Tonight, the girls and I said goodbye to a beloved friend tonight.
Tonight we accidentally flushed a toy that the kids hardly ever played with down the toilet. But judging by the reaction from the girls, you would have thought I shoved the goddamn dog down the crapper instead of a tiny plastic piece of shit that my kids had inexplicably fallen in love with. But you know what? I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning to see how this serious non-tragedy began.
It all started in our tiny bathroom just before bedtime. Mercifully, tonight there was only three of us crammed inside, since Surrey fell asleep in the car on the way home from Grandma’s house. I need to add here that actually getting Phaedra and Bella up the stairs and into the bathroom is a ten-minute case study on the grieving process. When we finally hit the bargaining phase, Bella usually asks to bring a few toys with her to bed, to which I respond YES, WHATEVER, JUST PLEASE GO UP THE GODDAMN STAIRS FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS AND ALL HIS FRIENDS.
So she grabbed a few teeny little plastic toys, decided that she couldn’t bear to spend the night without them, and headed up the stairs. (Note: This is classic Bella: find a tiny toy that she’s never paid any attention to before, and immediately make that toy her absolute favorite, can’t-live-without-it toy. This tiny plastic pig basically didn’t exist at all for Bella until five minutes before bedtime, when suddenly she fell in love with it and it became THE BEST TOY ON EARTH. It is always an extremely small toy, so that when she drops it in the car while you’re driving on the freeway or leaves it somewhere in the house and (loudly) informs you that she can’t leave the house without it, there’s no way you’ll ever find it.)
The girls brush their teeth and go potty and then we’re all standing there looking at the toilet because Bella just destroyed it for like the fifth time that day. Phaedra is appalled. ”Bella, what’s up with your poop?!” Phaedra is terrified of diarrhea because I told her once that you get it when you’re sick. I failed to mention that sometimes you can get it from eating nothing but peanut butter on a spoon all day, which I suspect was the case with Bella.I may also have shown this video to Phaedra once.
As the three of us contemplated the state of Bella’s bowels, I reached over and pushed the lever to flush the toilet. The second the lever went up, I glanced back down at the bowl to make sure that our wonky toilet actually started flushing. That’s when I saw Piggie land on the pile of swirling toilet paper in the toilet.
Suddenly I was faced with a Sophie’s choice: stand there and helplessly watch Piggy get flushed down the toilet and try to explain to Bella that her toy was gone forever, or stick my hand into a toilet full of loose shit to save a toy that I could replace for $6 at Target. I decided there wasn’t enough time grab it; the water was already swirling. But then while I watched the pig spin around, I realized that I actually had more time than I thought, and that I totally could have grabbed that toy. But by that point it really was too late, because down he went. I fervently hoped that Piggie was too heavy to actually make it up and around the pipe bend, but no such luck. You know those moments right after you finish a movie with a really shocking ending, and you just sit there for a few minutes in stunned silence, staring at the screen? That’s what we did. We just stared at the toilet for a few seconds, none of us really knowing what just happened.
Then they fuh-REAKED OUT.
There was crying. There was tearful pleading to get the toy back. There was railing against the gods of plumbing to return their beloved Piggie. They insisted that I get their toy back for them, but there was nothing I could do. It was gone.
After I finally got them all tucked in and agreed with Phaedra that yes, the little “gravestone” she had created for Piggie from the statues and piggy bank on her bookshelf was very nice, would help us always to remember Piggie, and that Piggie would probably have liked it, I sat thinking about how I wish I had just grabbed the stupid toy. I instinctively hesitated from reaching into a dirty toilet, but I wish I had just put that aside and gone for it. I mean, it’s just poop, right?! It’s not like it would cause permanent damage.
This right here is the fucked-up thing about being a parent. I mean, is there anyone you can think of (besides your kids) that you would even consider willingly plunging your hand inside a toilet filled with someone else’s shit? I’m not sure I would even go shit-diving for my own wedding ring, but I spent an entire evening feeling bad about not going after a stupid mass-produced plastic toy because my kids were sad about losing it. That’s my new definition of love: would I touch your poop just to make you happy? Try it yourself — I’ve found that it’s a pretty accurate way of figuring out just how important someone is in my life.It’s also cut down on the number of request for my baked goods.