Breaking Out of the Bathroom

With the kids back in school and a flotilla of SUV’s in the school parking lot, my mind naturally turns to . . . autumn leaves? Actually, I remember how happy I was to graduate from the poop patrol to driver-of-kids in the big blue suburban.

“My burp is bigger than yours!” my son Shane bragged one day en route to T-ball.

“Well, listen to this!” said his friend Matthew.

“Get ready. This one will be humongous,” Shane replied.

Believe it or not, this conversation was music to my ears after the weekend I had endured. Give me belching! Give me rock music! Give me braggadocio baseball teams to haul around! Just please, please don’t put me back on the poop patrol.

To tell you the truth, I had forgotten about the poop patrol, or at least I had mercifully relegated it to a dusty, forgotten corner of my mind. All that carpooling must have numbed my brain. Until . . . my four-year-old niece bounced through the front door with a flip of her long chocolate curls, looked up at me with eyes that can melt your heart quicker than a new puppy, and said, “Aunt Judy, where’s the bathroom?”

Those words were like a heavy finger on the rewind button of my life. My mind quickly reeled backwards through gymnastics meets, piano recitals, basketball games, and baseball practices until I landed in the bathroom with wet wipes in one hand and a bottle of Lysol spray in the other.

I was on patrol again—the poop patrol. In less than 24 hours, this little pixie needed a bath, a shower, and a thorough scrubbing in between. I cleaned poop off the tub, the toilet, the floor, and the carpet in the next room. Plus, I did two extra loads of laundry.

Yes, it was deja vu.

“How was your day, Honey?” my husband used to ask.

“Fine, if you like sitting in the bathroom all day.”

“Are you sick?”

“No, but it’s a miracle I’m not.”

Really, our bathroom was not a bad place, but sometimes I was sure there were bars on the windows. With two barely trained boys, ages two and three, and a new baby, it was probably the most-used room in the house.

First thing in the morning, I changed the baby and powdered her cute little bottom. Then I escaped to the couch to read the morning paper. Before I got past the headlines, the boys pranced out in their jammies.

“Potty, potty,” the two year old said.

Dutifully, I ran him to the bathroom and waited while he did his thing. A few minutes break and a whiff of the baby told me it was time to go back to the bathroom. Then it was the three year old’s turn. Of course, he was scared to stay in there all alone, so I was trapped for another ten minutes or so.

Do you get the picture? I escaped every now and then, but each respite was temporary. The bathroom was my office, my home, my life. I made phone calls sitting on the edge of the tub. I read magazines while perched on the counter. I longed to jump in the car and go for a ride.

Hah! I got my wish. I became their on-call taxi driver (without the pay). I drove kids to driver’s training and to work and to the store. “Mom, I have to have the poster board tonight.” And to their friends’ houses and to the library. “Mom, it’s important. I have to be there in five minutes.” And back to their friends’ house and to practice at the school and even home once in awhile.

It was enough to drive a person crazy. But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t complain (not much anyway) because it was a giant step up from the poop patrol!

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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

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