A parenting story: The day dad watched the kids
BY CHRIS HALSALL
When you’re a parent, sometimes the best medicine for a really stressful day is laughing at yourself.
That’s why I wanted to share this story that will go down in the annals of our family history as the day dad watched the kids.
Read this story and you’ll walk away feeling better about your own parenting — or at least feeling like you’re not the only one who’s had to handle a daily parenting crisis or two and not come out unscathed.
The story starts on a normal evening. I was putting the kids to bed.
“OK, monkeys, time to brush your teeth and go to the bathroom. Cartoon is over.”
I grab protesting Monkey No. 2 and carry him into the bathroom, pulling his Lego underwear and shorts down in one, well-practiced movement. I plop Monkey No. 2 down on the monkey bathmat in front of the toilet and get the training toilet seat ready, and flip open the toilet lid.
“Ewwwww,” I say. “Hey Monkey No. 1! You forgot to flush this morning, and you went poopy. That’s gross!”
I flush the toilet and notice the water is rising … rising. I stand staring at the rising tide as my reptilian brain kicks in and an inner voice starts muttering, “It’s about to get all poopy in here!”
Meanwhile, Monkey No. 2 is still waiting while Monkey No. 1 wasn’t listening at all so he’s not near the bathroom.
“Monkey #2, out!,” I yell. “Out of the bathroom now! There’s poop everywhere!”
Which of course, brings Monkey No. 1 running. “Dad, what’s going on? Why is the floor wet? What the? Is that poop?”
“Not now, It’s a catastrophe,” I shout. I start picking up stuff and throwing it in the bathtub or out in the living room, while keeping an eye on the rising tide. Really wet bathmats, catalogs, trash can, stool, training toilet, large stack of wet newspaper, in the shower it all goes.
Six-year-old tells me, “Blah, blah, blah” and three-year-old says, “Blah, blah, blah.”
“Not now. I can’t think and answer questions,” I yell. “Stay out of the bathroom!”
Of course, that prompts this reply, “Dad, dad. I need to brush my teeth. And I have to go pee!”
The water finally settles down. Out comes the plunger. Plunge! Plunge! Some sanity returns.
“Guys, stay out of the bathroom. I’m going to try and flush the toilet!”
Flushhhhhhhhhhh. And, it’s coming out again. I get down on my hands and knees on the wet floor and try to shut the water valve off. Right-y tight-y, left-y loos … crap! It’s still coming out.
“Abandon ship!” I yell. Neither monkey knew that one.
Finally the water stopped, and with some deft plunging, order was restored. The monkeys were carried into the bathroom, plopped on the toilet, did their business and then were carried out. Their feet never touching the floor. They were sent off to bed with a hug and a kiss and a newfound respect for the power of too much toilet paper.
Then, out came the mop and Lysol and an hour and a half later (and three really gross garbage bags), we had a very clean bathroom.
The next day we had a memorial service for our much-loved monkey bathmat. In lieu of flowers, I told the kids, please bring toilet paper.
Chris Halsall works in Medical Management at HMSA doing “other duties as assigned.” He enjoys being a dad, even when he wants to take his two small boys back to Costco and ask for his money back. He likes to read and fall off one of his bicycles in his spare time.