Mom's time-out is too nerve wracking

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

I just wanted a LITTLE break. Not that 'me time' that is so fashionable these days, just a bathroom break. Can't a grown woman go to the bathroom alone and have 15 minutes of peace and not have a nervous breakdown?

Mistake number one: I went to the bathroom and did not take my three-year old with me. I didn't want to play twenty questions about Mommy's bodily functions and, quite frankly, I get stage fright.

So I tiptoed down the hall to my room to use my bathroom. (I never use the main bathroom. That's the one the kids use and, unless we have company, it's in no state for the faint of heart. Truly gross things happen in there and I try not to guess how. I just don a suit like those people from the Center for Disease Control wear and hose it down with bleach once a week.)

Success! I'd made a clean get away without my son noticing. He'd finally landed (literally) on a pile of toys and seemed to be settled for the moment. It's a rarity with him and, mistake number two, I was foolish to think it would last. He has the attention span of a gerbil on speed.

The first thing I heard was the sound of heavy furniture moving. In no position to hurry, I bellowed through the walls that separated me from my child. "What are you doing out there?"

There was a moment of silence and then I heard a tinkling sound. Was that glass?

"What's going on out there?" More silence. More sounds of heavy furniture moving.

What is he DOING? He's only three and barely weighs as much as a paperweight. I heard the rustling of what sounded like a rather large brush on the laminate floor...something that sounded rather suspiciously like the Christmas tree being moved.

Mistake number three: I panicked and my son knew it. He heard it in my scream.

I heard little cowboy-booted feet running from the kitchen to the living room and down the hall to a room that he KNOWS he's not supposed to go into. The door slammed.

There were tense moments of utter silence punctuated by me bellowing my son's name and then straining to hear what he was up to. No answer.

I rushed like a fireman on call. I barreled out of the room and there he stood with the biggest, cheekiest grin on his face. A cursory scope of the house revealed nothing out of the ordinary. And still there was that big grin on his face.

"What have you been up to?"


Forget Mom's time-out. I just can't take it.