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Getting to the bottom of a tall tale

Have I told you about my two little parrots? I’m sure I’ve mentioned them in an article or two — I have come to quite enjoy their antics, you know.

Have I told you about my two little parrots? I’m sure I’ve mentioned them in an article or two — I have come to quite enjoy their antics, you know.

These two little parrots reside in my home but once upon a time (at different times, of course) they set up residence in my uterus, which is probably why I can never manage to get too angry when they start in on their tricks.

“Um Mama?” Lars begins in a tentative, treading-softly sort of voice.

“Yes Lars,” I reply.

“So umm,” he pauses to gather his thoughts, “well I have some bad news.”

This is never something you want to hear come out of your six-year-old’s mouth. “So you know how sometimes the toilet gets plugged?”

“Yes I am aware of that,” I say, desperately hoping I’m not actually hearing the sound of drip drip dripping water in the background.

“Well,” another long pause, this time I’m sure because he does not know how to move forward in our conversation without getting in trouble. “Well, you see I didn’t realize it was plugged and, well, I flushed it.”

“OK,” I say in a long, hopeful and drawn out sort of way.

“Well the water started going up, and then up some more. …”

His eyes are wide now and I can see the pure pain the ordeal has caused the small human.

“And Mom, it suddenly just went flowing over the sides of the toilet! It was like a waterfall Mom and it just kept coming and coming!” He is using grandiose hand gestures now — a telltale tale sign that one is at the heart of a great story. I know I need to move. In truth, I should have been running towards the main bathroom as soon as he began telling me his restroom account. But it’s not really a restroom at the moment now is it? Seemingly, judging by my son’s version, I should begin gathering coupled flora and fauna, erecting a sea vessel and preparing to wait out a lengthy downpour. But perhaps in our specific case: we could call the trouble an outpour.

If I am about to walk in on that kind of flood I must have my wits about me. So I sit. I collect myself within the frame of a second or two. I cannot take longer than that because if I do I will have soggy floorboards to contend with and God knows what the contents of the seeping toilet water have in it. My son has managed to keep such details behind his yapping gums.

Husband, with clearly a snappier reaction time than I, grabs an armload of towels from the linen closet and with words that are appropriate for neither a day-writers description nor the ears of a child, stomps his way to the bathroom.

I follow close behind him in case he needs some assistance — it’s the least I can do. I never said I was good in these situations.

“What can I do? Is it as bad as Lars said?” I ask.

“There’s a lot of water — I just don’t understand how it could have came from the toilet. It is all under the sink and not even close to the toilet. I don’t think the floor slants that much.” This is an inside joke that we often mull over — referring to the shoddiness of our home’s structural integrity.

“Lars, are you sure it came from the toilet?” I ask, realizing both of the parrots are right behind me.

“Well …” and it is not long before I find out the truthful story of how delightfully mesmerizing it was to watch Sophie fill cups of water from the sink and dump them upon the floor.

So you must be wondering where the parrot part comes in — yes, often I call them parrots because unfortunately they seem to pick up on the less than lovely (albeit inspired) words I spit out in times of frustration.

However, I’ve also coined the phrase for the two because each day they exhibit another trait that I too can call my own. Some may call it fibbing, but when you do it with the kind of flair Lars had this evening, I can’t imagine naming it anything other than polished exaggeration — and hell, there are a lot worse things in this world than a good storyteller.

Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.