What you see pictured above is usually nothing more than the kids’ bathroom in my home. It’s mostly an unremarkable sort of space, although you may have noticed my attempt at incorporating a modern child’s sense of whimsy into the original 1960s décor.
This weekend, however, it was the scene of several frustrating and simply disgusting events which unfolded.
MutantBaby is mostly daytime potty trained. For the uninitiated, this means he’s quite good at marching into the above bathroom, dropping his pants, lifting the lid and seat, and proceeding to (mostly) pee in the vicinity of the toilet bowl.
However, Baby has always had problems of the bowels. As an infant, these manifested themselves suddenly and dramatically. He’d be drooling and gurgling and gooing on his tummy and suddenly—a look of horror would flash across his face. He would cross his legs at his ankles and proceed to straighten and lock them in a vise-like grip. He would cry, scream, moan, and whimper and suddenly return to normal. The only evidence to be found would be a tiny spray of poop in his diaper which would inevitably go unnoticed and burn his skin.
The doctors did nothing. They’d say, “He’s constipated. Change his diet and get him regular.” Nothing worked. And sometimes it was obvious his poop was hard and uncomfortable but more often than not… it seemed Baby just didn’t like pooping.
Now that he’s older, he still struggles. The signs are different. Now, he suddenly withdraws from whatever activity he’s engaged in and hides himself somewhere. He gets a very focused look on his face and quiets down. After a few minutes, he emerges and heads to the bathroom where he proceeds to clean himself thoroughly. Most of the time, a small piece of the poop that was trying to escape is in his underwear.
He started doing it on Friday. Usually, it’s no big deal because he does it a few times and then just goes and really lets it all out. But, this didn’t happen Friday.
Saturday, the behavior continued and proceeded to occur on a much more frequent basis. I’m talking about at least once an hour, I’d catch him making a dash for the bathroom. I talked to him and told him his body was trying to get out a lot of poop and all he had to do was sit and let it out. Nope.
I think it was after about the third pair of dirty laundry and after the sixth time I had to stop what I was doing and follow him into the bathroom, I bribed him. “If you just sit and do your huge poop, we will all go to Toys R Us,” I explained to him in front of the other two kids. They celebrated. But nothing happened.
I gave him an insane amount of plum juice. I even gave him some of my Cuban coffee. I told him to just sit and do it and so I gave him books and a Nintendo DS.
Finally, I changed course and just let him go outside with the others to play figuring physical activity and lots of water would help.
He kept sneaking in to clean fugitive poop pieces.
It was during one of these sneaks, I caught on and visited him in the bathroom to find the toilet heaped with a pile of diaper wipes.
You see, the child had used the whole roll of toilet paper that day and realized how smart he would be if he went and helped himself to the box of wipes and cleaned his little tushy like such a big boy. I freaked of course, yelled something like, “Oh my God! No, no, no!” and bolted to the kitchen to get my gloves and a plastic bag so I could rescue the toilet from the wipe mountain.
It was when I stuck my head under the sink to retrieve said items that he flushed. “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I screamed as I ran back to the bathroom. They were gone.
And for some reason, this actually calmed me. “Oh, they went down. Ok.”
Well, the day went on and the poop pieces and the dirty underwear and at one point he came into the house and hid himself behind an end table. A-ha! I watched him closely with my patented Mom-Is-Not-Watching Watch Method and he went walking so very carefully to the bathroom. I followed quietly so as to not alarm him. When he began cleaning himself, I walked in and picked him up and plopped him on the toilet.
I told him he just had to poop already that this was crazy doing this and his body really needed to get this out and it wasn’t going to hurt because it was still soft and he looked at me and said, “Mommy I pooped!” And I said yes but he needed his BIG poop because the little poops weren’t good at emptying out his butt and he interrupted “No Mommy I pooped a huge poop!”
Yeah right. Let me see.
I was in the bathroom the whole time. I was holding him for crying out loud. So, I have no idea how to explain there was suddenly, in less than a minute, a giant poop log in the toilet.
“YES! You did it! Did it hurt?” “Nope!” “Alright!”
The kids came tearing down the hall asking if he pooped and celebrating too and I told them to hurry up and get in the tub because we were going to clean up and go to Toys R Us.
And there was hooting and hollering and I flushed the toilet and of course it got clogged but I plunged it a bit and threw dish soap at it and it was getting there. So I went and got dressed and cleaned up some more and told them to get out of the tub so we could go. And they were so excited. They got out of the tub, and went about the insanity of getting dressed.
A few minutes later, Daughter had apparently run somewhere and was running back to her room when she slipped and fell and started crying. It always happens. They track water out of the tub all of the time. I rolled my eyes and Eldest came and reported Daughter had slipped and fallen but that there was a very giant puddle in the hallway.
And that’s when I saw it. There was water all over the hallway.
I rolled up my jeans and ran over there. Water was coming out of the bathroom. Oh. My God.
It took me a few minutes before I realized the Hello Kitty band-aid on the floor in front of the toilet was sort of moving. The water was coming from under the toilet. And why the hell was the tub taking a million years to drain?
I called my parents. I called my landlord. My Dad and I used a snake on the toilet and I was being so clever with my gloves until while I was pushing the snake up, suddenly something happened and sucked my glove down and brown water filled my glove. Oh Christ’s sake, I wanted to cry. When we’d try a flush, everything would come up the tub.
That was when I realized the water in the house was the tub draining itself. Oh, great. Waste water.
It was a nightmare. I cleaned up the bathroom as best as I could and blocked it off until the landlord’s plumber could come the next day. The kids were not happy they couldn’t go to Toys R Us after all. I took like thirteen showers and still felt absolutely disgusting.
The next day, the plumber came. He saw what was going on and would have to unclog it from the roof. Apparently, my father’s and my efforts to snake were downright stupid because of the plumbing system in the house.
So he got to work.
It wasn’t pretty.
Water came back in the house under the toilet. At one point, the tub was filled with water so brown it was almost black. When he was done, he showed me a pile of diaper wipes on my patio that were revolting to look at.
When my Mom called to see how she could help, I had a moment of genius and asked if she and my brother, MutantPirate could take the kids to Toys R Us for me. She was hesitant but I must’ve sounded borderline psychotic because she agreed.
I cleaned that bathroom all day with an assortment of things ranging from boiling water to bleach to Comet to more boiling water to floor cleaner. I scrubbed with mops, rags, and sponges. I mopped a million times.
It still gives me the heebie jeebies.