It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Boys will be Boys. Darn it.

“Mary? Mary, the toy-yet is broken.”

These are not words to lift a caregiver’s heart. “Broken? What do you mean, broken?” But of course, I’m already on my way, fearing the worse. Optimist that I am, I’m doing a mental silver lining check as I pound up the stairs*: I don’t hear running water. I haven’t heard a crash or a thud, either. Both good. But broken?

The girl has been upstairs rather longer than usual. Could she have done something? But she’s a fine-boned three-year-old and it’s a hulking, thirty-year-old toilet. They built things to LAST back then. (Which is unfortunate, given that it’s robin’s-egg-blue…) Can’t see it, somehow.

I arrive in the bathroom to see the “broken” toilet. Ah.

When Malli uses the toilet, she puts a small padded toilet ring, a cushy, brightly-patterned mini-seat atop the full-size seat. This gives her a little added security, lets her relax enough for anything to happen, and ensures that cute little tush doesn’t get an unexpected baptism.

Malli has attempted to place the toilet ring over the bowl, but it sits oddly askew. Thank the lord she hasn’t tried to sit on that thing, for it and she would surely have ended up in the water. The problem?

The seat is up. I know the culprit: 5-year-old George, a Big Boy. Surely he’s standing to pee these days, and just as surely has absorbed the Big Boy Bad Habit of leaving the seat up.


“See? It broken.”

“It’s not broken, lovie. The seat just isn’t where it should be.” I lift the seat down, place the ring in place, and…

Now I hear water running.

“I did a peepee.”

She surely did. She stands in an ever-increasing puddle, her Snow White panties in a sodden knot at her knees, her frilly pink socks wilting badly. Thankfully her gorgeous dress (Queen of the Beautiful Summer Playdress is Malli) is unpiddled. It is the work of moments to clean her, mop the floor. A quick trip down and back up again** with fresh panties and socks, a quick trip to the basement*** to toss the wet ones into the laundry that’s currently chugging away. (Yes, I do sometimes launder the kids clothes. Because I’m a Very Nice Caregiver.)

The wonder is, that with two brothers and a father in her house, Malli has not seen this before… Could they be better socialized than George? (Knowing what I do of the juvenile male populations of both households, I don’t believe this for a second.) Perhaps the females in Malli’s house have their own bathroom? That’s more believable. A matter of survival…

Downstairs, I explain to George.

“When you finish peeing, you must put the seat down.”

He looks baffled (true male that he is) so I explain. “When you poop, you need to sit. When girls pee and poop, they need to sit. So, most of the time, the seat needs to be down. Please remember to put it down, okay?”

He nods. Generally, when presented with the rationale for a request, George is amenable. He’s also very smart, and conscientious to boot, and so rarely needs a reminder. Which is why I’m surprised later that afternoon when Malli calls from upstairs.

“Mary, the toy-yet won’t work!”

Up I race again.**** Once again Malli stands at the ready, Sesame Street undergarments at her knees, toilet ring once more sitting askew atop — the lid of the toilet.

I told you he was conscientious.

I told him “put the seat down”, he put the seat down. AND the lid. For good measure? Just to be sure? Because he doesn’t know the vocabulary?

I put the lid up, the seat down, the toilet ring in place…

and I hear water running.

*Trip #1, 15 steps
** Trips 2 and 3, 30 steps
***Trips 4, 15 steps to main level, and 5, 36 steps to basement and back to main level
****Trip 6, 15 steps.
This does not include the 15 other trips I make upstairs and back in a day. It is sheerest injustice that my thighs and backside are anything less than iron-hard and wobble-free. It truly is.

July 24, 2007 Posted by | Malli, potty tales, socializing | 14 Comments