The Horrifying Thing That Happened In My Kids' Preschool Bathroom

by Cara Cerutti Holmes
Originally Published: 

There’s something truly obnoxious about Mondays.

The day has a natural gravitational pull towards traumatic events and terrible misfortunes. There is more traffic, more spilt coffee, more ER visits, calls in ‘sick’ to work and “Mom, I forgot my Starbucks gift card for ladies’ latte lunch and our award winning Pomeranian ate my homework” texts, than any other day of the week. And if you have kids – you are nodding your head in agreement – that it’s the toughest day to get those rug-rats out the door (bellies full, hair brushed, matching socks and two shoes).

Forget being on time – just forget it.

I knew I always hated Mondays.

The following tale will officially solidify my theory that I had some seriously toxic karma waiting to be collected. On a Monday.

7:27: Awake in a panic. No alarm.

I haven’t used an alarm since before my three year old was – well – born. Why would I need to be serenaded by the gradually progressing waterfall of the Amazon (courtesy of my cracked iPhone) at a seemingly decent hour – when I can sleep with one eye open on the verge of an hourly heart attack from random toddler screams for water and extra hugs?

Of course. This is the only day of the week my children decide to sleep in.

Sheer cruelty.

18 minutes till all cargo must be loaded and ready for launch.

7:55: Late


Tantrum erupts with my eldest, over the stained collared shirt and now capri pants, I’ve meticulously chosen from the massive laundry pile on the master bedroom floor.

“FINE! Wear your Ninja Turtle pajamas to school. I don’t care!” Decide to tell his teacher it was ‘Super Hero’ day at home in an apparent attempt to appear organized.

Grab turtle shell.

Race to make lunch. Pack gym bag. Stuff backpack. Pull baby away from cereal prematurely. Tears commence. I have 8 princess shoes. Not one matching pair. Cradle baby lovingly (like a football) and notice fragrant aroma from newly changed diaper. 3 more minutes lost.

Load helpless cargo. Two five point harnesses that never seem to equally tighten. LATE. LATE. LATE.

8:15: Return to house for forgotten sippy-cup.

8:17: Return to house for forgotten composition book and critical baby blanket that holds the magical power to stop ANY fussing (with a side dosage of stank from being dragged all over our little town)


8:50: Arrive at school. FINALLY. Only 20 minutes late. I feel the agonizing shame associated with past generations of Naval leaders silently rolling their eyes.

Parental bombardment “Miss Cara! My daughter LOVES your ballet class on Wednesdays! We are SO happy to have you teach here! Can’t wait to see where the year takes us.”

Check-in. Hugs. Tears. Runny noses. Pure chaos.

Eldest has disappeared into his bi-lingual classroom. “Buenos Dias Maeson!”

Temporary peace.

THEN. S*&T. Happens.

My stomach has been churning and rumbling since breakfast. I have no idea why (sarcasm). I only lost my coffee cup three times, re-heated five, and savored four pieces of crispy bacon in between diapers and disasters, with a hearty side of Advil.

I can no longer ignore this obnoxious internal orchestra. I ask myself if I can make it to the gym 6 blocks away.

I quickly grab my daughter and race to the bathroom.

The bathroom, where, while teaching my ballet lesson, I’ve witnessed an entire class spend 20 minutes schooled in potty ‘etiquette’. Only the playground gets more attention than this pre-school bathroom with five adorable mini person’s toilets.

I strategically choose the last stall against the farthest wall. I stabled my newly walking daughter up against the painted mural on the wall, like a newborn fawn – hoping to get at least one minute of privacy


NOTE: When you’re a mom, you learn to do EVERYTHING fast. You eat fast. You drink fast (especially wine). You make phone calls fast. And you SH&*T fast.

Business done. Good to go.

Flush toilet.

Flush toilet.



Hear the all too familiar sound of an empty water tank.

Panic takes hold. Hear Maeson’s class start to line up for “potty time.”

Think fast. Maybe something is disconnected in the tank. Remove lid. No idea what I’m even looking at. For the first time in my life, I regret I didn’t study Engineering, or learn to change a tire, or pay attention in High School Physics. I have no idea if these things would even make a difference in this life altering moment, but I kick myself anyways. I run to the other mini-stalls and rip off the tank lids. Comparison. Maybe I can fix the mysterious broken widget by comparing it to the working widget (this is one of the only things I remember from business school). Remind myself I’m late on student loans.


I now see that the painted Bambi has failed me and my daughter is now crawling under the stall doors and playing hide and seek.

I wish I could disappear.

I’m at a complete loss. While I pride myself in my ability to find a solution to ANY problem – the “problem” in the toilet is NOT going away.

Pick up my daughter from stall #2 and make our way towards the bathroom exit. The school Director suddenly appears at the doorway. I’m afraid my heart is going to jump out of my chest.

I recognize the stench from stall #5 is starting to travel. Run. Run far far away.

“Adam?” I non-suspiciously inquire, “Is there a problem with the last toilet?”

“Oh yes! It’s completely broken, waiting to get it fixed. Isn’t there a sign and tape covering the lid?

“No. No there is NOT”

“No worries! I’ll make sure no one uses it” he says cheerfully and turns towards his office to grab duct tape to mark off the area (which he has no idea is now a crime scene).

Now, I was raised Catholic, and taught to tell the truth, or stew in guilt.

Split second decision…

I have two kids, I don’t have time to swing by the Church for an midday confession.

Shrouded in pure panic “Adam. I used that toilet.”

“It’s ok. I’ll take care of it.”


I witness a terrible scene. The poor man’s eyes glaze over when he sees the damage.

I stumble away, head hung low, absolutely mortified. Helpless.

I am stunned. How did this happen? What do I do?

So I do the only thing I can do – call my mum, sister and husband (in that order of assumed sympathy). While my support system laughs like hyenas at my “shitty” story, and eloquently reminds me of the Dumb & Dumber scene that gracefully mimics my own, I realize I still have to face my boss. Who cleaned up my S*&$.

12:45: School pick-up.

The. Walk. Of. Shame.

I have since discovered there is a ‘teacher / adult’ bathroom.

Salt to the wound.

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