Life parenthood is a rollercoaster

For the love of all that is good and holy, lift the toilet seat!

Altered from image from Pixabay
Altered from image from Pixabay

I would be ashamed of my kids if they ended up being one of those guys that didn’t lift the toilet seat in public bathrooms. You know who I am talking about, the ones who somehow just don’t care or think it’s funny. Or something. I don’t know what it is. I don’t understand it. I don’t think I want to understand it.

I am baffled by what I see in public bathrooms and I want to assume it’s just kids who don’t know any better, but I know this isn’t true. I see adults exit the stalls, and I see the evidence of their disengagement with civilization. I want to follow them out and say, “Cats, for Pete’s sake, for the love of all that is divine in this universe, are cleaner than you are.” Then I’d give them the stink eye.

Yeah, perhaps not. I’m not the type to confront people, just write about them. And if I did confront them, let’s be real, I’ll probably curse. I clean my language up for this site.

But getting to the the point, now, before I lose myself in ramble-ramble-ramble land. If my kids, in particularly my two boys, grew up to be one of those guys, I am going to give them time-outs. I don’t care how old they are. I’m going to do it.

Awhile back I was in a Denny’s bathroom with my older son, and we noticed a guy leaving the bathroom without washing his hands. My son commented on how gross that was, which I agreed with, but I said, “Yes, and you do this all the time at home.”

Point driven home. Unfortunately, it’s probably still a problem, but I can’t say for sure. The boys are guilty of doing such things as turning the water on for a little bit so that they can pretend they brushed their teeth. They’ll put the toothbrush in the water, just to make it wet. They’ll do silly things like touch the soap bar with one finger for half a second, rinse for a second, and call that washing their hands. It’s a constant battle to get them to do the right thing.

And the toilet seat! The toilet seat, my god, you would think that the concept of hinges was some alien thing. The seat lifts up, and the boys would be wide-eyed as if they were being shown fire for the first time. It’s a miracle, an amazing thing, the seat lifts up! And, as if that weren’t enough of a miracle, there’s this novel thing called toilet paper, which is right there a few inches away just waiting for someone to take a piece and wipe the toilet down further JUST IN CASE.

And when I say JUST IN CASE, I mean that it’s probably every time that it’s needed, because we’re talking about little boys with terrible aim.

I have literally spent half an hour, more than once, having the boys practice the whole thing: Lift the seat, pretend to pee, pretend to wipe the toilet down, lower the seat, pretend to flush. Over and over and over again, while they give me looks of dismay and ask, “How many more times, Daddy!?”

Clearly, it wasn’t enough, because not a day goes by and there it is. Pee on the toilet seat.

I’ve tried time outs, early bed times, lectures, writing lines, and I forget what else. I don’t know what it’s going to take.

But we will get there, because I am not going to raise boys that become men who don’t care that they’re leaving a mess for the next person. I feel like it’s an indicator for how they treat others in general.

Meanwhile, a year ago I had to replace the toilet seat due to damage from you-know-what, and recently I just had to buy another one for the same reason. Their response: “COOL! New seat!”

Good god. Help me.


By J. Parrish Lewis

J. Parrish Lewis was born and raised in Maryland. In his youth there, he and his brother had many adventures in the dogwood forests near his home. His nostalgia for these adventures has strongly influenced his characters, their relationships, and their perspective on the world they inhabit. He moved to California’s coast to earn his degree in communications and now lives with his family in the San Joaquin Valley. Lewis is profoundly deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate. He enjoys hazelnut coffee, captioned movies, and walking his dog.

2 replies on “For the love of all that is good and holy, lift the toilet seat!”

I hope it lasts, too! MY older son did go through a phase where he was doing well, but he relapsed. However, all my kids are adopted, so we were not there for the early years. Adopted each at ages 5 through 7 over a period of years.

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