Big was an only child for the first almost five years of his life. This honour bestowed upon him the title of Child Lab Rat. We didn’t know how old kids needed to be to do things, we took educated guesses, made a hypothesis, and let him test the results. This is the story of how Experiment Bathroom Freedom failed spectacularly.
I was aware of the risks involved with allowing my then three year old to use the bathroom alone. There was a chance he would clog the toilet. My parents still remind me of the day they had to remove the toilet from the floor to retrieve a shaving cream cap I had lodged in there (It’s been 35 years guys, if I promise never to do it again, can we drop it?) Equally likely, he would flood the sink somehow.
I recognized these were hazards involved in giving him his bathroom freedom, but the bathroom was upstairs, and quite frankly, I was tired of having to get off my ass every time he needed to pee. I was prepared to deal with the odd flood in exchange for more couch time.
I was not prepared for June 20th, 2011. It is an image forever burned into my retinas. A story that will be passed down through generations of Joneses until it becomes a thing of urban legends.
He had been in there longer than usual, so I figured I better check on him (you know, the floods.) As I ascended the stairs, he slowly came into view, my little prince, sitting on his throne. Head. Shoulders. Feet. Then I saw it.
There he was, chilling on the john, casually brushing his ass with two toothbrushes.
I had questions. “Why???” was certainly one of them. My second, but more important one being, “Is this the first time you have done this?”
He didn’t really have an answer. He was rather unphased by the whole thing, as if this was a normal part of a toileting routine. Poop, wipe, brush. I could feel him saying, “What do YOU do in the bathroom, Mom? Clearly you are not as concerned with hygiene as I am. Ass decay is a serious problem. Besides the paste says right on it it’s for cavities.”
I tried to replay the last time I had brushed my teeth. Had it tasted particularly anal? I remembered spearmint, but had I missed the hint of ass?
Deciding ignorance was bliss, I took the brushes from his hand, threw them away, and placed the rest of the toothbrushes on a shelf so high that even I could barely reach it. Toothbrushes were now a controlled substance in our house. I might even make him get a permit.
Yes, Experiment Bathroom Freedom had had an unexpected result. I’m still analyzing the data, and drawing the conclusions, but one thing is for sure – the lab rat’s butt is minty fresh.