Local mother Rachel Nelson, 28, is by all accounts a fairly normal woman. She has two young children, she has a decent repertoire of songs (though sadly, none about police helicopters), and she is adept at putting on underwear and opening boxes of raisins. But appearances can be deceiving.
This morning, Nelson simply got up, left her 24-hour mothering job, and walked into the bathroom. Alone.
“I just don’t understand it,” sobbed Sylvia Nelson, 11 months, speaking through an interpreter, “I love her. More than anything in the world. She loves me too. And yet–she chose the bathroom over time she could have spent holding me?”
Her older brother Peregrine, 3, is also perplexed.
“People like to be with people,” he explained, “We do things together. It’s part of human nature. We share our experiences. It’s not the going to the bathroom thing that got me. I mean, everybody has to go potty once in a while, right? It’s the fact that she just up and went, alone. She invited no one to go with her.”
We asked if Peregrine ever desired to use the bathroom alone.
“No, never!” he exclaimed, and then added, “Well, of course I don’t want Sylvia in with me. If I hear her even crawling in the direction of the door, I scream. Usually I stand by the door and hold it shut while screaming until my mom picks Sylvia up. Not that I can do that now that I’ve ripped the door out of its hinges. Now I just scream. But, I’m getting off track, as usual. This has nothing to do with Sylvia and me. Never would I ever shut my mother out of the bathroom, unless I was planning on eating soap or dismantling a toilet paper roll. A mother-son relationship is nothing like a brother-sister relationship. They’re different entities entirely. Mothers and sons want to be together. They do things together.”
We asked Sylvia the same question. Does she ever use the bathroom alone?
“No!” she responded, “Never! And I just really don’t understand it. I mean, she’s still got a lap when she’s sitting on the toilet, right?”
Did they hear from their mother, or was there simply the sound of terrifying silence?
“Oh, she called to us,” Sylvia responded, “She was all like, hey, Sylvia, I’m still here, I love you, I’ll be back in a second. What on earth does she mean, still here? Way off in the bathroom is not still here. That’s, like, in another country. If I can’t get there in five seconds of fast crawling, that does not qualify as still here.”
“We’re not actually sure it was her,” Peregrine confessed in a low voice, “It could have just been a tape recorder. She was saying really generic things–’I’m still here’ and the like. When I asked her a question about police monster camper firetrucks driving through rocks, she claimed she ‘couldn’t understand me’ because I ‘wasn’t talking loud enough.’ It was just really canned and rote sounding. I didn’t want to scare Sylvia, so I didn’t say anything, but inside I was like, that is not my mother. My mother knows everything. She gives me detail, not one-liners that make no sense.”
When asked if their mother had left the door open, or deliberately shut them out, Peregrine and Sylvia were quick to reply that she had, indeed, left all avenues of entrance and exit available for their use.
“But that’s not the point,” Peregrine insisted, “The point is that she went at all. Sure, she left the door open, but if she had truly welcomed our company, she would have invited us to go with her. She would have come into the room where we were both playing peacefully, and said, hey, I’m going to the bathroom, who wants to come sit on my lap and discuss the elimination process with me? It’s not like she has a problem interrupting our play–she’s quick to do it if it’s nap time or dinner time or something. Why not now? It’s just really fishy.”
“I knew she was there,” Sylvia added, “I crawled, I don’t know, ten whole feet maybe? in the direction she’d gone. But I couldn’t see her, it was so confusing. So I just put my head down and wailed. Then Peregrine put a pillow on my head.”
When Nelson returned, she simply acted as though nothing had occurred.
“She just walked back out and was like, hey, P, what are you holding? And I was like, a lego, because it was. And then she started talking to me about fire trucks. It was a total distraction tactic, and it really made me suspicious. What was she hiding in there? Does she eat ice cream or something? It’s not like I would have bothered her, in there with her. We would have talked, had good fellowship. I would have peered in the toilet and asked her about it. Totally normal stuff. I don’t know what she’s afraid of.”
And how did Sylvia feel about seeing her mother after her long absence?
“I love her!” Sylvia exclaimed, “She’s just–the best! I mean, she’s soft, she’s funny, she’s the coolest person in the world except Peregrine, she has all these magic ways of getting stuff down and making food come out of boxes, and she even makes her own milk. I just–I don’t know what to say, I love my mom.”
We are currently monitoring Mrs. Nelson to see if this was merely an out-of-character mistake in judgment, or if there are deeper neurological imbalances causing her unorthodox behavior. Meanwhile, everything seems back to normal–for the time being.
You can thank Rachel over at Learning Mothering for this great humor piece.