Saturday, August 28, 2010

no such thing as a bathroom break

alright. i have no desire to be uncouth, but from time to time nature calls to us all. and once in a while she calls in a way that lets us know we're gonna be spending an abnormally long time in the john. go nature.

so not too long ago i was the lucky recipient of one of these calls. it was a chaotic time of the day, and i was already on full mom-alert status. code orange with slight chance of red on the horizon. so when the call comes in from nature, i figure it wouldn't probably be the wisest choice to just run off to take care of business and leave the
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...Image via Wikipedia
four horsemen of the apocalypse to play unsupervised  in the living room during my absence. 

i grab the baby and a book for her to read and plunk her down on the bathroom floor. i take my seat. literally four seconds later, annika opens the door (it doesn't lock... which has been the cause of more than one embarrassing mishap, believe you me) and walks on in chattering to me about something or other. (bats, i think it was. or maybe something about string cheese... at any rate) She went to the long mirror hanging on the back of the door, and started making faces at herself, and rearranging her hair.

in the reflection of the mirror, she spotted the hair dryer, lying on the counter, and turned and picked it up, with the air of a sociologist
Hair dryerImage via Wikipedia
attempting to dicipher the mysteries of a long lost civilization. she turned it on. 

meanwhile, naomi had abandoned her book, and taken up investigating things in the trash can. i pried a toilet paper tube from her
Toilet paperImage via Wikipedia
kung fu grip, which led to an immediate burst of outraged tears. the formerly abandoned book is no consolation for the loss of the toilet paper tube. she dives back into the trashcan. 

i did my best to discourage her explorations with a well-placed leg turned guard-rail. however i was not as effectual as i might have been, had i not been distracted by annika's strange and enigmatic behavior with the hair dryer. she was holding it out from her face, blowing her hair every which way to breakfast, and making the most peculiar expression i think i have ever seen. it was a cross between scientific analysis, disgust, and incredulity. i was laughing. 

she, of course had to know what i was laughing about, and i told her she was making a funny face, so naturally she had to see for herself in the mirror. 

cue naomi. her archaeological expedition in the trashcan had unearthed an abandoned tube of toothpaste, a diaper, and an incomplete pack of playing cards. ack! i remove the tube of toothpaste from her mouth, reaching behind me for the toilet paper (the boys have repurposed the toilet paper holder as a rocket for their hoverboard, so the toilet paper has to sit on the top of the toilet. im sure this is common practice.) to wipe her mouth, and when i turn around, annika is blasting naomi with the hair dryer. she's holding it like it was a lazer blaster from the planet Zubrox, and she's focused on her target with the ferocity of a jungle cat. something in the jaguar family. perhaps leopard. 

what made me choke with laughter, however wasn't anni's puma face, but naomi's reaction, which was so exact a copy of the expression anni had been making earlier it was uncanny. with my one leg still up in a defensive position, i had to grab onto the wall to keep from toppling off my perch. 

enter boys. the bathroom door was standing wide open since annika had come in, and everybody knows an open bathroom door is a gilt-edged invitation to the type of intimacy most families try to avoid. perfection. 
so the boys are in the middle of a heated discussion about whether uncle rico had said "almond palmer" or "alvin palinger" in the movie napoleon dynamite. (the phrase they were looking for was actually "nylon polymer"... just in case anyone was plagued with curiosity.) and they had come in to seek binding arbitration on the matter. 

all this while, of course, i've been sitting (having placed a towel strategically over myself to retain some small shred of dignity) working with one hand to negotiate the hair dryer situation with the girls. as we're discussing the "palmer/ palinger/ polymer" question, owen, always the multi-tasker, has found a stack of washcloths that he has decided must be folded into paper airplane shapes. 

unfortunately, he has decided to do the folding about 4 centimeters from where naomi is sitting, opening and closing the under-sink cabinet doors. she becomes interested, naturally in the assembly of the paper airplane washcloths, and wishes to join in. this is not looked upon favorably by owen. 

meanwhile, annika has turned back to the mirror, and is lazer blasting her reflection quoting "mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all" in what, for all the world, sounds like an australian accent; and max has decided that this is the perfect opportunity for him to turn on the bath and soak his feet, and then step out onto the carpet (brainless award given to the genius who decided to put carpet in the bathroom...) and make big wet footprints across the floor. ("it's like a MAP!!")

... 37 seconds later ...

i am collapsed and convulsed in laughter, but somehow manage to yell "OUT!!!  PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO PEE IN PEACE!!"
which brought most of the action to a standstill, and earned me three hugs as owen, max, and annika filed meekly out the door. 

naomi and i eyed each other and shook our heads. which is about when, out in the hallway, i heard max whisper to owen and annika, "mom said 'pee'!" 

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