In a weird symbolic moment yesterday, a number of key themes of my blog over the last few months all converged in a single minor tragedy.
The inadequacy of our plumbing, the random nature of husbands, the unending kindness and caring of my younger son and, above all, the huge importance of Teddy.
My daughter went into the bathroom to clean her teeth at bedtime and started screaming. This is not an uncommon occurrence. On the contrary, it is an everyday occurrence. My eldest son will nearly always push in front of her at the sink or splash her deliberately with the taps.
But this screaming was the scream of real pain, not the scream of anger with her brother. Then she said it: ‘Teddy’s fallen in the toilet’. Surely it couldn’t be true? How could Teddy have fallen in the toilet? She’d done her usual thing of slinging him on the floor next to the toilet while she went for a wee, but somehow on this occasion had missed the floor. Sure enough, Teddy had fallen in the toilet. And I’m afraid to say the toilet wasn’t entirely clean. It’s the one that doesn’t flush very often.
My husband will never pick anything out of the toilet – toothbrushes fall in on a fairly regular basis. (You will be pleased to know that I do throw them away after they’ve fallen in.) But it is testament to his love for our daughter and his appreciation of the sheer importance of Teddy, that he plucked him straight out before the water could soak any further up his little legs, his threadbare body and his filthy Tshirt.
Not only does my husband not pick things out of the toilet, he doesn’t wash things either. But as I held my daughter while she screamed and cried, my husband performed an emergency cleaning operation on Teddy. The washing machine was otherwise engaged – and I wouldn’t dare put Teddy in the washing machine anyway. My preferred option would have been to fill up the sink and wash him in that.
But my husband got the sick bowl out to use. The sick bowl. It was clean, but it’s the sick bowl, for goodness sake! Where is the respect to a much-loved member of the family?!
Before I knew it, Teddy had been washed. And then where did he go? A radiator? No, he went in the tumble drier. The tumble drier! I wouldn’t even put my Tshirts in there, let alone Teddy. It was even on high! I insisted it was turned down to low and remarkably (thank the Lord), Teddy survived. He just had a little lie on the radiator to recuperate.
My daughter wouldn’t go to bed without Teddy, but she had no choice. It was late, but she had to have a story. I was still in the middle of eating my tea, so my younger son offered to read her story. She was so upset, he actually read her two. She never gets two from me. Then he said he would get Teddy out of the tumble drier and put him in bed with her while she was asleep. What a lovely boy. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe he’s only two years older than her – he is just so caring.
So there you go – key elements of my life all colliding in one little incident. It’s just like a proper book with references. If you wish to look up any of these themes on my blog, you can check out Teddy, a Squash and a Squeeze, My gorgeous boy and Both ends (one of many posts which mentions the random nature of husbands).