J has faced, for the very first time in his life, a rather disconcerting, embarrassing, and commonplace problem. I am, quite honestly, surprised it took him this long. TGG has had ample experience in this department, and -let’s be honest here- this is something that has happened (I think) to EVERYONE at least once. I believe in being fully prepared for it (mainly because when it happened while one of TGG’s friends was staying for a sleepover we quite weren’t,) and it took me a moment to compute that J had never experienced this…
I am talking, my friends, of a backed-up toilet.
It happened while I was vacuuming. J walked out of the bathroom and stood there, gesticulating wildly at me to look at him. The frantic waving of arms indicated he wanted attention NOW so I turned the machine off, and turned to look at him. The only thing he would do when I asked what was the matter was to point in the direction of the hallway that leads to the laundry room. The washer and dryer had both stopped running so I figured he wanted me to go help him with those. I explained that I’d come as soon as I was done vacuuming, switched the machine on, and continued with the task at hand. J’s hand flapped at me, and he pointed in the same general direction once more. I shook my head. “I need a minute, J. I’ll be right there.” More insistence. I shook my head, and that was when J turned the vacuum cleaner off and pointed towards the hallway.
As you know, I pick my battles. I decided if he was so intent on laundry I might as well get it over with, and then I could go back to vacuuming. J led the way into the hallway, and then stopped abruptly in front of the bathroom door. His finger pointed at the toilet while his face turned the other way, a mortified look on his face.
I looked at the toilet, and -realizing that he was concerned and mortified- thought back to the last time this has happened to J. Never. I realized that my youngest child had never in his entire life clogged a toilet. He was blushing, and he was obviously upset.
Oh, sweetie, I said as I led him away from the bathroom (where the toilet, thankfully, was NOT overflowing,) this happens to EVERYONE. I led him towards the stairs, my arm wrapped around his shoulder as we moved leisurely away from the source of his mortification. To hear Dada tell it, he was coming down towards the kitchen level and heard, floating in the air, “it has happened to Einstein, to Walt Disney, to Selena Gomez, to Katy Perry…” Dada was baffled by the content of these reassurances, and met us as we entered the dining area. The look on his face was quizzical, and I just shrugged and said: J has had a problem with the toilet, and we need help.
I know, of course, how to unclog a toilet, but I had decided that J was more important for the time being, and that it was best to help him realize that -embarrassing though the situation is- it is not the end of the world. Dada arched a brow, understood my intention, and announced that there was a reason why every bathroom in this house has a plunger in it…
TGG, who had been in his room and was making his way downstairs, heard our somewhat unusual turn of phrase. As he emerged onto the dining area, I explained -quite animatedly- that J’s toilet downstairs was in need of plunging. TGG said “oh, J…dude…let me tell you a few stories…” and, taking charge of his brother, followed us downstairs where Dada proceeded to quickly resolve the issue. “See? That’s the way to do it. Problem solved! Let’s all go wash our hands!”
The only thing that has come out of this is that J now stands there observing the toilet until it’s completely clear. That J had never really stopped to think about the toilet is, I admit, surprising, but he now has a better understanding of the vagaries of flushing. He’s not losing sleep over it, but he did have a moment of confusion about the whole thing.
TGG summed it up best for him: “dude, shit happens…and sometimes it gets sort of stuck, and we have to help it go away.” Oddly enough, this sounds a lot more philosophical than it was meant to sound. TGG meant it quite literally, but -if you think about it carefully- it applies to life; doesn’t it?