PARENTING
06/14/2016 04:25 pm ET

A Parent's Field Guide To The Little Monsters Of Summer Break

The first step to surviving a summer with your child? Arm yourself with knowledge.

Brace yourselves, parents: summer is coming. Yes, summertime is when our precious, well-behaved angels drop all the skills they worked so hard on during the school year -- skills like “eating with utensils” or “wearing clothes in public” -- in favor of running wild.

The first step to surviving a summer with your child? Arm yourself ... with knowledge. We partnered with Clorox to classify the many weird, wonderful specimens of little monsters you may encounter in your expeditions this season as a parent. Read. Learn. Make it till autumn.  

  • Digger
    <strong>Habitat: </strong>In summer months, <i>Diggers</i> prefer to wallow in the muddiest outdoor areas with the easiest ac
    MUTI
    Habitat: In summer months, Diggers prefer to wallow in the muddiest outdoor areas with the easiest access to your freshly cleaned floors.

    Diet:
    Omnivorous, with copious amounts of dirt, grass and insects consumed “on accident.”

    Description:
    While the near-feral, mud-caked visage of a Digger can evoke feelings of terror in many parents, Diggers are surprisingly affectionate creatures. Therein lies the danger. A Digger’s penchant for playing in and with muck, mulch, sand, soil, red clay, brown clay, all clay, bugs, frogs, leaf piles, and objects that may or may not be dog poo makes their hugs a stomach-churning experience. Experts studying Digger behavior urge parents to keep their garden hoses at the ready.
  • Behoarder
    <strong>Habitat:</strong> The <i>Behoarder&rsquo;s</i> main pile is generally built in or near a playroom. Auxiliary piles ar
    MUTI
    Habitat: The Behoarder’s main pile is generally built in or near a playroom. Auxiliary piles are known to amass wherever you’re most likely to trip and fall over them.

    Diet:
    Although their exact method is not known, Behoarders are somehow able to sneak whole meals back to their hoard for later feasting.

    Description:
    Beauty, it is said, is in the eye of the beholder. Everything else is in a Behoarder’s loot pile. These voracious collectors are never satisfied with mere toys. Rather, they busy themselves gathering items like dingy blankets, oddly shaped sticks and pretty rocks. After the collecting ritual is finished, these creatures are known to lure parents into complimenting their odious junkpile.
    Parents should use extreme caution around a Behoarder’s stash: any missing item -- whether the disappearance was caused by a parent or not -- can unleash a destructive tantrum.
  • Pad Person
    <strong>Habitat:</strong> Due to an aversion to natural light, <i>Pad People</i> lurk in basements and on bottom bunks. From
    MUTI
    Habitat: Due to an aversion to natural light, Pad People lurk in basements and on bottom bunks. From another perspective, however, it may be said that Pad People are not here at all.

    Diet:
    Unknown; they appear to subsist for long periods of time on nothing but episodes of “Paw Patrol.”

    Description:
    Upon first encountering the unsettling Pad Person, many parents instinctively ask, “Who are you and what you done with my child?” Given their ghostly appearance, blank stare and almost total silence (broken only for the intermittent request to approve another in-app purchase), this reaction is easy to understand. The good news is that Pad People are easily restored to their former selves: in numerous cases, a quick sabotage of household Wi-Fi networks has been enough to release them from their pixel-dense purgatory.   
  • Phlegmalisk
    <strong>Habitat:</strong> <i>Phlegmalisk</i> may be found in any temperate region of the house, but prefers to snuggle up nex
    MUTI
    Habitat: Phlegmalisk may be found in any temperate region of the house, but prefers to snuggle up next to you and cough on your face.

    Diet:
    Unusual for the animal kingdom, Phlegmalisk eats little else but grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.

    Description:
    The oddity of the Phlegmalisk is that it is not one creature, but two. At times, it may seem indistinguishable from a normal, active, playful child. At other times, the Phlegmalisk reveals that beneath its energetic veneer lies a creature that is primarily composed of snot -- snot which is often liberally and indiscriminately distributed to any individuals or items that come near it.
    Any parent approaching a suspected Phlegmalisk should take care to cover their mouths; it is guaranteed that Phlegmalisk will not.
  • Crusty Demon
    <strong>Habitat: </strong>A migratory beast, <i>Crusty Demons</i> roams from its feeding grounds in the kitchen and pantry to
    MUTI
    Habitat: A migratory beast, Crusty Demons roams from its feeding grounds in the kitchen and pantry to its resting place on your newly upholstered furniture.

    Diet:
    Snackivorous, with the stickiest syrup being especially prized.

    Description:
    Some summertime monsters are benign. Some are irksome. But one is the stuff of parental nightmares: The Crusty Demon. Legends speak of a ravenous devourer of all things messy; a spiller of drinks; and a creature with fingers so sticky, they’re practically candycoated. Although encounters with the Demon are thankfully rare, scientists believe that almost 90 percent have been fatal to nearby furniture.

    The legends also offer hope: parental saliva, if applied vigorously, may temporarily stun the creature.
  • Deciblor
    <strong>Habitat:</strong> Unknown. <i>Deciblors</i> seem to be in every room of your house, at once. <br><strong><br>Diet:</s
    MUTI
    Habitat: Unknown. Deciblors seem to be in every room of your house, at once.

    Diet:
    Predominantly Pop Rocks.

    Description:
    Unlike the eerily quiet Pad People or the spritely Breezebums (see below), a Deciblor will immediately announce its presence via its preferred method of communication: being really, really loud. While the screeching of the “Frozen” soundtrack is most commonly observed (and, unfortunately, heard), Deciblors are also known to make “music” with nearby silverware, expensive electronic devices, or any instrument foolishly given to them on a previous birthday. Luckily for those coping with infestations, many Deciblor-caused migraines disappear six to eight weeks after the beginning of the school year.
  • Prismasaur
    <strong>Habitat:</strong> <i>Prismasaurs</i> may be found in any room in the house, but they tend to congregate in places whe
    MUTI
    Habitat: Prismasaurs may be found in any room in the house, but they tend to congregate in places where parents are expecting to host company in the next few hours.

    Diet:
    All foods, supplemented by the occasionally crayon.

    Description:
    Woe be unto the walls and floors and furniture (or basically any surface) of a domain inhabited by the many-hued Prismasaur. This otherwise docile little creature descends into a frenzy at the sight of a tastefully muted interior design scheme, which it attacks with permanent markers, acrylic paint and even the occasional bottle of nail polish. Early evidence suggests Prismasaurs may be distracted by placing a pristine drawing pad along its painting routes.
  • Breezebum
    <strong>Habitat: </strong>Despite your frantic efforts, <i>Breezebums</i> are often found on your lawn, in front of your larg
    MUTI
    Habitat: Despite your frantic efforts, Breezebums are often found on your lawn, in front of your large windows and spread across your whitest couch.

    Diet:
    Omnivorous, but is seldom allowed to eat at the table unless it puts on clothes right this second and we mean it this time.

    Description:
    The impish, mischievous Breezebums has but one longing during the short summer: to be free. This desire to free itself from captivity -- epitomized by the chafing shackles of clothing -- often sets a Breezebum on a collision course with its neighboring parents. For mothers and fathers insistent on respecting public nudity laws, the Breezebum can prove a cunning foe, adept at wriggling out of the most tightly cinched outfits at the most inopportune moments -- like church service or Bring Your Child to Work Day. But parents dealing with a Breezebum infestation might look on the bright side; a Breezebum/Crusty Demon hybrid would be much worse.

Are little monsters haunting your house this summer? Clorox is there to save the day -- and your summer. From mud to mucus, Clorox will give you the break you deserve.  

CONVERSATIONS