One thing about being a mother is that when you have to poop, you usually have to wait until a good time.

I say this only applies to mothers because - at least in my experience - dads just seem to drop everything when they need to "drop deuce," while we moms wait until the baby is occupied, until a meal is finished, until after school drop-off or pickup. I tell myself it's an attempt to minimize distractions while I do the deed, but I still end up with little fingers under the door or knocking or Mommy? What are you doing in therrrrre?

Anyway, this morning I was cooking breakfast when I felt a dump come a-knockin'. (Now let me just pause this for a second to warn that if you're horrified by me saying this, you probably shouldn't read any further. But let me also remind you that everybody poops - Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Kate Middleton, the leaders of the free world - and that the only difference is that they don't have blogs to talk about it on.)

Like any mother, I dutifully pressed on despite the impending poo. So by the time I got breakfast on the table, I really had to go. I made sure the kids were all set up, then hurried to the bathroom adjoining my bedroom to take care of bidness.

Except I realized when I got there, much to my chagrin, that the bathroom door was closed. And locked. From the inside.

Anger surged up inside me and I twisted the doorknob with a desperate ferocity that only a woman about to poop herself could muster, as though the sheer power of my frustration could will it open. "Who locked this door?!" I bellowed.

I barely heard the resulting chorus of "Not me!" and "It was my brother!" - because I was rushing to our other bathroom, the one the boys use, grateful with each step to have a two-bathroom house. Their door was standing mercifully open, the toilet blissfully unoccupied, a fresh roll of toilet paper (two-ply, ultra-soft) standing at the ready. Ahhhh. All was well.

...Until a few minutes later when I flushed.

And nothing went down.

And the water started to rise.

And I realized in horror that the only plunger was currently locked inside the other bathroom.

Typically I stash little key-thingies above each door frame for just such occasions. But wouldn't you know - they were nowhere to be found. I had no idea where any of them were, or even when they had disappeared. All I managed to unearth from the tops of the door frames was an embarrassing amount of dust.

So I scrambled to find a paperclip. I jammed it into the pinhole on our bathroom doorknob and jiggled it around.


I tried a bobby pin. A nail. A screw. A really dirty look. I tried unbending a wire hanger. All the while, thoughts of the other toilet, perched precariously on the edge of an overflow, filled my head. Because while little boys are always happy (and anatomically able) to pee in random receptacles, there's only one place they can feasibly poop. (Because if it's not in the toilet, it's a problem. Remember this?)

I even let my four-year-old attempt it on the off chance that he was in fact a master lock-picker.

But ... he wasn't.

My hand was starting to hurt. Nothing was working. I was running out of ideas, and probably running out of time - after all, my kids' breakfasts were digesting.

And then for some reason - divine intervention, perhaps - I had a thought.

When I find something important laying around, I automatically stash it in my drawer. Maybe, just maybe, I had found one of the keys on the floor at some point and put it there. Brimming with new-found hope, hands trembling, I opened the drawer. And ...

*cue Hallelujah chorus*

I inserted the key into the door and popped that sucker open on the first try. Like a boss.*

*If you don't think about the ten million times I failed to open it with the other utensils.

And once again, all was well. The toilets in my house were plentiful and flowing.

If this ever happens again, I'm holding it. After all, moms are used to that.


  1. OMG, I had visions of the toilet overflowing before you finally got the door unlocked! Thankfully, that didn't happen! Maybe you should keep one of those lock-pickers in your purse, just in case.

  2. A few months ago my girls locked the bathroom door... with them on the inside. The door is 85 years old so the lock is really tricky and they couldnt get it unlocked. I heard water running which sent me into a panic because it was picture day and they were already dressed. I finally had to call 911. Damn kids.


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