The New Toilet Training

The sound from downstairs was a new one. It appeared that the boys were branching out. I gave it a minute to allow for screams, but after an initial pause only the strange sound started again. There was a hint of laughter. I decided that the shenanigans in the distance must be a joint affair, which, according to previous (mis)adventures, generally means less tears and more mess. I got into character, walked downstairs, and braced myself.

“What the hello kitty is going on in here?” I asked. They stopped and looked at me as if the answer was painfully obvious. The oldest slowly took his hand out of the toilet.

“I recorded that,” said the youngest. He was clutching an iPod Touch and a director’s vision. The toilet made a gurgling sound and we all turned to watch as the clear water sunk away like proof through the pudding.

“Did you put something in there?” I asked.

They looked at each other. They looked at the toilet. They looked at me.

“In where?” replied the bravest.

His eye twitched and I pounced with a more specific follow-up, “What were you doing with your hand in the toilet?”

“Getting the necklace,” he answered calmly. This, apparently, being sufficient explanation.

“What necklace?” My inquisition was ruthless.

He held up a red, plastic necklace that I had seen in one pile of clutter or another for the past several months and said, somewhat proudly, “This one.”

It was dripping water all over the bathroom floor. His shirt was wet. My mind backed up, quickly, and suddenly I was twelve years old listening to my parents’ Bill Cosby albums and the hilarious story about torpedoes and the flushing of a mink coat down the toilet. It didn’t seem nearly as funny now.

I wondered if Cosby had started with a necklace. I wondered if his parents had sewer or septic.

“Was there anything else in there — in the toilet?” I asked.

Their faces suggested that the very idea was absurd. They refused to answer on grounds that, I can only assume, were supposed to pass as principle.

“Why was the necklace in the toilet?” I asked. I was confident that we didn’t own a mink coat.

“For the movie!” said the youngest, obviously at his end with me and my ridiculous line of questioning.

I looked at them both. I looked at the toilet.

“Did you get the shot?” I asked.

“Daddy,” said the cameraman. “I don’t like shots.”

And that’s why I’m sipping one right now.

Later, after I had shared my extensive knowledge of plumbing costs in a clear, loud voice, I tried to watch the footage, but it had been mysteriously deleted. The boys claimed that the video did not do the scene justice and consisted mainly of varying degrees of bathroom tile. The air smelled of conspiracy, which, considering the situation, was a best case scenario.

I threw the necklace in the trash. Nobody reached in to get it.

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Photo: thelovelyteaspoon via Etsy

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