Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Elf On The Shelf Is Back...And Causing Mischief For One Family

Dear Tazi:

My husband is driving my crazy with his bathroom toilet seat antics! “Fred” has a bad habit of leaving the toilet seat and cover in the up position after use. I have told him that this is gross and unattractive for several reasons: it is unsanitary; it allows the dog to have a drink from his own private “wet bar”; and it tells people exactly what he was doing in there (#1 or #2) based upon the position of the seat. Fred just laughs off my reasoning.

I have tried putting a fancy, rug cover on top of the cover to weigh it down, so it will eventually close on its own, but Fred keeps taking it off and hiding it in various places around the house (last time, I found the cat sleeping in it!). I have tried a cute, embroidered sign that states “Put down the seat, ladies present! A wet behind is most unpleasant!” but Fred refuses to take the hint. Instead, he hung my bikini bottom from the towel rack with a note about “going swimming”.

Fred thinks his antics are funny, but they wear thin very quickly. It is his latest antics that have sent me over the top. Fred decided to dig through the Christmas decorations and pull out our two-year-old daughter’s Elf on the Shelf. Can you see where this is going, Tazi? Thus far, I have caught “Sparkle” holding a fishing pole over the bowl; sitting on the edge of the bowl and wearing a tiny SCUBA mask (Fred found it among my scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies); lounging on the edge of the bowl with a washcloth “beach towel” and more of my beach-themed scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies, including a tiki bar!

The final straw came this morning when I discovered the entire toilet seat missing and Sparkle sitting on the top of the tank, holding a ransom note that demanded “sexy time for Fred” before the seat would be returned. I thank Heavens my daughter is too young to read! Speaking of my daughter, she finds her “Elf’s” behavior to be hysterical and looks forward to seeing what he will do next. I am a busy Mom, and do not have the time to start Elf on the Shelf throughout the year traditions! I do not wish for Fred’s antics to set this precedent. I do want for Fred to start acting like a responsible adult and put the toilet seat and cover down when he is done using it! Do you have any ideas on how to make this happen, Tazi?

All Wet

Dear All Wet:

Your daughter named a boy elf “Sparkle”? Do the other elves tease him about this? I’m sorry; this news just sent me a bit off track…on track to your issue – before the Elf “rears” his head again!

The time and effort that Fred is putting into the creativity he is using to annoy you tells me that this issue is more about having the upper hand and less about the placement of the toilet seat. I have to admit your “private ‘wet bar’” comment gave me a giggle, so I can only imagine how much it amused your husband. I am picturing the tiki bar scene now and wondering if I can somehow incorporate a more sanitary version into my family’s Elf traditions.

You are correct in saying that a closed toilet lid is more sanitary. With every flush, droplets of toilet water can spray up to 13 feet – which means your toothbrush might be getting doused with toilet water. Depending on how often you clean/freshen your bowl, you may be getting more than just water on your toiletries. Even if you clean the bowl regularly and use an in-tank germicide, these chemicals will be in the water and entering your pooch’s system every time he takes a drink from his “private ‘wet bar’”. Plus, you do have a point that nobody wants to know what was last occurring behind the closed bathroom door. Personally, I bury my waste so nobody can see what I was doing; humans have a toilet seat lid and a flush to cover evidence of their bodily functions. Both should be used accordingly. This is my ruling on the matter; now onto Fred and his sophomoric but amusing behavior.

It is obvious that Fred does not like to be told what to do; it is also obvious that Fred is enjoying the attention his antics are getting him. Child psychologists sometimes refer to what they call the rule of the broken cookie: to a child, a broken cookie is better than no cookie at all. So it is with attention, with negative attention being better than no attention at all. It appears that your husband is seeking your attention and is doing it in the only way he knows how – by teasing you. By getting to the root of your toilet seat problem you will be able to solve the much bigger issue of why your husband is feeling neglected (the ransom request for “sexy time” leads me to believe he is feeling ignored).

Being the mother of a two-year-old is a very hard and exhausting job and having to clean up after a husband does not make this job any easier. How involved is Fred in your daughter’s life? It is obvious that he enjoys amusing her. Perhaps he could take on some of the chores that involve raising your daughter in order to give you a break – her bath, getting her dressed, assisting with her meals can all be made fun and amusing while freeing you up to do something else, even if that something else is doing absolutely nothing for 20 minutes.

Once you have been relieved of some of the stresses of being a busy Mom, you may feel less resentment towards my next suggestion: put the toilet seat down yourself. Once you change your response to Fred’s behavior, he may start to change his behavior. Every time you see the seat up, pause to ask yourself, “Is this the biggest problem in my marriage?” If the answer is yes, consider yourself blessed and think of all the reasons you love your husband. Then calmly and politely remind him that two-year-olds like to throw stuff like cell phones and TV remotes into the open toilet bowl.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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