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Ford column: In lieu of the loo

Considering that we do not even have a master bath in our house, I was fairly certain that I had not installed a private toilet in my youngest child’s closet.
But what’s a little lack of plumbing to a 6-year-old.
Sweet Clara apparently developed a recent aversion to walking down the hallway to the real bathroom in the middle of the night.
She just used her garbage can instead ó in lieu of a loo.
Talk about a water closet.
Like many people who have children or numerous pets or work in industries like healthcare delivery or municipal sanitation, I don’t have a weak stomach.
No bodily function is off limits for discussion in our house, and I tolerate a fair amount of potty talk both from and between my kids.
We regularly discuss regularity.
Peeing in the garbage can, however, is good for absolutely nothing but column fodder.
Upon my discovery, I immediately counted to 10.
I breathed in and breathed out.
I imagined myself on a sunny mountainside surrounded by puppies and butterflies.
And then I yelled.
Clara appeared, quivering slightly, and explained that she didn’t like walking to the bathroom at night.
You’re gonna have to do better than that.
Her big blue eyes rimmed with tears, she looked up and offered, “Monsters?”
Her uncertain answer was like a leaked memo testing the waters for a viable justification for corporate misdeeds, or a hastily called press conference to spin some politician’s malfeasance into a plausible explanation.
“I didn’t know it was against the law?”
“I was going to pay it back?”
“I’m diabetic?”
If true, I acknowledge that Clara’s nighttime solution could be construed as a smart and resourceful way to avoid monsters lurking in the hallway, as my friends insist.
They have recommended several options to ease her mind at bedtime, including putting good ol’ Barbie under the bed for protection or spraying “monster away,” a bottle filled with tap water, wherever ogres and werewolves may lie in wait.
However, I suspect that Clara, when faced with an angry mother holding the can, quickly came up with the most plausible explanation she could imagine.
Monsters?
Smart and resourceful, indeed.
The truth more likely lies in Clara’s disinterest in scurrying down a cold hallway barefoot and sitting on a chilly toilet seat.
I only recently broke down and turned on our heat, and on the nights when those terrible monsters prevented Clara from using the commode, the thermostat probably registered a nippy 60 degrees.
Yes. This incident could end up being, like so many others, Mom’s Fault.
Years ago, another 6-year-old, who shall remain anonymous only because today is Unnamed Child’s birthday, also used the closet for nefarious purposes.
Without benefit of a trash can.
When I discovered the soggy carpet, which was brand new (of course!), I spent the next 30 minutes with a box cutter, bleach and bottle of odor eliminator.
Mom happened to call while I was alternately ripping out carpet and cussing. She laughed and insisted that many children find secret places to go.
Behind a tree in the backyard would’ve been nice.
Now, all closets and trash cans are back to their original purposes.
Apparently, the only thing that scares Clara more than monsters in the hallway is her mother.
Contact Emily Ford at eford@salisburypost.com.

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