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"Seed, I'm a Problem Solver"

I was sitting on the toilet. Isn't that how all good stories start? Ok, I never said I was a contender for a Pulitzer, but just bear with me.

"Seed?" my daughter called from somewhere outside the master bedroom. "Seed?"

For a period of about two years between the ages of 8 and 10, my daughter called me Seed. The origin of the name is for another time and another post. But I was called Seed multiple times a day for months on end. Not Mama, Mom, Mommy...but Seed. Sometimes Seedling, if I was being buttered up for a request for something.

"Seed? I need you!" It wasn't a call of pain or fear. But there was a definite urgency in the timbre of her voice that caught my attention.

"What's up, hon?" I yelled from the porcelain throne I was perched upon.

"Can you bring me some toilet paper?"

"Ok, hon. But I'm in the bathroom too. Just give me a sec" I yelled. I finished up my business and headed out the door, down the hall and I promptly tripped over our North American House Hippo.

(More commonly known as an obese chihuahua.)

The fall was in slow motion and I tried to catch myself by grabbing a wall or door frame, but succeeded only in prolonging my noisy and graceless acrobatic routine; which ended in an award-winning face-plant. (Even the Russian judge would have given me at least a 9.8!) Nailed it!

I landed awkwardly and painfully on the dog's water bowl. As I lay on the floor trying to determine exactly which parent had cursed me with my tragic sense of balance, I could feel wetness from the water bowl seeping in through my shorts. Oh great! So I'm clumsy, graceless, wounded AND wet!

My unsympathetic canine had now situated herself atop my chest in an apparent attempt to either suffocate me or declare my breasts as her new, squishy bed.

After I caught my breath and assessed my injuries, I pulled myself up and grabbed a towel. I wiped up the evidence of my adventure and refilled the water bowl. The wounds I suffered were thankfully minimal. But I knew I would have some purple and black war wounds for the next several days. I threw on a dry pair of yoga pants to go with my stained "Harvard Alumni (just kidding)" shirt.

Now, where was I going before my barbaric ballet routine? Oh my gosh! Rylee! She's still waiting for toilet paper!

My daughter's bathroom had extra toilet paper stored in two places. One place could be reached easily from the seat. But, if she called me for help, the cupboard must have been empty. Which meant I would have to bring in the small step stool to reach the top shelf above the dryer where the remainder of our stash was stored.

As I headed into the kitchen to grab the stool, I passed my daughter's room and saw her on her bed. I stopped in my tracks, confused.

"Oh," I said. "Did you find a roll?"

Without even turning around she said, "No."

I paused and squinted my eyes, trying to determine how the problem had been solved. "Did you go pee?" I asked.

Again, no eye contact as she continued sorting the contents of her plastic purse. "Yes," she said. "And poo."

I squinted more, various scenarios flashing through my mind. "So you didn't wipe?" I asked, imagining the worst possible case scenario.

At that point, she was clearly out of patience with my Law & Order interrogation and she exhaled heavily and put down her purse. She turned and finally made eye-contact with me. "Seed," she said reassuringly. "I'm a problem solver. Everything's fine."

Her statement was intended to terminate the conversation. But as any mother would, I required more information. I was horrified thinking that a problem involving human excrement had been unsatisfactorily solved to my germophobic standards and I tentatively planned to Clorox the entire bathroom.

"Rylee?" I said, my voice deepening to convey my impending outburst. "Did you wipe?"

"Of course," she replied, annoyed that I would even imply that she would fail to do so.

I did a quick, mental inventory of items within reach of the toilet. Towels. Cotton balls. A rug?

"Rylee?" I asked again. "What did you wipe with?"

Hoping to end the conversation once and for all, my exasperated daughter turned her entire body toward me and explained. "Well, you know that brown thing that holds the toilet paper?" she asked.

"Yes..." I said slowly.

"Welp," she replied. "I used that."

Now, our house is on the older side and if there's been one never-ending problem during my twenty-plus years living there, it's been the plumbing. My blood began to percolate. "You flushed cardboard down the toilet?" I yelped, getting ready to run for the plunger that I used so frequently it was molded to the shape of my hands.

"No!" she scoffed and looked at me like I was a complete idiot. "I wouldn't do that."

I breathed a sigh of relief and got ready to turn out of her room, when the little cartoon devil that lives on my left shoulder whispered in my ear. "So what did she do with it?" he hissed with an evil drawl.

I echoed my companion's question and Rylee quipped, "Seed, I told you I'm a problem solver!" She was clearly frustrated with my lack of faith in her problem resolution skills. "I threw it in the trash can. Duh!"

Trying to wrap my mind around the amount of decontamination that would be required, I slowly growled, "Oh my God! You put a piece of cardboard, covered with poop into the bathroom trashcan?"

Her attention had returned to the task of organizing her collection of coins, lip balms and Happy Meal toys neatly in her purse. "No," she said from over her shoulder. "I wrapped it up."

Fearing for the life of my extra-soft guest towels, I asked the only remaining question with trepidation. "Rylee, what did you wrap it in?"

Without missing a beat, she replied. "I wrapped it in a Kleenex from the box by the sink."

Yep, that's my kid!

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