Raising a kid in a city filled with dog urine

Hydrant kid
Yep, my son will probably be touching that later. Credit: Thinkstock

Before I became a mom, I never realized that the spray zone of an adult male dog is the same exact location a toddler strolling down a sidewalk will touch. But now I am all too frighteningly aware. Reader: It’s terrible. When we go outside, my son touches a lot — and I mean, a lot — of dog urine. And I must quelch my horror with a big phony smile while my completely unaware, delighted son practically hugs a fire hydrant.

Let me backtrack: It’s not like he’s splashing around in the stuff. But he does like to explore things while we walk down the sidewalk; things that I know, deep down, Brooklyn dogs spray on an hourly basis. The corner mailbox is a lot of fun to bang on. Touching the lamp post? Hilarious. The tree, which is practically the Grand Central station of dog toilets? A must. Having only been on this planet for 20 months, it’s as though his guiding life force is, “If it’s there, I must touch it.” Which is incredibly similar to the mantra of a male dog — “If it’s there, I must pee on it.”

So if I know it’s revolting, why do I allow it? Because even though I want to dip my son in a vat of sanitizing gel when we get home, it’s important that he not be afraid of things. If I rip his hand away from exploring just because of a few, very filthy and gross germs, what message does that send? He should know the feeling of a cool fence post, of tree bark, of the side of a building. He should know our wonderful world is worth exploring, even if parts of it are covered in excrement.

The other day, a friend and fellow Brooklyn mom posted a photo of her deliriously happy toddler son playing in a pile of leaves with this caption: “Trying not to think just how much dog pee he is sitting in right now.” I laughed but also shuddered. Even I, who lets my son touch urine coated outside surfaces, has yet to set Sam in a pile of leaves. Look: I have a dog. I know the nasty stuff that goes down in piles of leaves. We all have our limits.

Follow Metro’s editor-in-chief,  Dorothy Robinson, on Twitter, @dorothyatmetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.