If someone asked me, which room in my home was the most important, I would have to answer, the bathroom, of course! It is the one room that if occupied, everyone wants in. To your average adult it is a room of grooming, relief and privacy. For a child it is a water park, a virtual gateway to unforeseen adventures and a place to hide. Parents will try to hide in the bathroom but for many of us, it is a room where you learn true humility and some interesting balancing acts. I have handed down more decisions on the throne than royalty on a bad day at our home. This is not by choice, mind you.
Just this morning, I walked into the bathroom after each of the kids had been in there to see my toilet scrubber laying in front of the tub. In a ring around the toilet was Melissa’s Princess Tea Set and sitting jauntily in front of a plastic sugar bowl was Mark’s Lego Star Wars Storm Trooper. As I gingerly stepped past tea party, I also noticed that there were four open rolls of toilet paper on the little window sill, two more half full rolls on the floor and yet the toilet tissue spindle was empty.
Within a few more seconds I also knew that my son needs to work more on his aim. I cannot understand this. We taught him using the cheerio in the bowl method. Hit the target, right? He is ten and my bathroom walls still need washing every day. Does he practice hula dancing while relieving himself? Within seconds of entering the bathroom I hear the sounds of heavy breathing outside of the bathroom door. I put an eye to the keyhole and encounter another eye. My son wants to know how long I will be in the bathroom. After informing him that I did not bring a watch with me but chances are good that five minutes might be needed, I numbly observe a small hand forcing itself under the door.
Melissa would like to know if her toy cell phone was in the bathroom. She asked if she could come in to check and I told her no. “Fine but you can’t use my phone if it’s there!”she hollers. I assured her that I had no intention of placing any calls while in my current condition as Mark hollered “One Minute” into the keyhole. I fumbled with the many rolls of toilet tissue, trying to put one onto the spindle and the rest back into the empty bag when I hear the phone start to ring. My husband is knocking on the bathroom door now to tell me that someone on the phone wants to speak with me.
“Two Minutes” shouts Mark through the keyhole as I ask Chris to take a message. Melissa is now hollering that it is her turn to watch a Barbie movie since Mark got to use her juice cup while watching Spongebob Squarepants and then there is the sound of a war. I hear Chris enter the battle and Mark yells, ” I am trying to tell Mom its been three minutes and she has two minutes left!” The door opens slightly and I see Chris’s head pop in asking if I have seen his Blackberry.
“Three Minutes, Mom!” I shake my head no and watch limbs appear as Chris tries to shut the door again without hurting one of the many bodies jamming the way. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues as the door slams shut. Melissa is trying to convince Chris that she has received a high level decision on the movie and also has dibs on the rest of the juice. I flush and weave through small toys, picking towels up off the floor as I head for the sink. In the sink there is a hairy pink duck and a pile of shaving cream.
“Four Minutes!” I try to wash my hands while searching for a rag to clean out my bearded sink. “Thank you, Big Ben!” I hear Chris snap. As I rinse out the sink and notice that now my hands are hairy instead, a full storm is brewing outside the door. Melissa is shrieking about a bag of chips that her brother has eaten that was hers and this was my fault somehow. Drying my hands I discover that Mark may have missed the toilet earlier but had indeed found a different target.
“Five Minutes!” Mark nearly rips the door off the hinges as he barges in, a demented timekeeper, and immediately smashes through the tea set, the Legos and slips on the urine soaked hand towel that I had tried to toss onto the dirty towel pile. The crash is roughly the sound you would hear if a dinosaur bungee jumped from the Empire State Building and broke the cord. Even though he lands in a pile of towels Mark shrieks as if he were being torn apart by vultures.
I try to help Mark up but my hands are slippery because I had been re-soaping them for obvious reasons, now he screams that I had peed on my hands and was getting it on him. Melissa is doing a tribal ritual joy dance around us, feeling this was justice from the heavens. Chris enters the fray and uses one hand to help Mark stand and the other to try to scoop up Melissa. In that moment, I notice the clean-shaven chin and yell, “You never rinse out the sink when you shave!” Chris stares at me as if I have gone insane then leaves the bathroom with Melissa clinging to his back like a monkey. I can hear her giggling herself into hysteria over the thought that I may have peed on my hands.
Mark dries his tears as I dry my hands on the one clean towel left. We hug each other, then he leans back, looks into my eyes and says, “Mom, it’s been eight minutes now. Can I have more chips?”