Small Wonders: Bathroom diaries

Allow me to set the scene: It's morning, after the bliss of sleep and before the bliss of school.

Thing 2 is eating leftover orange chicken with her hands directly from the takeout container. Thing 1 stares at the TV as a trickle of sleep drool creeps down her chin and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch before it grows soggy. SpongeBob SquarePants has embarked upon the zany antics for which he's best known.

Daddy, the only man in a house of women, takes the sports page and retires to his fortress of solitude … his office …his sanctuary …you get the idea.

And into this moment of peace, from the other side of the door a searching howl pierces the calm.


Thing 1: Daddy?!

(Daddy doesn't respond, knowing attention spans are short)

(Seconds pass)

Thing 1: Daaddddyyy!!

Daddy: I'm in the bathroom!

(There is quiet)


Daddy: Hold on!

Thing 1: Daddy, where are you?

Daddy: In the bathroom! Hold on!

(Shuffling footsteps approach outside the bathroom door)

Thing 2: Daddy, what are you doing?

Daddy: Decoding the DNA of the Amazon River Dolphin.

Thing 2: What?

Daddy: What do you think I'm doing, honey? Can you just wait a few minutes?

Thing 2: Um, OK. But I just wanted to tell you something.

Daddy: Are you bleeding?

Thing 2: No.

Daddy: Is the house on fire?

Thing 2: No.

Daddy: Is Ed McMahon, Kim Kardashian or Joe Torre at the front door?

Thing 2: No.

Daddy: Then please give me a couple minutes, and I will come help you.

Thing 2: OK.

(Soft footsteps pad away but thumping, angry footsteps approach outside the door)

Thing 1: Daddy! I have been looking everywhere for you!

Daddy: Well, I didn't know we were playing Hide-and-Seek. Can it wait?

Thing 1: Can I have some chips?

Daddy: No. Now give me a minute …

Thing 1: You always say no to everything!

Daddy: I'll say yes if you go away and give me a couple minutes.

Thing 1: OK.

(Quiet resumes, but no footsteps are heard)

Thing 1: Daddy?

Daddy: Seriously?!

Thing 1: Do we have any barbecue chips left?

Daddy: Give me just a few minutes and I will come out, make potato chips from scratch, drive to Kansas City for the barbecue sauce and serve it to you on a Frisbee! But just hold on!

Thing 1: OK. You don't have to yell.

(Footsteps recede away from the door)

Thing 2: (from the living room) Daddy? The computer screen is all blue!

Daddy: Stay off the computer, please!!

Thing 2: But I reeeeallyyyy want to play on Club Penguin.

Daddy: Not right now!

Thing 2: Why not?

Daddy: Because I said so.

Thing 2: You always say that!

Daddy: As will you someday when you have children. We never think we'll say it, but it's unavoidable.

Thing 2: What?

Daddy: Never mind. Just hold on a minute!

Thing 2: Then can I go on the computer?

Daddy: Is there something unclear about the words "hold on?"

Thing 1: Hey, I want to go on the computer. It's my turn.

Thing 2: No! I asked first!

Thing 1: But you always go on the computer and I never get to!

Thing 2: Nu-uh!

Thing 1: Yuh-huh!

Thing 2: Nu-UH!

Thing 1: Yuh-HUH!

Thing 2: Ow! Daddy! She hit me!

(Thing 2 cries)

Thing 1: No I didn't!

Thing 2: Yes you did!

Thing 1: I barely touched you! Ow! Daddy?! She just hit me back!

(Thing 1 cries)

Daddy: Stop it!!! Walk away from each other right now! Stand at opposite ends of the living room and do not so much as look at each other for two minutes!

(Again, the house falls silent)

Thing 1: (quietly) Daddy?

Daddy: WHAT?!

Thing 1: I'm sorry.

Thing 2: Me too.

Daddy: That's OK. Just give me a couple minutes and I'll be right there.

Thing 1: OK.

Thing 2: OK.

Thing 1: Daddy?

Daddy: (sigh) What?

Thing 1: I have to go to the bathroom.

Thing 2: Me too.

Daddy: Me three.

PATRICK CANEDAY is dreading the day his daughters eventually read what he's written about them. He can be reached on Facebook, at and

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