The Motherhood Manual: The turkey baster, the toilet, and the toddlers

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.

When Jason came home I was still vacuuming.  He took over and after about 15 minutes informed me that we were making no progress and he thought we should get help.  Ya think?!?   We called a friend who was in the carpet laying trade.  We moved the furniture out of our bedroom and the clothes out of the closet while our friend detached the carpet and placed a jet engine sized turbine fan underneath it to dry out the carpet.  The fan was supposed to stay like that until the next day.  It was pretty impressive.

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.

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5 thoughts on “The Motherhood Manual: The turkey baster, the toilet, and the toddlers

  1. This made me laugh out loud, really. You have creative boys there, and a great story. Life most great stories, they are never as funny while in process, but become more so over time. One day when your grandchildren have christened their own childhood with equally “creative play” you will get to look at your son (either one) and nod in that way only a mother can (knowingly, sympathetically, slightly delighted inside). Great story.

    • Sorry, interrupted during comment, wanted to include: I remember a day when my sister and I (ages 11 and 7) couldn’t think of anything better to do than stand on either side of the “pond” on our farm the waste water from our house drained into (ya, you get the idea) and through rocks at each other to see who could create the biggest splash on the other. Utterly gross, but somehow we didn’t seem to mind. Mom was mortified when we made our way back to the house….covered…in…cesspool. I don’t remember being punished, I just remember my mom’s disgust, which I think was punishment enough.

  2. I think the “event” was worth it for all the laughs it’s created over the years. (Course I was the only one in the family to be completely uninvolved!) Love the picture of Spencer in the corner. He did get to spend a lot of his early years in corners or on sofas, didn’t he? Apparently the price of creativity?! You and Jason have done a wonderful job of directing your boys’ creativity without squelching it.

    • Actually that isn’t Spencer in the corner. We’ve tried a variety of time out options for him, but don’t think we ever went with the nose in the corner. It’s just a free use picture I found in Flickr.

  3. Pingback: Motherhood Manual: How to balance a duck on your head while cooking a perfect soufflé « Twyste

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