Potty Time, Part 2 or Mommy-Bathroom Paradox Explained

In my last post  in which I discussed my bathroom habits, namely the lack of them and the reason why a sample sized tube of fancy cosmetic cream can last me all year, I neglected to tell you about the ‘Penny Effect.’  The Penny Effect is a contributing factor to the Mommy-Bathroom Paradox.

Let me explain.

If you are familiar with the TV show The Big Bang Theory, you are well aware of Sheldon’s ritualized compulsion of knocking on his neighbour, Penny’s door, and calling her name.  The pattern goes like this:

Knock, knock, knock, Penny!

Knock, knock, knock, Penny!

Knock, knock, knock, Penny!

Here is a YouTube clip for your education and entertainment.

In a classic pairing of stimulus-response and a compulsive behaviour pattern loop, Penny’s door is the cue Sheldon that causes him to knock in a ritualized pattern.  Let me tell you, I feel Penny’s pain.

In my world:

the bathroom door closed + Mommy inside it = Mommy-Bathroom Paradox

Due to the Penny Effect, I live in Mommy-Bathroom Paradox.

It is this: all could be quiet – kids occupied, cats fed, Hubby busy, but the moment I step into the bathroom and close the door, all heck breaks loose.  Usually, all heck attempts to enter the bathroom with me, thus devoiding me of the few minutes of peace and quiet I’ve been craving.

It looks like this:

I sit down on the toilet and one of the dogs and two of the cats decide now is a great time barge into the bathroom and beg for food, since I am completely unoccupied and can instantly meet their loud demands.  (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)  The cats circle my feet, meowing loudly while the dog stares at me, panting.  Umm, sorry to break it to you, but there is no food in the bathroom.  Nor am I going to get up from the toilet at that instant and feed you. 

On days when Hubby is with the kids – I am trying to get ready and want to do something other than the ‘I washed my face with a babywipe look’ and am actually spending a few minutes on primping – I hear a tiny knock.  Then the voice of Little Miss Adorable, calling, “MAAAWWW – meee!”  Great, she found me.  Then I hear a scuffling sound and the squeak of a pacifier.  Baby Dunk has me cornered too.

I race to wash my face and apply some eye shadow to deflect attention from the bags under my eyes.  I slather on concealer and scramble to find my hair brush.  Where did it go?  Oh, that’s right, Mr. Sensitive used it as a troll’s club last night.  On cue, the lights go out.  Then on, then off-on-off-on-off-on-off.  Mr. Sensitive thinks it’s great fun to turn the lights on and off while someone’s in the washroom.

So my ‘me time’ sounds like this:

tiny knock, MAAAWWW – meee! scuffle, scuffle, suck, squeak, suck.  tiny knock, MAAAWWW – meee! scuffle, scuffle, suck, squeak, suck.  tiny knock, MAAAWWW – meee! scuffle, scuffle, suck, squeak, suck MAAAWWW – meee!

All while the lights flash on-off-on-off-on-off like a nightclub strobe light.

Seizure-producing, yes.  Restful, spa-like experience, no.

I’m not sure where Hubby is at this point, but he is supposed to be watching the kids.  Instead, I’m watching them through the bathroom door.

Then I hear a louder knock at the bathroom door, “Hey Hon, check *this out!”

*this can be anything from the latest clip from YouTube, a pair of socks that don’t match, or some cute pose he’s put the kids into and then taken a photo of.  Either way, it can wait.

I ignore *this statements and steal a few more minutes blissfully alone, with my entire family gathered outside the bathroom door.

I lose it when I hear Hubby call:

Honey, have you seen my *stuff?

*stuff refers to Hubby’s baseball cap, socks, underwear, pants, shirt or any other item his ADHD mind did not put back where it belongs (like I told him to so many times before).


That is the Mommy-Bathroom Paradox.  Episodes replayed daily.


Dear Family,

There is no escape hatch from the bathroom through which I could vanish, nor is there a portal to another dimension (I wish).  I will not be leaving the bathroom through any door but the one I came in through.   You can wait until then.  Preferable NOT outside the bathroom door! 

xo, Mommy


About Angela

Super-powered, Special Ed teacher and special needs mama to FOUR (!) children with an assortment of special needs; including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Prader Willi Syndrome. Our family features a heavy dose of good ol' ADHD). I blog about our halfpastnormal life.
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2 Responses to Potty Time, Part 2 or Mommy-Bathroom Paradox Explained

  1. LOL! I’m sure every mother can relate. My daughter will sit outside the door and stick her hands under the door until I’m finished. I’ve at least learned my lesson and started locking the door now.

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