Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bathroom Learning

Kids discover early in life that the flush handle on the toilet is a magically device to make things disappear. Twenty years ago, more times than I can count, I had to lift the toilet and use a sewer snake to clear the blocked drain. Toilet removal was yet another bathroom activity which the children found absolutely fascinating. I went sewer fishing so often that (for a while) we kept a stock of wax rings in the bathroom cupboard -- they're cheaper by the dozen, you know. (Helpful housekeeping hint: Articles of clothing that have progressed past the P-trap of the toilet are no longer serviceable. Even if they weren’t shredded when the sewer snake snagged them, the stains will not come out.)

One bygone Sunday afternoon, Joyce and I were in the living room with our oldest son Andy when we heard the toilet flush. It suddenly occurred to me that all the authorized flushers of the family were in the room with us, so I ran to the bathroom just in time to see our two youngest sons (ages 18-months and 31-months at that time) gripping the toilet rim like a railing -- their bright eyes were fixed on a rubber ducky who was swimming in tight little circles. I rescued the duck from his immanent peril and then delivered a stern lecture to James and Ben’s little bottoms. My harsh voice and disapproving thump on their diapers cured them of their magical toilet tricks -- so far anyway.


Gumpher said...

Bob, after Sundays events, I share your pain

joyce said...

And thankfully, we had this cupboard inside the bathroom to store the half-dozen wax rings, because the summer heat would have melted them. Twenty years ago, you just could not buy a wax ring nor any plumbing supplies on the weekends. Our youngest two were like twins, only a year apart, and a team in the flushing, and a team in gassing up the house with the garden hose through the dryer vent.

Hula Doula said...

Oh those two were trouble weren't they?! You must sit and snicker over some of their tricks....Now...not then but now.

Roses said...

Who says the duck didn't do it for the joy ride?

Bob said...

I make the rules around our house. (Joyce, are you okay with that?)

Yup, it's the same two boys who gassed up the house.

They were a handful.

Someday you'll laugh about your geyser story -- someday.

Jerry said...

You know, that original "behavior modification" may be wearing off after 20 years.

In order to protect the plumbing you need to apply another dose of back-side swatting, just in case.

ShalomSeeker said...

Who KNOWS what kind of trouble they may be getting into in their own houses... Such shocking backgrounds on such innocent-looking cousins!

Bob said...

We men of the family have a knack for marrying well, so I think we can trust the ladies to keep your cousins from yieldin to their urge for potty parties.

I have a rule: I never spank people who are bigger than I am.

jennifer said...

My potty story is that my son, when he was a toddler, enjoyed throwing the cat in the toilet. He thankfully grew out of that!!


Bob said...

What? Grew out of that??? But throwing the cat in the toilet never gets old!

Chicka said...

I wish that behavior modification worked on my youngest. Alas, she's on the autism spectrum and "traditional methods" don't work with her. And she IS a handful. :sigh:

Oh for the days where a swat and a stern look kept you in line.

Bob said...

The boys weren't being "bad" -- they just needed to learn that flushing things down the toilet wasn't a good game to play. There wasn't any rebellion in them -- well, not at that age.

Bou said...

I only had one child that did that... my middle son. I walked in one day to seeing him trying to flush a hamper full of clothes. Luckily, all the clothes had absorbed all the water from that low flush commode just in time for me to get there. He was trying like hell to get that thing to flush. And I do believe I lost a pair of glasses to the commode... but have no proof.

andy said...

Abby now is fascinated by our WC. She has her own Fisher Price one that accounts the joys and accolades you will receive when you learn to make your deposit (or simply pass your hand by the infrared mouse like sensor) and then accordingly downgrade the lever of conveyance all to a whimsical song.

Bob said...

... and so the story continues. (Have I told you what good parents you and Lauren are?)

Toilets do hold a certain fascination for little boys. Mommy's glasses -- clearly expendable.