Why Don’t Lick the Trash can? Where did that come from?
EJ was 18 months old and at the pediatrician’s office for his check-up. At this point, I had said more ridiculous things than I ever anticipated saying as a mother.
We waited in a small doctor’s office room for over an hour. I sang songs, did ring around the rosy, gave him a snack, bribed him with Elmo on my phone, and read him books. I literally did everything I could think of to keep a newly walking, very active toddler occupied and out of trouble.
I remember posting to Facebook that afternoon that I discovered the best way to get terrorists to talk; lock them in a small doctor’s office room with a toddler and only cheerios and an Elmo book and see how long it takes them to beg to get out. I don’t think they would last as long as a mother.
EJ had just been weighed by the nurse so he was in only a diaper. On more than one occasion I had to pick him up from the germ-ridden floor that he insisted on laying on. I turned my back for only a second to answer a text and when I turned back around, I saw it.
He was licking the doctor’s office trash can. Licking it. Like a popsicle. the can all the trash from sick people goes into. The can that most likely doesn’t get cleaned. He was licking it and staring right at me.
As a new mom, I was fairly certain that he had instantly contracted some awful disease and so I freaked out, yelling, “EJ, don’t lick the trash can!! No, no!!”
It was then that I knew that I had to start to look alive. This kid was on the move, fast, clever and would clearly lick anything. He would use the Target cart handle as a teether. Not sure why this shocked me about an 18 month old but clearly I should have read up more on babies. They are gross and do gross things that would cause an anxious mother like myself a great deal of stress.
Luckily at 11 years old, he doesn’t lick the trash can anymore (I can’t even get him to look up from TikTok or Fortnite ). And even though we are currently in a pandemic, my obsession with him not being exposed to germs has pretty much proved futile. But the name remains. A constant reminder of how unprepared I was for the surprises that parenting throws at you!