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The Toddler and the Toilet

Sometimes my husband calls to say he'll be late, and I brush it off with a "No problem! I'll just cover this fabulous meal with foil and use the extra time to sweep the floors!" But usually, I'm just grumpy.

Last night was especially irritating since I had to go to a meeting at seven. I was counting on a few extra minutes to wash the spit-up out of my hair and put on some makeup, maybe even grab a bite of dinner before I left. But without someone to help me tag team the kids, I'd be lucky if I remembered to bring a granola bar with me in the car. I took Jack and Molly upstairs so I could at least change my clothes, grumbling about my husband the whole time. He KNEW I had a meeting!

Stressed about time, I hauled both kids upstairs, told them to sit still and got lost in the miserable situation that is my closet. After finding something I wouldn't be embarrassed to wear in front of other grown ups, a quick glance in the bathroom mirror told me makeup was not optional. I was reaching for my little basket of sample eye shadows and expired tubes of mascara when I saw him. My son was standing next to the toilet, his back to me, swishing my comb around in the water. My COMB.

"JACK!" I shouted. "STOP THAT!"

When he turned around I saw that his hair was wet and slicked down in front.

I snatched my comb away, and ran out of the bathroom before I burst out laughing. Even though I was desperately trying to hold on to my anger and frustration, I couldn't help myself. Jack must have remembered how I'd combed his hair that morning, seeing me run the comb under water to make his bed hair stay flat. He's imitating everything we do and say right now, and when he got hold of my comb he must have seen the toilet and thought, "Why not?" I stood hunched over my bed, laughing till my eyes watered. Molly smiled back, trying to get in on the joke, and Jack (I thought) was standing uncertainly behind me in the bathroom.

When I had myself under control I turned around to give him another round of "We do not put Mommy's comb in the toilet!", but now he was swishing his arm inside the toilet bowl, his sleeve wet up to the elbow.

I wasn't mad anymore when Phillip got home. Well, I was still mad, but I was more excited to tell him about the Toilet Incident and all the other hilarious things Jack had done that day. How he ran to get a dish towel when he knocked over my glass of water. How he stuffed his entire body inside the washing machine to "help" me move all the wet clothes into the dryer. When I asked him who the new President was and he said, "Uh! Bah! Mah!"

When Jack was a baby, I was sad every time we passed another month. My little baby was turning into a big baby and I wasn't ready to leave the infant days behind. But poor Molly – I'm dying for her to get bigger and walk and talk and splash around in the toilets. I still love the baby stage and, oh my goodness, the toddler stage is a lot of work, but toddlers happen to be some of the funniest people I know. I wonder if Phillip realizes how many times Jack has saved him from marital wrath?

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