When the boys were little, my dad would help me out by watching them two days a week while I went to work for a few hours. This was a huge help to me and, I think for the most part, was a good time of bonding for my boys and their Papa. Usually when I got home the boys would be doing a puzzle with my dad or playing a game or looking at books- your typical kinds of activities for an 18 month old and a three year old.
One particular day, though, I walked in the door to find my dad immediately asking, “do you have a shop vac?” Beyond him I could see the boys sitting on the couch. I looked back at my dad and could tell by the expression on his face this hadn’t been one of those “happy papa-grandson bonding” kind of days. My dad proceeded to explain to me that my bathroom and bedroom had been flooded… apparently some kind of mass toilet flushing accident. As we walked (I believe he stomped) back to the bedroom it became obvious that there was an ENORMOUS amount of water in our carpet. The water had left the master bathroom, seeped under the wall, through the closets, and over more than a third of our bedroom.
As I stood there staring at it and trying to understand what had happened, my dad left to get his shop vac (no, I didn’t have one, was the answer to the earlier question). Until he returned there was really nothing I could do that would even begin to make a dent in the flooding. So, I marched (not quite up to a full on stomp yet) back out to the living room where the two
suspects small children were sitting. I quizzed them about what had happened. What I was able to gather was that Jacob had a turkey baster (really?!?) from the kitchen, which he was sticking in the toilet then using to shoot water at Spencer… no flood yet. Gross, though.
The flood was a result of someone (who still has not come forward ten years later) putting an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet, then flushing. He and/or his partner in crime then proceeded to flush it again. And, again. And, a few more times. You know, just to be sure? Based on the amount of water that we vacuumed up, I think they must have flushed the toilet 8-10 times.
Now you may question how could this happen? Well, the way our house was laid out, there was a hallway leaving the living room that went back to the boys’ bedroom and the master bedroom/bathroom. My dad had been watching tennis and thought the boys went back to play in their bedroom. That seemed reasonable. They frequently played together in their room, but apparently not so much that day. After awhile, my dad walked back to check on Jacob and Spencer. He found them in our bathroom… as I said, Jacob with a turkey baster in hand, Spencer soaked, and our room flooded. Nice.
When my dad arrived back with his shop vac, he began working on the flooded bedroom. I informed the two inmates they were to stay on the couch until the mess was all cleaned up and that, quite possibly, by that time they would be old enough to go to elementary school.
After awhile my dad left and I took my turn tackling the flood waters. I used the shop vac for the better part of an hour, sucking up soooo much water. Then I called my husband at work to tell him what was going on. I told him I was emptying gallons of water (truly) and yet making no noticeable progress. I’m pretty sure he thought I was exaggerating (it happens), because he just told me to keep after it and that he’d come home in a bit.
All the while, my children sat on the couch… the longest time out ever.
At that point I’d absolutely had it and went out with the girls’ night group. About an hour into my evening away, my husband called laughing. Apparently Jason had been in the living room watching TV and the boys wandered down the hall toward their bedroom. After awhile of quiet it dawned on Jason that this was seeming all too familiar (see above with Papa), so he went back to check on the boys. He found them in our bedroom jumping up and down on the portion of the carpet that was billowing up from the fan. He yelled at them and their eyes nearly popped out of their heads. He said he has never seen two little people move so fast in his life!
Clearly independent playtime in their bedroom needed to be a little less independent.