A Parent’s Favorite Game

The privilege of a parent
To touch what others daren't,
To smell what shouldn't be,
To walk in puddled pee.
To find food in the toilet
And hear "that didn't spoil it".
The ways the children play
That make a parent's day.
But one that tops them all
Is a game we like to call
"The mystery of the goo -
Is it chocolate, mud, or poo?"

With a smudgey on the floor,
We never can be sure.
It's a quiz I often fail
And it isn't for the frail.
Those many shades of brown,
Oh, you better mark 'em down,
'Cause you never wanna' lose,
And you know you'll have to choose -
Is it chocolate, mud, or poo?
They leave it up to you.
Chocolate, mud, or poo...
I know my kiddos love me.
Yes they do.

-B.C. Byron
Is this stain chocolate, mud, or poo? Can I pick it up without a glove?

This poem idea comes from a social post shared by the Children’s Literature Podcast, the founder of which has been kind enough to feature my poems on the podcast a couple of times. I laughed when I saw this description as a Parent Gameshow and immediately thought of at least a few occasions when I had played it, and lost miserably. You see, as a parent there isn’t always time to do a thorough sniff test or run grab a paper towel to clean up the goo. When multiple disasters happen at the same time, you have to make your best guess and bravely clean the mess with whatever is at hand. Sometimes that means your actual hand. Hands can always be washed, or scrubbed with a scouring pad until some of the skin is removed, at a later time. Clothes can always be burned if needed. Grownups that care for little people are also blessed with iron stomachs and resiliant noses. This resistance to gross may or may not be aided by the thought that we’d only have to clean up our own stomach jelly, on top of the other messes, if we can’t hold it in. That can be a powerful motivator.

This poem also brings to mind an incident from my own childhood when a certain younger sibling had snuck into the food pantry and pilfered a rather large bag of raisins, which was eaten by said thief within in a few short hours. This escapade led to some unfortunate internal issues that resulted in incomplete digestion of most of the raisins. Little stomachs can’t handle that kind of sudden fruit load. At the time, a snack food called Raisinets had just become popular. I had seen the commercials many times and immediately recognized a trail of chocolate covered “Raisinets” on the living room carpet leading up to, and onto, the couch. I asked my mother if I could have some Raisinets too. Thankfully, the true nature of the chocolate droppings trail was discovered before anything went into a mouth, and a grumbling little toddler was rushed to the bathroom to finish the purging.

That’s enough gross business for one night. I need to go check the carpet and couches for spots.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is available on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and Google Books. I post new poems and illustrations every week.

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