“We need to buy more toilet paper Mommy.”
“The toilet is broken. We need to fix it.”
“We need to buy more white soap.”
Those three sentences now mean to me that I need to keep a closer eye on Johnny when he goes to the bathroom and that he is feeling VERY anxious right now about something. I think you might guess where this is going right? I thought that too until I asked him some questions and my little guy used his new found words to enlighten me.
Johnny has always been our cause and effect, sensory, I love playing in water getting my hands messy in the soap kind of boy so learning bathroom routines has been challenging. Then you add in the shiny taps and spout where you can see your reflection or the rainbow that suddenly introduces itself into your bathroom you find yourself grasping for any ounce of patience. We introduced visual schedules here: to him to keep him on track and for us to point to get him on track without using a verbal prompt all the time. Hint: verbal prompts for any child are the hardest thing to fade out.
“We need to buy more toilet paper Mommy.” Didn’t you buy a bunch on sale with Daddy last weekend? A sheepish yes and downcast eyes but I didn’t think much of it because I had to do something with Johnny’s little sister. Later I go to the bathroom and there is a very wet roll of toilet paper from the holder sitting on top of the tank as if someone had dropped it in and then fished it out. Didn’t this happen 2 days ago and I was told an accident had happened and a certain little boy needed my help? I took comfort in the fact that he tried to get it and cleaned up after himself.
Two days later Johnny tells his Daddy the toilet is broken. Daddy says its okay but I am suspicious and tell him to trust Johnny and check it out because he has been telling me about impending distasters. The toilet was plugged. He now wants to watch Daddy fix the toilet. Daddy decides that the best solution was to NOT let him watch.
Two hours later the toilet is plugged again and Johnny says, “The toilet is broken. Daddy can’t fix it and we need to buy a new one.” I pull him aside and remember that earlier in the day I caught him trying to rip a big rubber playmate saying we needed to go shopping for new ones. I think I have found a pattern. I ask him why does the toilet keep getting broken?
“Daddy will renovate it and we will go to (the big box hardware store he loves as much as a toy store).”
The thing we have found about Johnny is the simplest or obvious answer is not usually the whole answer and he is usually a few steps ahead. We have been scouting out some supplies for fixing parts of our house and he is fascinated with the plumbing, electrical and general construction aisles. When we go out on walks he looks at construction projects and comes home and is trying to re-create what he saw with his blocks and cranes. He is looking at outlets and commenting on where he thinks the wiring is in the wall. He draws what he thinks is a circuit. In a new space he is looking at all the ducting and wiring and therapists think he is obsessing about vents or sounds…no he is literally trying to figure it out.