Monday, January 24, 2011

The Bathroom Door

Living in one house and working in another can be a little confusing. I don't have to remember which stairs squeak in which house anymore, but the exhaust vents for the ovens are on opposite sides of the stove and have resulted in many melted bread bags, and kitchen disasters abound when I forget which element is too hot and which one doesn't work at all.

One thing that is similar between these two homes is the bathroom door. Those things are magical! There is no better way for me to get the kids attention them to close it, with me on one side and them on the other. It's like an invisible beacon, my own personal bat signal. Outside of it, I'm like the teacher from Charlie Brown - they tune out every word I say that doesn't suit them - but I suddenly become as wise as Merlin the Great when I cross over that sacred threshold.

They were fascinated with the bathroom as toddlers. There was no such thing as privacy. The toilet was particularly enthralling. I didn't think I would ever get to flush it myself again. In truth, I stopped closing the door at our house because there just seemed no point. The distress it caused was harder to deal with than the audience.  As they got a little older, I started to be become scared of closing it. It was like the click of the door was a signal for havoc to reign. Fighting, breaking things, making huge messes and hurting themselves happened almost as if on queue. I seriously felt like I couldn't even go to the bathroom without destruction coming to knock on the door.

Flash forward to the present day, and the door is firmly closed - and locked. Don't kid yourself though - it's no sanctuary. It's more like a battle room. Their most pressing concerns are left until they hear that click. It doesn't matter if I try to go by stealth or publically announce my intentions. They race to stand on the other side, peppering me with questions and interesting facts, knowing I can't escape and thinking that I have to give them my full attention. Math homework, scientific dilemnas and the meaning of life - no topic is off-limits. It almost seems like they save their best stuff for those moments. Arguments are expected to be resolved, and solutions found, while that beautiful piece of wood stands between us, guarding me from the onslaught.

Of course, there are benefits. I was once so started by the spontaneous crisis that errupted when I went in, that I dropped my blackberry into the bowl. I nearly cried but it was a blessing in disguise. I clearly had a substance abuse problem! I haven't had a cell phone since. If only I could flush away the other problems so easily. ;)


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