We'd been living in the house for about a year or so. I was feeding all three children lunch and, as part of my potty training regimen, was preparing to take the twins to sit on their potties after they'd finished eating. This was the same routine I had with their older sister years before and it had worked pretty well.
I would sit with them, encouraging them to use the potty and reading our potty book. Sam was catching on, but Sara was too prudish to cooperate. Still, she was compliant with the sitting and I figured at some point she'd give in.
On the particular day in question, as I led them to the bathroom, my son informed me that his cousin had instructed him to have 'pie vet see' in the bathroom. 'Boys need pie vet sees in potties,' he said, 'Meme said.'
'Wha? I don't care what he told you. You cannot eat in the bathroom!'
'No, no,' he protested, 'Pievet. See'. He was speaking to me slowly. Irony dripping.
I'm a doe in headlights. Blink. Blink.
'Privacy,' Lucy translated, with the heavy sigh she's perfected over the years.
I told him that he and Sara always went together, thinking he was trying to rid himself of her company since she wasn't much of a pottier. No. He informed me that she was no intrusion on his privacy, but I was. Fine. Not the first nor the last time I was going to get shoved off by one of my darlings.
I got them both situated, left the door slightly ajar and went back to the kitchen to clean up.
A few minutes into my cleanup, the radar went off. Too quiet. Got that crinkly feeling on the back of my neck. Figured, at worst, they were sitting on the sofa with no diapers getting ready to introduce my bought-it-when-I-was-childless-fabulous couch to strained carrots and boiled chicken, the impolite way. I figured that'd be the worst because I hadn't yet seen the worst.
I approached the bathroom and heard them gibbering in there. Good sign. Couch safe! I stood in the hallway between the dining room and bathroom, peering in to check without disturbing the privacy I'd been instructed to respect.
There were my two adorable babies... they were naked from the waste down... staring down at their respective potties.... bellies full, hands on hips... but... what was that?
"No, Sam," I heard Sara say sternly. "That's not enough. Put mas [the Spanish word for 'more'] in there."
Whereby Sam dutifully stuck his hands in one potty, and scooped his waste from it into the other potty.
"Is that good?"I came into focus. The horror swept over me in waves.
"I think so," Sara mused.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHH," I barged in, saying the only intelligent thing I could think of.
The rest of the scene becomes a blur again.
"Look, mommy!" Sara beamed, "I made caca in the potty!"
"No, Sara. No you did not!" I screamed, "that is Sam's caca. You put your caca in her potty?!" I demanded of him. Whereafter my beautiful boy took his hands out from behind his back where he'd tucked them when I stormed in, smeared them all over my freshly painted peach walls, held them up, full of poop he'd forgotten about and looked at me with those eyes. "No, mommy, I didn't. I swear."
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHH," I screamed again. Not the first nor the last time words have failed me in the process of parenting.
I grabbed them both by the waist, hoisted one under each arm, Sara giggling, Sam starting to whimper, marched them up the stairs to the full bath, bathed them thoroughly, redressed each and put them to bed. By this time, they'd all sensed the situation had become dangerous enough where Lucy actually put herself down to nap and the twins said nary a word as I barged back down the stairs to clean the scene of the disaster. I was well into it when I heard the front door. I can only imagine what I looked like when my husband walked in. Smelling of pine sol, feces and furor I approached him.
"The babies are upstairs," I said through clenched teeth. "It is my Christian upbringing that has kept them alive this day. I am going out now. You're in charge." I paced slowly past him. He just stood there, nervously, not saying a word. "Oh. And there's poop on the walls in the bathroom." And I walked out.
I honestly can't say where I went. I don't remember. I do remember rinsing myself off with the hose outside and I remember coming back to a pretty clean and stable house. We never spoke of it that night, nor in the days after. It took me a long while to recompose myself. But there are still scars. I have dreams. I can't walk down the plastic potty aisle at Target without shivering. And, of course, I can never potty train again. Never. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.