We need to talk about piss.
If you are the parent of male children, you definitely need to stick around for this. Parents of girls can shut the browser down right now, safe in the smug satisfaction that you will never need to be part of a conversation that starts with the earnestly-invoked phrase “We need to talk about piss”.
Alternately, you can stick around to gloat. Your choice.
So, boys and toilets – it’s the sigh that’s heard around the world. I have written about this topic before on the blog, and several years later I am still perplexed by the mess that my sons make when they are using the toilet. Actually, in light of some new information I am even more perplexed than I was before.
Let’s back up a bit. It all started with our bathroom renovation last year.
We needed to completely demolish our hideous old bathroom, which was chock full of asbestos and – even more shockingly – chock full of awful 1970s design concepts like the completely inexplicable pairing of navy blue floor tiles with apricot wall tiles. The 1970s was literally a decade that threw shit at the wall to see if if stuck. And it did, particularly at my house.
Anyway, with the new bathroom design we were aiming for a sophisticated brand of Modern Contemporary but unintentionally ended up with Crime Scene Chic instead, because we seem to have accidentally chosen surfaces and fixtures that show up every single splatter of bodily fluid that leaves the orifices of every person who enters it. (Link to post with before and after pics is here for the curious)
Our old bathroom – with it’s tiny prison-cell window, dark brown trims and navy blue tiles – revealed nothing of the smelly little secrets that it contained. It perpetually stunk of piss, and no amount of bleach, vinegar or frustrated mummy tears could erase the decades-old odour of urine. It was a complete mystery to me – how could I clean it so much without removing that stench?
By way of comparison, our recently renovated bathroom shows everything. I mean, it looks really nice from a distance, but once you take a closer look it is basically the interior design equivalent of one of those blue light thingies that homicide detectives use to collect evidence at crime scenes – except instead of blood spatters our bathroom shows urine splatter patterns.
Thanks to the miracle of light-reflecting surfaces, I get to see every single drop of piss that doesn’t make it into the toilet, and it scares me. I now understand why my attempts to erase the stench of urine from our previous bathroom failed – my cleaning circumference was pitifully, woefully inadequate.
Here I was, thinking that my boys were missing the mark within maybe a 10 or 20 centimetre diameter of the toilet and it’s surrounds – which became my primary cleaning zone. The semi-regular puddles around the base of the toilet made a compelling case for this assumption, so that area naturally became the epicentre of my cleaning efforts. The seat, the cistern and the base. Simple.
Oh such silly optimism! To think that boys can be so accurately inaccurate!
Our new bathroom reveals a far more sobering truth. My children have a piss splatter zone that is actually closer to 1 – 1.5 metres in diameter, and the distance that some of it can travel frequently astounds me. It goes up, it goes down, it goes side to side and – somehow – it even goes BEHIND them.
How do I know this? I know this because our new bathroom has a 1.5 metre long shower glass panel that runs parallel to our toilet. We spent one thousand fucking dollars on that piece of glass, never suspecting that it would become an over-sized petri dish for culturing my sons’ wayward streaks of misdirected piss.
The matte-finish charcoal floor tiles tell a similar story, as do the glossy marble-print ceramic wall tiles. I can see everything.
Every drop. Every streak. Every goddamn splatter.
It makes me think of the Taylor Swift song “Shake it Off”, because in my head I can literally see my children “shaking it off” as they twirl, pirouette and breakdance around the bathroom, pee flying everywhere. It’s the only explanation for some of those crazy splatter patterns, and my boys are fond of dancing around with their doodles hanging out so they definitely have form.
So now, I’m waiting patiently for Tay Tay to release the follow up track – “Dab It Gently With a Tissue”. Until then, my cleaning circumference has now expanded to include every single nook, cranny, crack, crevice and corner of the room, like the forensic piss-cleaning champion that I am.
Alternatively, I look forward to the return to fashion of butt-ugly bathrooms with navy blue tiles and brown trims. I’ll still be able to smell the grossness, but at least I won’t have to see it. Well, kind of.