So once you are a mom, your senses become quite perfected. You can hear your child's voice yell "Mommy" out of a crowd of a hundred little kids and you can hear your newborn's fussing before anyone else in the house. You can hear the fridge being raided or someone digging into the bag of chips in the kitchen, clear from the basement, and you can tell by the footsteps, who it is. You can also hear complete silence, that's lasted WAY too long, meaning someone's into something they're not supposed to be and about to get busted.
You can see by your child's eyes if they're sick, happy, tired, or sad. You can see your child's wet head in a public swimming pool jam-packed full of kids. You can feel on your arm if the bottle milk is just the right temperature and you can feel a fever on your child's forehead with no need for a thermometer.
Yet, it is your sense of smell that gets tested repeatedly over the years and usually not for the good. You can smell the difference between normal diapers and "uh oh" diapers. You can smell that someone has thrown up in their bedroom at night before even opening their door, and you also get the luxury of smelling the most peculiar concoctions of snacks and spilled drinks from underneath the backseat of the car. If your sense of smell is really trained, you can even tell the difference between each child's toots.
Once in a blue moon, the smells are pleasant, like expensive perfume or lotion, but that usually means it's MY lotion and perfume, and some little girl helped herself to it and thinks I won't notice.
Although I'm pretty confident by this point that my keen sense of smell can identify every kid's smell there is, sometimes I have trouble pinpointing a smell's location and the source of it. SO many times over the years, I've walked into my kid's room and got a whiff of something putrid but for the life of me, couldn't find it. I would practically have to remodel the room in order to find the reason for such a nasty stench.
Sometimes it was the long lost baby bottle with the leftover formula in it, buried under some stuffed animals in the corner of the crib. Only I knew it was once was formula, as it resembled more of a mossy oak growth by the time it was found. Sometimes it was a tiny, urine soaked diaper that was all taped up ready for the trash, but somehow accidentally got tossed into the dirty clothes hamper. (I'm sure that was the babysitter's fault.) A lot of times it was "the missing sippy cup" with just enough orange juice in it to create penicillin, that had found its way under the bed ruffle during nap time.
Well, this last week it happened again. I kept walking into my 4-year old's room and catching a hint of what I thought was dog poop. I couldn't say 100 percent that it was dog doo doo, but it was close to that, and it was gross! It wasn't a super strong, overpowering smell either, but more of a hint, so it was hard to pinpoint. The first couple days, I kept thinking it was just dog poop on her shoes or something, but by the third day, I couldn't take it and started the bloodhound hunt throughout the room.
I narrowed it down to the closet and proceeded to sniff my way through clothes, shoes, toys, totes, you name it. I took out seven pairs of shoes and inhaled the scent of all fourteen soles, certain it had to be leftover dog doo doo. I even set one pair of sandals out in the hall, positive that the unidentifiable substance crammed in the sole crevices was dog poop and removing the shoes would remove the smell.
A few hours later, when I reentered her bedroom, I smelled it again. This is when I called in for backup. I asked my husband to join me in the hunt for the hidden smell. I gave him a narrowed down area in the closet to hunt, and after a few sniffs, he eliminated everything but one single basket of toys. At that point, I told him, "Save yourself, leave the room," for I was about to unearth the source of the stink. I set the basket down and began to remove each and every toy, sniffing it before setting it down, to hopefully find the culprit.
I started to think that maybe my dog doo doo theory was wrong, as I kept removing toys that I'd just recently seen taking their turn as bath toys. Maybe yucky bath water was still lingering in some duck or boat? But when I smelled the wooden pull train and it stunk too, the bath water theory was blown. This smell had taken over ALL the toys in the basket, and took no prisoners.
Then ... there it was, my eyes fixed on it. Laying sideways, half open at the bottom of the basket, was the purple sippy cup from four naps ago. Yikes! I kinda wondered where that cup went but it'd been a busy week so it wasn't a priority. Well, it was a priority now! The little bit of milk that my four year old left in the cup had dribbled out into the bottom of the basket and over several days created a foul, rotten milk stench that overwhelmed my nose.
I brought the cup downstairs with pride, announcing to all that I found the source of the stink. "Ahhh, yuck!" was the reply. My husband told me to ditch the cup in the trash, but he doesn't know how expensive some sippy cups are. As I dumped out the contents of the cup which now resembled a chunk of lard, "I'll get it clean," I said with confidence. "It's been done before." And I did. After hours of soaking in boiling soapy water and a couple rounds in the dishwasher, the sippy cup is as good as new and the stinky smell is gone ... for now!