Tales from the Can: Toilet Time-Outs and Other Cool Things I Do to Qualify for the “Mom of the Year Award”

I used to absolutely HATE being alone. Now I fantasize about it…from behind the bathroom door as 2 toddlers (and sometimes 1 husband) pound on the door shouting things like “what are you doing?” “I can’t see you!” “Open it! Open it! I can’t get in!” “The door won’t open!” “Let me in!” “MOMMY!!!!” Mommy Timeout. Locked in the bathroom. It’s not exactly a spa day or glass of wine on a patio but it works and is absolutely necessary.

My husband is on to me. He made a comment a couple of weeks ago about how he knows that I’m not always “using the facilities” when I disappear into the washroom for 5-10 minutes (tops) after dinner. I didn’t say a word. Because I didn’t say a word, I think he instinctively knew not to push the issue any further. I mean, really… does any sane person who isn’t about to snap voluntarily lock themselves in a bathroom? This is survival. The bathroom is not ideal but since it is the only room in the house with a lock on the door, it works and is my own personal retreat. Sometimes it just takes 5-10 minutes of being alone behind a closed door to rejuvenate me and allow me to breathe again. I immediately feel a calmness in place of the rattled, anxious feeling I know all too well. It gives me the balance and energy to carry on with the day.

Life is good….but the days are long. Working full time juggling a career that I drive an hour each way to get to on top of the circus that is a house with a 3 year old and 2 year old can be a bit much at times. It has become the new normal but sometimes it catches up to me and I need a timeout…in the bathroom… with the door locked. Badass, I know.

Today I fought through rush hour traffic to pick my kiddos up from daycare. I wrestled 2 year old Mr. C into his car seat. (He was fighting me every step of the way, trying to climb into the driver’s seat while screaming “No Mommy! I’m driving!”) Like most days. I had already taken a mental inventory of what was in the fridge on my way home and had planned out my attack (on dinner) in my head. Dinner. Ugh. It can be such a challenge to make a healthy dinner in 20 minutes or less (aka the countdown to both kids losing their minds because they are hungry.)

We pulled in our driveway. Today I won the competition for who would put the key in the door because we didn’t have time to spare on the usual toddler fumbling/fighting over trying to put keys in the door shenanigans. Three-year old Miss M pushed the front door open before Mr. C had a chance to claim that task so he naturally lost his mind and melted to the floor in a fit of rage. “You can open the door next time, Buddy!” I told him as I dumped our bags in the foyer and walked into the kitchen to get started on dinner.

I was filling a pot with water as Miss M announced she had to go pee. She is just starting to (finally) get into potty-training so I stopped what I was doing and enthusiastically ran upstairs to put her on the toilet. False alarm. We came down to find that Mr. C had taken the mop out of the bucket of water which hadn’t managed to be dumped from last night’s kitchen clean up and had mopped (flooded) the floor. I brought the bucket down and dumped it and threw an old towel on the lake that was now our kitchen.

I started washing and chopping vegetables as Miss M decided she wanted to go swimming. “Please Mommy! We need to go swimming! We need to put our bathing suits on and go swimming! Can we go swimming, Mommy? Please!” I explained that she needed a grownup to supervise and I was busy making dinner so she could not go swimming. She nodded her head then wandered around the corner to where her little brother had just pulled a package of paper plates out of the cupboard and helped him to open it while asking him if he wanted to go swimming.

“You’re not going swimming right now!” I shouted from around the corner, letting the paper plate thing go. Sometimes you just have to “choose the hill you’re going to die on.” Swimming unsupervised was it. The paper plates were not. Mr. C scattered the paper plates all over the kitchen. In order to buy some time so I could get my veggies cooking in a pan of garlic butter, I asked him if he could court them. “1…2…3…4….” He happily counted them and I happily got dinner going… Until I was deafened by the silence. Two toddlers and no noise = nothing good.

I stopped what I was doing and listened. I heard Miss M whispering “You have to take your clothes off to go swimming. Your diaper too. Here! I can help you!” I tiptoed towards them from around the corner and heard her say “Hurry up! Mommy’s coming! Mommy’s coming!” I have a bad feeling that this is foreshadowing for the years ahead.When I peaked around, I saw them both standing at the back door completely naked.

“What are you doing?” I asked. Miss M started pleading her case about how she wants to go swimming and Mr. C thought that me “busting them” was a game and started laughing and ran off. When he did, his bare feet hit the wet floor from his mopping incident and he slipped and slid across the kitchen tiles and ended up flat on his back, completely naked. I scooped him up and tried to comfort him. He settled down but refused to put a diaper on. Whatever. Remember that thing I said about choosing the hill you’re going to die on? Naked it is, my friend.

I ran back into the kitchen where Miss M was standing with a look of horror/shame on her face. I scanned the kitchen trying to quickly detect what she had done. Everything seemed fine. I heard water dripping. The tap was off. I looked down to see that she was peeing on the floor. Who would have thought that dumping a bucket of soapy water almost 24 hours after it was used would have been too soon? “It’s okay.” I assured her, not wanting to scare her away from potty-training. I mopped it up as I heard Mr. C scream “Daddy’s here! Daddy’s here!”

Hubby walked in and immediately asked “why are they naked?” You don’t want to know. I looked up at the clock. 6:13pm. We had only been home for half an hour. Wow.

I asked Hubby to help Mr. C into a diaper and get him in his seat while I plated dinner. Dinner worked out quite nicely. Leftover salmon added to sautéed veggies over pasta. This was a win! Just as I was about to serve it to my hungry, little table mates, I again heard the sound of liquid dripping. I looked under the table and Mr. C was not wearing a diaper and had now peed all over his seat and on the floor. I pulled him out of his seat and turned to grab paper towel from the counter behind me. When I turned back, Miss M was splashing her hand in the pee on his booster seat. I bit my tongue, lysolled the seat, wiped up the floor, washed Miss M’s hands, took a deep breath and announced that dinner was served.

Halfway through dinner, Miss M announced that she had to go pee again. Pee seems to be the theme of today. Hubby and I enthusiastically encouraged her to go to the bathroom and try. I decided that she could go on her own this time and attempted to shove a few bites of food down my throat before I had to go and clean her up.

From the top of the stairs she bellowed in disgust “Mommy!!!!! There’s a big poo in the bathroom! Hurry!” Seriously… Why is Daddy never called for such events?

I ran upstairs to see that she was right. There was a big ball of poo right in the middle of the bathroom floor. My assumption is that it was in her underwear and it fell out when she pulled them down to pee but we will never know for sure. Million dollar idea: a holster for Lysol spray.  Two million dollar idea:  Potty-training boot camp.

After dinner, I filled up the kids’ inflatable pool so I didn’t have to hear the word “swimming” again today after all of the begging and chaos. Once the kids were in their pool, splashing and laughing with Hubby lifeguarding from the chair beside me, I excused myself to go inside to run their bath. While the tub filled, I sat on the toilet with my head in my hands and just breathed for a couple of minutes.

Less than 5 minutes later, the kids came flying up the stairs “Mommy! Where are you? Where are you, Mommy?” I looked down the hall and saw them stampeding towards me soaking wet, no towels, muddy with bits of grass from the backyard stuck to them. I leaned over and calmly said “Mommy will be out in a minute!”, shut the door and locked it.

They pounded on the door losing their minds for the 2 minutes that it was closed and locked between us but for that 2 minutes, I was alone, pretending that it was quiet, coping, rejuvenating and preparing myself to carry on.

Sometimes a couple of minutes on “toilet time-out” is all it takes…and I couldn’t care less if my family thinks I have digestive problems. Whatever works. You gotta do whatcha gotta do.

andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while juggling a full time job, 3 year old an 2 year old Irish twins and a marriage while tap-dancing on the brink of insanity. If you liked this post, please subscribe or like my page on facebook to be the first to know about future posts. Thanks for reading! Xo

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