Answering the call of the wild
So you’ve decided to go to the bathroom by yourself. You know as well as I do that your kids will turn your home inside out in the time it takes you to post a blog (ahem), but congratulations on taking a giant leap of faith.
Presumably, your children have graduated from teeny tiny helpless beings who either had to be buckled into a bouncy seat in the bathroom while you showered, or contained in a high chair while you prepared a meal that was ultimately thrown on the floor. If they can amuse themselves or each other for five minutes, you have a clear window of opportunity.
Suddenly, you hear a noise. Here’s a 5-point checklist to determine if you have enough time to click Add To Cart:
1. A single shriek/scream/yell:
Pause, and listen. Do you hear another one? Does anyone have panic in their voice?
Congratulations. You can now finish typing a morally outraged response to someone’s anti-vaxx post.
There’s nothing I love more than the sound of my children laughing. Unless the laughter is at my expense or because they’ve discovered how to access or break something. In my home, hearing a child laugh either means they’ve uncovered something witty on YouTube Kids, or the older one has encouraged the younger one to draw stylized poop motifs on the wall with scented markers.
You have two choices: stay put and finish Candy Crush, or investigate. Proceed at your own risk.
3. A pattern of screaming/silence/crying:
The silence means that your child is drawing breath for the next round. Children did this in prehistoric days to alert their parents to their location. Or drive them away. If there’s more than two in a row, you can assume there’s bodily damage. Today just isn’t your lucky day.
4. The tattle:
Preschoolers will intentionally insert themselves into an elaborate play-by-play of events that are none of their business. It’s maddening. Imagine sportscaster Paul Romanuk describing the hockey game, only instead of shouting “He shoots, he SCORES!” you hear “He pooped on the FLOOR!”
I assume the innateness of tattling is also evolutionary and was once prudent to survival, but it’s doubtful that any of those Tattlesaurus Rex’s made it to adulthood. Tattling can totally work in your favour, as long as you use it like a newsfeed to determine if an objectionable action by a sibling is benign or involves dropping heat.
This can mean one of three things:
A) They’re playing quietly together in perfect symbiosis. Document the moment and enjoy.
B) The rapture has claimed them. Consider an afternoon of Real Housewives and chocolate-covered pretzels. They’ll be returned to you soon enough.
C) You should prepare for mutiny and total destruction on the other side of the door. Add Lord of the Flies and The Art of War to your reading list.
Alexis Nicols is a marketing specialist, actor and freelance writer. She lives in urban Toronto with her husband and two sons, but is definitely suburban at heart. She regularly dodges the slings and arrows of parenting boys, considers herself a connoisseur of stretchy pants and hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.
For more musings from a mom who wonders when everything below the neck went National Geographic, visit her blog: stopstopcomehere.ca