There are a lot of things they don’t tell you before you have kids of your own. That’s because “they” are your parents and they want to become grandparents, and they know that won’t happen if they tell you everything.
Last year at almost this exact date I wrote about one of my sons (who shall remain nameless in this, to keep his future dating prospects alive) and his questionable toilet-using skills. At the time last year I was concerned about our water bill, because I sat on the couch one night and counted his flushes. I intervened after flush number twenty-six (I am not making that up) and questioned him on why he felt the need simultaneously deplete my wallet of money while depleting the state of California of one of its most precious and currently scarce resources; my TV time. No… water.
His answer was that he was trying not to clog the toilet by going with the wipe/flush/wipe/flush/wipe/flush technique. My next question was the very obvious, “You mean to tell me you have wiped your butt twenty-six times?”
Forget the water bill; my toilet paper bill just eclipsed the mortgage. It was then that I told him we would obviously need to go over wiping techniques, but we’d take care of that in the morning.
Apparently I forgot to follow up on that whole toilet paper usage/wiping technique conversation, because it’s a year later and I’ve been getting a lot of, “Dad, the toilet’s clogged again,” this past month. It’s been happening so much I thought about starting to keep my plunger in a holster on my hip, but that would be gross. And it would make it harder to get in and out of the car.
The other day when I was responding to a clog the situation became a little clearer. There, floating in the bowl, was what can only be described as a giant toilet paper ball. My bathroom-challenged son has apparently been taking a tremendous amount of paper off the roll for each wipe, and rolling it up in a tight sphere the size of a regulation baseball, much like you would do if you were wrapping twine into a ball, only presumably a lot more comfortable to wipe your butt with.
I worked my plunger magic and then went to talk with him.
“Dude, you’ve got to stop making balls out of the toilet paper by wrapping it around itself a hundred times. That’s what’s clogging the toilet. Just take a little off the roll and wad it up.”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you mean what do I mean?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Just wad it up. It makes the same shape, but uses a lot less paper.”
“I’ve always wrapped it. Mommy told me to wrap it all the way around my hand, but I don’t get that, either. That’s just weird.”
“You’re right, that is weird. Don’t do that. Just wad it up instead.”
“I don’t get it.”
(sigh) “OK, I’ll show you next time.”
“Next time you poop?”
“No. Next time you poop. I’m not the one clogging up the toilet.”
It never occurred to me to have any formal toilet paper training sessions. I was just assuming they were paying attention when we were wiping their butts for them at the start of potty training. I mean, come on, it’s right there in the name, kid. Potty training. Pay attention.
Maybe we should have the whole family attend the new training session. That way mommy can be there to explain this wrap it around your hand thing. That seems problematic at best.
Proper butt wiping technique seminars and differing viewpoint discussion panels - this is the kind of thing “they” don’t tell you before you have kids. In retrospect, it was wise of the grandparents to omit the “crying baby throwing up on you at two in the morning” thing, and the “non-crying seven-year-old throwing up on you at two in the afternoon” thing. We may never have had kids. But I wish they would have mentioned this. I could have saved thousands of dollars on water and toilet paper.
I wonder what else they left out?
Excuse me; I have to go call my mom.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2015 Marc Schmatjen
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