Yesterday Teresa told me a cute story about how Noah is now able, and helpful enough, to get you a roll of toilet paper if you’re stranded on the toilet. How cute, I thought.
This morning I learned a lesson: Given the chance, a toddler will always exert his power over you.
Noah wakes up, and before he’s standing he’s asking to watch TV. This is his way. We always give in, as we’re too tired to fight, and PBS has wholly satisfactory programing. I usher him to the den, turn the TV on, and I go to, well…”do my business.”
Once past the “point of no return,” I notice there’s no toilet paper in the bathroom. “How funny,” I thought, considering Teresa had just told me the night before of Noah’s new, helpful ability.
“Coco!” he replies.
“No buddy, I need your help, can you come here for a second?”
“I eat! I eat!”
“Noah buddy, come here. I NEED you.”
No answer. I hear Sid the Science Kid tell Noah his “super duper schmuper big idea.” I begin to wonder if Teresa purposely hid the toilet paper so I could experience this first hand.
I hear feet patter down the hall. Then it gets quiet. I figure he’s gone into his room. Then a tiny head pops around the door frame with an accompanying “huh?”
“Oh Good! Noah, can you get daddy some toilet paper?”
“I’ll make you some coco once I’m done here, but right now I need you to help me.”
At this he disappears back behind the door frame. A second of silence, then the sound of feet pitter-pattering down the hallway.
“Noah? Come on! Mommy said you helped her!”
Pitter patters again. Tiny head appears. “Huh?”
His head disappears once again. This time I hear the hall closet door opening. Success!
I hear him begin to struggle. I hear the crinkle of the plastic around the toilet paper. I hear more struggling. Noah begins to cry. It’s an angry cry. It’s the cry of a toddler knowing a quarter pound cylinder of paper is standing between him and his precious chocolate milk. Pitter Patters. Head. “Huh?”
“No buddy, you HAVE to complete this task before I can make you coco.”
Head disappears. Crinkles. Tears. Rustling. Pitters, patters. Head appears, followed by a torso.
Suddenly a sense of elation comes over me. The boy holds in his hand the precious commodity I so longed for. The item which we struggled together for. He physically, me in spirit.
He stands there. Looking at me.
“Yes, just hand me the toilet paper and I’ll make you coco.”
Then, something awful happens. I hear a sound from the den.
Noah’s ears perk up. It’s Thomas the Tank Engine. He’s gone before I can try and shout over the music, attempting to drown out the siren’s song of little British kids singing about shunting trucks and hauling freight.
Laying on the floor, about 8 feet in front of me, is a single roll of toilet paper. I sigh, collect up all that was my pride, throw it in the trash can, and perform the “Waddle of Shame.” For our Japanese readers, you may know it as, “The Shuffle of Dishonor.”
So what have we learned today? Well, as I said up top, a child will taunt you in your weakest moments. But I also learned that we’re so meaningless to them, once they’ve put us in these horrifically shameful situations, they don’t even value it enough to stick around to watch you at your lowest.
After I wrap things up, I come out to the den, to face my assailant. I walk in, stand in the doorway, and wait. He stands motionless, hesitating to acknowledge my existence. I release the breath I was holding. He turns his head slightly, never taking his eyes off the TV…