Teaching My Kids Their ABC’s and TPAs (toilet paper awareness)


What are the chances that three bathrooms, in one house,
can all have empty toilet paper rolls at the same time?


In my house?
100 percent.

If the reason for this amazing TP trifecta was a distinct lack of toilet paper-ness, I might understand how something like this could happen. But this is what it looks like under the bathroom sink in each of our bathrooms:


I have to assume that in some way, this is my fault. When my kids were little, I must have forgotten to teach them how to recognize when the toilet paper roll is, in fact, empty, and what to do when it is. In the absence of this critical information, I guess they were unable to figure it out on their own and are now, and will forever be dependent on me to follow them through life replacing their toilet paper.

Although I realized I had failed them in this area, I wondered if it might not be too late to remedy this deficit in their upbringing. I know that some skills, like a second language, take hold better when you learn them young. But I thought it might be possible to at least get the kids to the point where they could recognize that the roll is done, and maybe actually throw it out, even if they are not able to take that next step and put a new roll on.

Of course, in my neighborhood, one doesn’t actually need to have a supply of toilet paper under the sink in order to have an abundance of toilet paper at the ready, as evidenced by this photo:


But since this particular toilet paper supply is only available one week each year, and you would have to dash outside to access it, I thought it was worth the effort to get my kids to learn how to deal with empty toilet paper rolls in the bathroom.

Confident that they were ready for this big step, I gathered the troops in one of the bathrooms.

“What is this?” I asked them, holding up an empty cardboard toilet paper roll.

“It is a Doot Tube,” said my daughter authoritatively.

“A what?” I wondered.

She took the roll from me and held it up to her mouth. “Doot-di-doo!” she bleated through the roll, announcing the arrival of a visiting king or perhaps the Toilet Paper delivery man.

“OK, yes, it is a Doot Tube,” I sighed. “But before it was a Doot Tube, what was it?”

They both looked at me blankly.

“A TOILET PAPER ROLL!” I exclaimed.

“Well, duh,” said the kids.

“Good!” I praised. “You know that it used to be a toilet paper roll. You will notice that it no longer has any toilet paper on it, right?”

They nodded.

“That means that now it is…”

More blank stares.

“EMPTY! It is empty, right?” I declared.

They nodded.

I was thrilled. I could see we were on the right track. We were truly in striking distance of empty toilet paper roll awareness. All I needed to do was make the final connection. I took a deep breath.

“OK,” I said. “So when you see an empty toilet paper roll, what do you do with it?”

Seconds passed. A bead of sweat started to form on my brow. I could see the kids thinking. Thinking.

“What do you do with an empty roll of toilet paper?” I asked again.

My daughter suddenly beamed with understanding.

“You turn it into a Doot Tube!”

©2011, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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