I thought having three sons would prepare me for son number four.
I was wrong.
Very. Very. Wrong.
Last night, as I was putting him to bed, I smelled a strong odor of urine.
Me: Ethan? Did you have an accident in your bed?
Me: It's okay if you did. You just need to tell us. We won't get upset. But I don't want you to sleep in stinky sheets.
Ethan: Welllll...... maybe.
Me: Okay - well, let's get up and I'll make your bed all fresh!
I pull off the sheets, and wipe down the plastic mattress protector with some wipes, and start putting on new sheets.... and all the while talking...
Me: You know it's okay to have accidents. But you really need to let us know, okay?
Ethan: Uhm... mom? Could the pee have run down the side of the bed?
I look at him.
Now... let me backtrack to two days ago when Paul and I learned that Ethan had peed in the garbage can in the laundry room - where we put all the lint, candy bar wrappers, and other stuff we find in pockets...
Ethan had chosen to pee in the garbage can because, as he put it, "He couldn't make it to the toilet," which happens to be right around the corner...
Instead, it took Paul three days to discover that the strong urine odor was coming from the garbage can... the small pool of liquid at the bottom cinched his investigation.
Me: Why would it run down the side of your bed?
Ethan: I don't know.
Me: Ethan. Did you pee on the carpet?
I bend over and smell the carpet. Nope - nothing.
I turn a bit and notice an "under the bed" plastic storage container sitting on the floor.
Me: Ethan? Did you pee in the container?
I'm still standing in one place, but looking around and wondering...
...and then it hits me.
The container is covering the heating vent.
No. No. Way.
I pull the container away, exposing the closed white vent.
Me: Ethan? Did you pee in this?
Ethan: I don't know.
Me: Ethan. You need to tell me the truth. Did you pee in this?
HE. DID. NOT.
I lean over and smell the vent.
Yup. He peed on the vent.
But I didn't notice any stains on the white vent...
Oh. My. God.
I pulled the vent up and smelled inside the vent.
YUP. He peed IN THE VENT AND DOWN THE VENT.
Me: Ethan? Did you pee down this?
Ethan: Are you going to get mad?
Me: Answer my question.
Me: You pulled this cover off and you peed down this hole?
I stare at him for a moment, then get up and walk out - looking for his father... who I find in the kitchen downstairs. Paul asks me what I said to Ethan.
Me: I didn't say anything - I was too grossed out to say anything.
Paul: Well you need to get after him.
Me: Where do I being! He PEED DOWN OUR VENT! GROSS.
Paul: You need to tell him that isn't okay.
Ugh. Excuse me for being a little overwhelmed by this - I mean, how in the world do you begin to tell an EIGHT-YEAR-OLD that he shouldn't pee down your heating duct?! Should I be having this conversations AT ALL?
I get back upstairs and begin my lecture.
Me: Ethan. Pee is poison. Your pee is poison. Everyone's pee is poison. It is all the yucky stuff that your body cannot use - so it gets rid of it as pee. So, you put poison in the heating duct... and now, the air that come through this pipe to heat your room is going to smell like pee - which is poison - and is harmful to smell! You don't PEE in here! We pee in the toilet. We don't pee in the garbage can, or on the carpet, or in a bottle (that's another story), or anywhere in the house EXCEPT for the toilet!
Me: Do you understand?
He has the slightest hint of a grin... just the slightest... and that throws me over the edge.
Me: ETHAN! This is not funny! If you EVER EVER pee in anything in our house besides the TOILET, you... you... YOU.... are going to be grounded for the rest of your LIFE!
Now he looks scared.
I stomp out of his bedroom and into mine where I find my husband and my oldest son laughing their butts off.
Me: Stop it. If he hears you laughing he'll do it again!
Zachary: Oh my God. That is amazing. Where does he come up with this stuff?
I don't know. But clearly our other three sons have ill-prepared us for EPIC son number four.