October 18, 2011

A Lesson from Charmin

Today, I'd like to talk to you about toilet paper.

If you have watched TV at all in the past three years, chances are you have seen the Charmin commercials. You know, the one with the cartoon bears? The first time I ever saw this, I was a little horrified. But mostly I laughed, hard. I never realized that leaving pieces behind when you wiped was such an epidemic that it required it's own Public Service Announcement. And then three questions came immediately to my mind: A) Why don't the bears just use leaves like nature intended? B) What sort of mother would subject her offspring to such a humiliating full backside inspection? and most importantly... C) Who wipes so aggressively that they turn their toilet paper into sticky confetti bits in the first place?

I remember repeatedly scoffing at this commercial and it's ridiculous message. Every time I saw that little bear cub behind shaking at me on the screen, I couldn't help but wonder how someone would go about shredding toilet paper with nothing but their own two cheeks. But slowly, over the past few months, a humble enlightenment has come over me. You see, I have a three year old now. Anyone who has a three year old can just stop reading now, because you understand. However, if you do not, in fact, have a three year old, let me explain...

Three year olds are not gentle creatures. They run hard, they play hard, they scream hard, and apparently - they wipe hard. I never once equated my daughter with that obnoxious red bear, but then the pieces started to appear. At first there were just a couple white flecks on the ground. I didn't know what they were at first, so I just picked them up and disposed of them. But then those couple turned into a few, and then those few started showing up multiple times during the day. What ARE these little paper snowflakes? Do we have a bathroom fairy?

Then one night as I was helping my daughter get ready for bed, I watched her shred that paper faster than an Enron executive, and it dawned on me. She IS that little cub on the Charmin commercial! The sandpaper butt is not a myth afterall. And before I could stop myself, I did a visual check of her behind to make sure she had not, in fact, left any pieces behind. And it was right then that I realized I had come full-circle. I had gone from a person who snorted out loud at the thought of toilet paper dingleberries to a parent who takes toilet paper strength very seriously.

Such are the joys of parenthood. Charmin, you have my apologies.