap onto the bathroom floor, deposited into the loo, marinated in toilet water for at least an hour, and pissed on by three different people.
I was horrified. Nauseated.
My husband was laughing hysterically.
I’m happy to report that he survived. He’s 9 now, but I still like to remind him of this whenever he has the audacity to turn up his nose at whatever I’ve cooked for dinner (like my chili could possibly be worse than pissy toilet candy? Psssh). And I can’t wait to regale his future significant other with the stomach-turning tale — just as the two of them lean in for a kiss.
Ahh, the (very gross) joys of parenting.