Cooper house caught up in paper caper

Published 12:03 am Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nearly 20 months ago when our daughter, Anna, was first born, Julie and I were given lots of advice.

All of the advice was welcomed, mind you, because we didn’t have a clue about the new parenting world in which we would soon find ourselves.

Most of the advice was well meaning and on point.

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Some of the tips wound up being inaccurate wives’ tales.

Among the best advice provided was to simply slow down and enjoy every moment of parenthood because children grow up so fast. The rate of growth is just amazing and is a testament to God’s amazing plan for our growth and development.

The myriad of other helpful advice was great.

But all of the excellent parenting advice fell short in one, key arena — toilet paper.

All of the great parents who offered suggestions failed to warn us about a rather sinister side of parenting — toilet paper obsession.

For months and months now, perhaps thanks to my own father who inadvertently taught Anna the word, “booger,” Anna has become obsessed with toilet paper.

She loves playing with the stuff.

She loves unpacking rolls from the larger package.

She loves sorting rolls and loves unraveling rolls, tearing off single sheets one at a time — most often to feign blowing her nose.

At first, the obsession was cute.

“Oh, she’s blowing her nose,” we said early on.

Our tone became slightly more annoyed over time as our days and nights were filled hunched over, picking up tidbits of toilet paper strewn all over the house.

A couple of weeks ago, Anna’s obsession teetered on having catastrophic ramifications.

You see, my daughter is a toilet paper hoarder, too. If she sees a roll of the white stuff, she wants it, must have it.

On its surface, Anna’s little “obsession” normally is not a problem.

Sure, we have to follow behind her picking up sheets of shredded toilet paper from time to time, but that’s better than having things flushed down the toilet — which might be coming, we’ve been warned.

The challenge comes when the household supply runs a bit low; Anna simply pulls all available resources including the actively used rolls that are on the toilet paper holders in the bathrooms.

The result has made life at the Cooper household a study in cautious observation.

A recent quick run to the bathroom nearly ended in disaster. Fortunately, just before closing the door, I spotted the empty holder and immediate went on a toilet paper reconnaissance mission.

With nature calling louder and louder with each passing second, the urgency at which cabinets were opened and every available surface was scanned increased with each passing moment.

In a few seconds, a discarded play roll was found, averting the crisis of the moment.

One of the pieces of advice another wise parent gave me nearly two years ago was, “Choose your battles carefully.”

To that end, the next trip to the store, I caved, asking myself, “Why buy just one package of toilet paper when we need two — one for Anna and one for the rest of us?”

The big folks in the house are now operating a black market of sorts for toilet paper, with emergency rolls tucked out of sight.

The action proves yet two more bits of pre-baby advice true — you will do anything for your children, and you’ll love every minute of it.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or