The "Gross" Matters of Parenthood

From smelly shoes, to gross goo, to mold; I’m delving into the grossest of gross matters in parenthood!

Now that it’s summer, I’m hearing all kinds of complaints from parents about the “smells” coming from their kids’ rooms. Leftover pizza thrown in a drawer, sweaty socks and clothes stuffed into the closet, mold growing on something that used to be edible. My college student arrived home in May with tales of scraping “who-knows-what-with-that-disgusting-smell” for hours from a dorm-room refrigerator. (I was thankful that my teenager picked a college out of state so that I could hear about the event, rather than experience it.)

Then I heard about what kids found in their lockers as they cleaned them out at the end of the school year—from half-empty milk cartons that have resided in that dark space since September or partially eaten lunches that are turning colors or the leftover grapes that were meant to turn into raisins. What is it with kids and smelly shoes, gross goo, and mold? Why do kids compare boogers and see who can belch the loudest? Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what the fascination is.

Things I’ve Read:

1. Eleven-year-old Trinette Robinson of Connecticut won a national competition for having the most vile, smelly sneakers. 1
2. A panel of “master sniffers,” such as George Aldrich, a chemical specialist for NASA space missions, helped to declare Robinson the national winner.2
3. Robinson thanked a Girl Scout camp and community charity walks for helping her sneakers become the grossest in the nation.3

Talk Further

Ask your child: “What’s so interesting about being gross?”

Explore Further

What has your child done lately that you thought was gross or smelly? We want to hear about it!

1. Odor-Eaters, “Trinette Robinson, Age 11 from Bristol, Connecticut, Wins 35th Annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest,” news release, March 23, 2010.
2-3. Ibid.

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