No rest in the restroom

. October 17, 2012.

Many major moments have happened in the minor enclosed area we respectively refer to as the “restroom.” Usually “normal” families can recall tales of childhood passages (no pun intended) such as the experience of toilet training, brushing that first tooth or taking a “big girl” shower for the first time. In my family, not only are my recollections far from being worthy of scoring a coveted place in the “baby book” but many involved the older, and, one would hope, mature members of my inner circle.

The most elderly perpetrator of our lavatory calamities was Gram. One of my grandmother’s charms was her childlike  enthusiasm. This is also what got her into “hot water” (this time pun intended). Gram was experiencing back pain so I brought her to my house thinking a soak in our Jacuzzi tub would be beneficial. I told her in a loud, clear voice not to put bubbles in the tub. I got her situated and went to check on my girls. Moments later I heard a faint little voice saying, “Help!”, before it exploded into a “HELP!” 

I ran to the bathroom to find bubbles EVERYWHERE and my Gram’s nostrils desperately trying to emerge from the carnage. “Gram, did you put bubbles in the tub?” I asked calmly. “Of course not,” she said, “OK, maybe a little.”

Gram was also to blame for falsely accusing my offspring after I investigated what my daughter, Helena, called “the pretty waterfall coming out of the toilet.” Something of substance besides the obvious was stuck in our commode. I gathered the girls to the scene once I had called my hero, aka our plumber, to watch the outcome. I began an inquisition, and asked my children if they had flushed any objects. I received a consistent and resounding, “No Mom.” I waited impatiently while my plumber went into the abyss expecting that at any moment a Barbie dressed in Scuba gear, Playmobile pirate figurine or the dog’s “Shamu” squeaky toy would surface.

What eventually emerged was not a child’s plaything but Gram’s $3,000 hearing aid that was supposed to be worn around her neck. She liked to keep it in her pants pocket. You do the math.

Private powder room moments are bad enough but what really makes life interesting is when my family enters the public domain. My mom was with my daughter at Macy’s, waiting with Maria outside the bathroom stalls for Lauren, when a huge sound of flatulence came bursting out. Could Mom and Maria quietly chuckle and keep their comments to a minimum? Of course not!  Noni, my mother, who is genetically flawed in the “inside voice” department, immediately and LOUDLY asked, “Lauren, are you OK?” An “I hope you feel better!” and a “What did you eat?” followed. Maria chimed in with a “Lauren, that is really nasty!” Lauren exited the stall with a horrified look on her face. Noni was about to hurl another comment when Lauren mouthed, “NONI, IT WASN’T ME!” A split second later, a red-faced woman who refused to make eye contact with my obnoxious relations exited the stall next to the one Lauren had occupied. 

Another time we “shared the love” by including others in our humiliation was when little Helena, always a fan of hide and seek, peered through the crack of a bathroom stall. She started singing, “I see you Noni! I can see you! I can still see you!” I gently pulled her away and told her that whoever she was communicating with was not Noni. My mother had already finished her “business” and was waiting for us outside.

I am mortified to say there have been a few other “moments.” Fine, more than a few, but one of my personal favorites happened before we even entered the restroom. A large sign hung on a bathroom door in Mackinaw City, Michigan. It was obviously placed there because of the door’s heaviness or tendency to stick. It read in bold letters, “MUST PUSH HARD,” to which my child looked up at me and asked boisterously, “Mom, how do they know?!”

Yet, another non-typical “Grandma” quote from Noni is, “If nature calls, you have to answer on the first ring!” Bearing this in mind, if or when you happen to see our gang in a restroom, I would suggest not resting but running