My dog sleep pooped the other night. I can’t be sure because I didn’t see it happen, but the vet DID say that she is a reactive pooper so maybe she was reacting to a dream. Whatever this means to my dog is less important in some ways to what it has come to mean for me. Like anything else, sometimes it’s the little things that lead to some pretty important questions or revelations. That’s what dumb dachshund doo-doo did for me!
Creatures and creature comforts fill my home! I confess that I used to have some pretty significant anxiety as it pertained to keeping things not only neat and tidy, but also clean. I USED TO. That was before I had a family and four legged fleabags. Now either I have overcome the anxiety that used to plague me OR I have lowered my standards so significantly that I could very well need professional help. Or not. I can’t be sure and now I’m even more confused because of stupid dog poo!
I don’t think my increasing tolerance for mess is necessarily a case of me having lowered my standards. A few years ago I spotted a pile of dried up dog poop under the piano bench when we were on our way out the door. The old perfectionist me would have cleaned it up and sanitized that shit PRONTO. The new and improved, realistic mom me shrugged, laughed and said, “Meh, that thing is bone dry. I’ll take care of it when we get home.” And when we got home I was tired so I just went to bed. I didn’t lose one wink of sleep over the tiny puppy turds either. And the more relaxed yet grosser version of me was happier than the anxious perfectionist so I wasn’t worried. It was actually a relief!
Since I’ve had children, I can fall asleep with dishes in the sink, clothes in the washer AND dryer, toys in my bed, clothes on the floor, and un-brushed teeth. I will sleep soundly as the hooligan neighbor kids set off M80’s, making the dogs bark and the kids pile on top of me in bed. I’m clueless until the dog licks my face to wake me the next day and even then sometimes I’m sleepwalking. I’m often so exhausted that a few minutes of “resting my eyes” while listening to one of my children reading at night results in me waking up next to them at 3am, drooling on their pillow and bogarting their favorite stuffed animal.
Still, I always forgive myself and accept occasionally having to kick clothes and toys out of my way to get to my own bed because being all things to all people is tiring. I just cannot do it all. I accepted the reality that having a neat and clean house was next to impossible while having kids and pets. My mantra was (and still is to some point), “This ain’t Pottery Barn - people live here.” This prevents me from getting all worked up on the days when I feel like Princess Leia in the trash compactor scene in Star Wars, and so often that is exactly how I do feel. Like the walls are closing in on me because there is just too much trash and muck everywhere. There is no “off” button to stop the flow of stuff that comes along with living a life. The mantra comforts me. Makes me happy!
But my happiness with mess has limits and my reactive sleep shitter has opened my eyes a smidge, causing me to question the difference between having a tolerance for shit or absolutely surrendering to it. I mean there is a limit as to what a person can deny before turning into a prospective star a reality show called, “Mom Meltdowns: Madness or Mayhem? You decide.” Again, I’m on the fence.
What happened you ask? What was the eye opening, life changing reality check? It was a small thing really, so very, very small. It was the wee hours of the morning and something was itching my foot. I figured it was the dog’s foot or one of the bones she is always burying under the covers. Maybe a toy or a book that one of the kids left in my room? Was I dreaming or awake? I couldn’t completely open my eyes to know! Somehow common sense kicked in and I convinced myself that the scratchy thing was going to ruin me for the next day if I didn’t just pop open my peepers and get rid of it.
So I did. I squinted enough to grab my phone and turn on the flashlight application, lifted up the covers and there it was: an itty, bitty dried up puppy turd.
IN MY BED!
God help me, I couldn’t believe it either but I have cleaned up enough of these dried up nuggets of nasty that their presence is unmistakable to me. And it was unthinkable that I was having a slumber party with one. It was also unthinkable that in the middle of the night when I was so stinking exhausted that I could possibly muster up the energy and alertness to get up and change the linens on my bed. AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGHH! I WAS SO TIRED!
I started the sleepy self-talk. Maybe it wasn’t a turd? Maybe it was a broken crayon? Beef jerky? Tootsie Roll? DAMMIT. There was no denying it. It was poo. POO! But it was all dry and so little! What was I doing? What was I telling myself? I had to stop. Had I sunk this low? Had I lost every shred of dignity?
Sure the turd was bone dry and an inch long at best, but still it was POOP! A person with any standards at all, even a refrigerator box dwelling hobo sauced up on hooch would change the bed, right? Probably, but I’m merely an exhausted parent, tasked with the care and keeping of human adults, children and furry four legged souls that need me to be ON and alert to their needs unless they are sleeping and sometimes even then. I had to do something about this little problem before I was too awake to settle back into dreaming about getting a full body massage from a naked and very enthusiastic Ryan Reynolds.
So I did what any drained and mentally depleted mother would do. I decided NOT to strip the bed. I chose sleep and dreams. I chose the option that would make me a happy, kind and well rested mother the next day as opposed to an irritable, short-tempered and useless bitch. I wrapped the single, petite poop up in a few tissues, put it in the trash and went back to sleep! What did you think I was going to say? That I just left it there? I do have SOME standards. Sheesh.
However, you CAN see why I can’t decide between therapy and auditioning for a reality show, can’t you? Please tell me you can………………