Oh, I don’t mean “bathroom journaling” in the same way one keeps a journal about everything they ate over a certain period of time, except in this case, they’d jot down – well you know what they’re jotting down! In
our Gaby’s case, this is more along the lines of using the time in the loo to write about what ever pops into her head. When I say “what ever pops in to her head” I really mean that in the broadest sense possible!
How did I discover that my youngest offspring is utilizing her time in the little girl’s room to jot down great ponderings from her view of the Universe? I went into Gareth’s bathroom (which is really just the bathroom that’s adjoined the the master bedroom. He uses it predominantly more often than I do so I just refer to it as his. I don’t know why I use the other bathroom more often. I decorated it with pink and brown colors for Gaby, but for some reason, it’s usually where I end up) to filch a roll of toilet paper because as I was about to sit down in the pink and brown bathroom, I noticed there was no toilet paper! Good thing I noticed before I sat down! Anyhow I was in there to grab a roll and I happened to notice a little black and white notebook on the floor with a pen laid across the top of it. I picked it up and opened it and started to read. When it became apparent that it was a journal of sorts, a journal that belonged to my daughter, I took it into her bedroom and put it on her desk, assuming that’s where it belonged.
Yesterday when I picked her up from summer camp I let her know that she left her journal in the bathroom and that I put it on her desk. After she clicked her seat-belt into place she told me,
“Oh, mom, no, that’s supposed to be in the bathroom. It stays there. I write when I’m in there, ’cause you know sometimes it takes me a while and then I get these great ideas and I don’t have anything to write on and you can’t really write on toilet paper because it tears super easy. Plus, a person just notices more when they’re sitting there thinking about things. “
I thought about it for a moment and sort of considered the fact that she was writing while using the loo and wondered about just exactly where she should leave her journal?
I looked in the rear-view mirror and then told her, “Well OK, I guess if you’re going to write in there, make sure you put the journal and the pen in the cabinet over the toilet. And you know, always wash your hands. Maybe you should swipe the pen and the cover of the journal with a sanitizing wipe, just because, well, you’re in the loo when you’re using it. Germs. That sort of thing. By the way, aren’t you still writing in your other journals or the diary with the lock we got you for Christmas?“
Gaby rolled her eyes before replying, “Mom, of course I wash my hands, sheesh! Yeah I still write in my other journals. I have one for my mermaid vampire book. One for fashion ideas. One where I write about my friends at school or summer camp, and one where I just write silly stuff, but for some reason I just get really good ideas when I’m in the bathroom. Did you read by bathroom journal? What did you think of my ideas? Don’t you think it’s crazy that your mom-hair shampoo and conditioner smells better than my shampoo for curly hair? Oh and what about putting stuff to read on toilet paper, you know for kids? It would help them read, especially if they’re in there for a while. Or pictures. Yeah, they should really put pictures on toilet paper for kids who are little and learning to use the potty! Oh and I wrote about that really smelly bathroom soap at that one place we stopped in Massachusetts the other day, you remember that place? They had the worst smelling soap ever. It smelled like feet. Remember, I put my hands under your nose after I came out? Did you read the other stuff I wrote?“
“Well, nope, I didn’t. It looked like a journal so I didn’t think you’d want me to read it.“ I replied, still trying to make a mental note of “Toilet Paper Story Books” and if it would even be possible to fit one of Winnie the Pooh’s stories on a roll of paper, and then the pun hit me, Winnie the Pooh and my inner 11-year-old boy started snickering at it. Gaby told me that once we got home, she wanted me to read the journal and see if I could help her with any of her ideas. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure I should read it before I finished cooking dinner, or after.
By the time we got home, she had forgotten about the bathroom journal until of course, nature called. From the bathroom I hear her shout, “Mom! I need my journal! I told you it’s a bathroom journal, it stays in here!“
After nearly killing myself by tripping over Barbie dolls and Lego’s that were strategically placed in her bedroom to thwart intruders and parents alike (she saw something on TV recently about an increase in home invasions and decided to take it upon herself to make her bedroom less appealing for burglars looking to get away with whatever they thought worth taking, from her room). I’m assuming she thinks these same burglars are going to be barefoot, because believe me, they’d risk the loss of limb or at the very least a foot, trying to navigate the landmine that is my daughter’s bedroom floor!) in order to retrieve the bathroom journal, I walked into the loo and handed it to her. Gaby took the journal and pen and then told me I really needed to “ . . . write on your blog about this, it’s a really great idea. Maybe we can make our own line of cute bathroom journals!”
“I’m not too sure the idea of bathroom journaling is going to be as popular with my friends as you think it is. Finish and get out of here please, so I can put your hair up before bed.“
Gaby wasn’t satisfied with my response. She went on to insist that I tell you all about what a great thing it is to be able to just write about whatever you want, while you’re in the bathroom, and because everyone has a cell phone, you could just use that, but that I’m the meanest mom ever and won’t let her have a cell phone and that I didn’t realize that I’d be saving money by not having to buy her journals, and instead she could just open up a note in her cell phone. Then she went to tell me that I’m even meaner because I won’t let her use the iPod in the bathroom. I’m obviously going to have to go over the grossness of using one’s cell phone, or iPod while using the toilet. Before I turned to leave the bathroom she gave it one more shot,
“Mom, really, I’d take really really good care of a cell phone.“
I replied, “Oh really? Can you tell me where your iPod is right this very minute?“
Gaby looked out the bathroom window for a minute and then said,
“I don’t know, probably somewhere in my room?“
I laughed and then told her,
“Nope. Sorry, it’s not somewhere in your room. It is however, under Geronimo’s butt. He’s sitting on top of it.”
Insistent on keeping the argument going, she rallied on,
“Mom! See! Now it’s got ‘Nimo’s butt germs on it. GROSS! That wouldn’t happen if you’d let me bring it in here with me. I could write my stories and thoughts in it! Oh, I’m going to need another journal soon. This one is almost full.“
Getting frustrated with the argument and wanting to get her out of the bathroom and into bed, in exasperation I said,
“Use toilet paper!“
That seemed to end the argument regarding “electronics/handhelds in the bathroom” and the need for a cell phone at only 7 1/2 years old. It did not however stem the discussion over the merits of bathroom journaling. Gaby was, and still is determined to get me on board with floating her idea in front of “someone” who can make it happen. She thinks that everyone should have a bathroom journal! She even told me she was going to call “Those shark people on TV” and see if they’ll help her sell her bathroom journals. At first I thought she was talking about the Shark Steam Cleaner people, you know, these folks. No! She was talking about these “sharks” . . . the multimillionaires who have a show on ABC where they listen to pitches from potential inventors/business owners in an attempt to get the sharks to invest in their companies. We’ve watched the show a few times, together as a family, but I didn’t think it was anything that would register on any long-term level with Gaby. Boy, was I wrong! Gaby really believes that putting little journals into packages of toilet paper would be “the coolest thing, ever!” She says if she can’t make that happen (but she’s “absolutely positive for sure” she can!) then she’s even more determined to figure out how to get books onto rolls of toilet paper.
I don’t know where she comes up with most of her ideas, but after spending a little while reading her “bathroom journal”, I’m pretty sure there are more little “idea babies” as she calls them, forming by the minute. Here are just a few of the things she thinks about (shared with her full permission . . . even encouragement) while in the bathroom:
“I think it’s kind of funny when Geronimo follows me into the bathroom. He just sort of falls over on the floor. He gets really upset if I don’t let him in here with me, but when he does get in, he just sort of flops or sits there and watches me. I wonder if he thinks people look funny sitting on a toilet because cats have to dig and then go potty? I wonder if he ever pictures people using a litter box?”
“My mom has so much stuff in here. When I grow up I guess I’m going to need a really big bathroom if I have to have all this stuff. She has stuff for when her monthly visitor comes, and stuff to wash her face, and stuff to make her hair big and then some bad smelling stuff to make her hair flat. That’s pretty crazy.”
“I just tasted my mom’s toothpaste and then tasted mine. Mine definitely tastes better. Mine is like bubble gum and fruit and hers just tastes like the blue stuff she sprays on the counters. Why do adults put stuff like that in their mouths? Bubble gum is much better I think!”
“I have to use my dad’s bathroom today because mom is cleaning mine. There’s nothing to do in here so I’ll taste his toothpaste. It’s worse than mom’s and it has something that feels like sand in it. I think he needs to take it back to the store and tell them that someone dropped it in the dirt and get a new tube.”
“Mom bought some new soap that smells like baby puke. She said it didn’t smell like that in the store and now she doesn’t know what to do with it. Well, that’s easy. Throw it in the trash.”
“Geronimo and Gracie smell each others butts all the time. It makes me feel like I’m going to throw up if I see them do this. I saw some dogs do it when we went to the newfie rescue. Mom says it’s how they say hello. I told her I thought it would be lots less gross if they just went up and barked or meowed at each other.”
“I tried to draw some pictures on the toilet paper with my markers. That’s not very easy to do. It tears the paper. I tried to write on the toilet paper with a pen too. That tears the paper too. I think it would be fun to have stories to read on toilet paper but I don’t know how they would get them to stick on the paper.”
“I wonder if they had toilet paper when dad was a little boy? I wonder if he had electricity? I think it would be hard to go to the bathroom without lights and toilet paper.”
“They need to make more comfortable toilet seats. Maybe put some cushions on them. This one is very hard. It would be cool if they made them in better colors too. Maybe mom will let me paint this one pink.”
“I really think Justin Bieber is dumb.”
I’m still not convinced that “bathroom journaling” will ever take off the way Gaby wants it to, but I’ve gotta give the kid credit for trying!