In which I present a day with Evelynn (in four acts)

Someone loves her Happy Meal toy.


Act I

We are downstairs in our house, playing all morning. I announce lunch and head upstairs to the kitchen. Normally, all three tinies troop up after me. After two minutes, I realise Evelynn has remained below stairs. I head down to get her. And discover the fact that she has painted the entire room with the contents of her diaper. (Again.) (Because this has happened before.) (Many times.)

I pitch a temper tantrum. Then I clean her up, bath her, finish lunch for the trio, start laundry, and put her to bed for her nap.

Then I scrub the basement until my hands are raw. I open every window in the house, and a stiff wind blows through. It does not help with the smell.

Act II

Evelynn awakens from her nap, sunshine and delight, as usual. She toddles down the hall towards the playroom while I fold laundry downstairs. I assume she is in the playroom with her brother and sister. (Never assume with Evelynn.) Then I hear the toilet chugging. Investigate. Discover that she has stuffed paper towels from under the sink into the toilet, clogged it and flushed it repeatedly. It is now overflowing all over the floor.

I cannot unclog the toilet. I clean up the water on the floor and resolve, like any sane woman, to wait until my husband gets home. I shut the door, put up a baby gate to block her access, and we go out to get a coffee for me.


I begin supper preparations. Evelynn is nicely looking at books, luring me to complacency. I glance away to concentrate on the task at hand. (You see where this is going.)

In less than two minutes, I hear sheets of water hitting the floor in the other washroom. Gallop around the corner and discover that Evelynn has stuffed toilet paper into the sink, turned on the faucets and is now flooding the upstairs washroom. I turn off the water. I am standing in two inches of water on the floor. I use every towel and sheet in the house to sop up the water. I cannot get the water out of the sink.

In a fit of insanity/desperation, I attempt to plunge the sink. This only results in a gigantic backspray of sink gunk flying around the room, the majority of the gunk (of course) landing in my hair and in my open mouth. I freak out thoroughly and laugh until I cry.  I close the bathroom door and call my husband. He is home in less than 30 minutes.

Act IV

Brian unclogs the downstairs sink. Mildly remarks how it smells like poop in the basement. Brings in his wet vac and sucks up all of the water upstairs. Dismantles the entire sink upstairs and unclogs the drains with Evelynn hovering over his shoulder, like a disinterested observer. He reassembles the sink.

We put the tinies to bed and I spend the entirety of Friday night deep cleaning both washrooms, washing towels, and cleaning the basement all over again. I lament repeatedly her newly acquired skill of scaling the play pen. I am out of options other than constant vigilance.



Evelynn is the happiest nearly-two-year-old-baby in the world.  She is sweet, loving, funny, sociable, outgoing, and curious. And smart. (Oh, Lord, help us, SO SMART.) And I cannot stay even one step ahead of her because her mischief is uncharted territory. She is relentless, interested in everything except age-appropriate toys and activities, and utterly without fear.

I can only pray for the grace to ensure that, when she is all grown up, she is a benevolent powerful dictator.




  • Jessica

    I’m not gonna lie. I would’ve cried. By Act II.

    • Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

      nope. I would’ve cried by Act I.

      • Natalie Trust

        Ladies, is it alright to hope that this show never makes it to my home?

        • Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

          seems perfectly okay….have had those days myself & NEVER want them again. The other day I caught my son pee-ing into a Glad container?!?!? It wasn’t glad anymore.

          • Janel Andrews

            oh Grace…that is amazing and horrifying at the same time.

  • Mandy

    I love her so much. She brings such joy to my heart every time I see her little mischievous smile! Tough times with the poop though:). You are such a good mama.

  • the Sooz

    I love this so much. As you know, I can completely relate:) Before you know it, she will be a brilliant, curious, always-entertaining, never-boring, button-pushing 8 year old. The world better watch out for these amazing ‘strong-willed’ girls we are raising.

  • Jamie Bagley

    Oh my goodness! You need a hug, a casserole, and all the chocolate! (I have a 2 yr old, too. His hobby is milk and juice painting and he has cracked all the sippy cup codes!)

  • Sandy Jones Fox

    You went out for a coffee? I would have gone out for a stuff drink!

  • Anita Mathias

    Oooh, she’s too cute, or else you’d want to abolish her!

  • Kamille Scellick

    three things: 1. glad you wrote this down for prosperity sake. 2. I kinda of puked in my mouth knowing you got a flush of water in your mouth 3. I was awaiting that the mcdonalds toy was stuck in one of those pipes.

    Oh man, lastly–I couldn’t help but wonder, “will Caprice take this role in our family?” My other two are not the mischief makers–and so, I think God may have that in store for us. Heavens!

  • Jennie Melton Strope

    I must confess that I laughed-very hard-while reading this. I’m recovering from oral surgery so the experience of opening my swollen mouth wide to emit a cruel chuckle was not painless (which I hope helps to negate the fact that I found pleasure in your misery).

  • KimberlyCoyle

    “luring me into complacency”-been there, only to find my daughter with the brush I use to scrub the toilet in her mouth, brushing her teeth. Disgusting, yet does not require the aid of a plunger or wet vac.

    • Janel Andrews

      that is horrifying…and yet i laughed.

  • Angela

    Thank you for sharing your day with us, so that we could have a chuckle…. only because we’ve all been there before too :)

  • Lyli Dunbar

    What an adorable little sprite you have! God has big plans for her…. Can’t wait to see how she is going to change the world. :)

    Praying you survive her toddler years… Hugs

  • Stephanie Spencer

    Oh my goodness. Thank you for writing this insight into your world. My 2 year old is so joyful and exuberant and also so mischievous. Why do these 2 things seem to be different sides of the same coin? My son once got mad at me for saying no, and left the room, in order to find more space to throw a temper tantrum worthy of the offense. Hilarious and infuriating all at once.

    I am amazed that you can write such beautiful and thoughtful and deep writing in the midst of clogged toilets and diaper art. You are an amazing woman, Sarah Bessey.

    • Tina Francis

      Hear, hear!

  • Tina Francis

    Ohhhh my dear Sarah!!! I don’t even have words. Love that you can laugh until you cry. xoxo

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    Why don’t we go ahead and invest in some handcuffs…it’s never too soon with this one around. ; )

  • elizabeth

    Aren’t babies fun???

    One suggestion. When my daughter was working as a nanny her two-year-old liked to take off her diaper and paint the room too. She (my daughter) started putting the baby into a backwards sleeper so it zipped in the back, and she (the baby) couldn’t get out of it. She (the baby) didn’t even mind that her feet were on backwards too.

    • Bridget

      lol, Elizabeth, as soon as I read your “Aren’t babies fun” comment, I knew you (like me) were already past this stage. Babies ARE fun!

  • HopefulLeigh

    Oh, Ever. Lord, have mercy!

    If I lived near you, I’d be on standby for delivery of coffee, whiskey, and whatever else you needed.

  • Nelson Thurman

    She’s definitely a live one! Reminds me of the time when our two boys were preschool age and decided to take the primer my wife was using for a refurbished cabinet and paint the swing set in the back yard. When she looked out of the window, youngest son was covered in white, head to toe, while the oldest was busy finding something else to cover. Once it’s dried, primer doesn’t wash out easily, as our youngest modeled for a while.

    Glad you have a sense of humor that will help you survive!

  • Sue

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Becuase it is my life and I currently am devoid of a sense of humor about it. I am so deeply encouraged that this happens at other people’s houses too.

  • James Prescott

    Sarah, thank you for sharing this. It was a wake up call to me and probably many others that we aren’t alone in our everyday sufferings. It’s so easy to think in your everyday annoyances you’re the only one, but this post reminded me I’m not – and to stop my childish strops about being the victim of some divine conspiracy to give me the most annoying everyday problems, and no one else going through them. Thanks for showing us we’re not alone, and admire your grace in dealing with what happened.

    I love your little encouragement/compliments about Evelynn at the end – the whole piece reminded me of how God might see us sometimes. Annoying, causes problems at times, but loveable, adorable, gifted, and beautiful (oh, and smart).

    Love this post, thanks for sharing!

  • Lindsay

    Thanks for sharing! Made me giggle and realize that even though 3 makes me CRAZY some days, my preschool twins get into less mischief than their toddler selves did. What is it with toddlers and flooding bathrooms??

  • Dixie

    People always tell you things like, “one day you’ll look back and miss those days…” but honestly, now that all 3 of mine are independent in the bathroom, I haven’t missed one single second of the ‘potty incidences’. Not one. Some of the other baby stuff, yes, but not that bathroom stuff. I am still wondering at what age I can reasonably expected them to plunge the toilet when they’ve backed it up because I hate plunging with a dark fury. I think it is the grossest part of parenthood! Hang in there. Glad you have a great husband who knows his way around a shop-vac and also how to disassemble and reassemble a sink. Tomorrow is a new day :)

    • Bridget

      “one day you’ll look back and miss those days…”
      Dixie, I think they’re talking a little more into the future, like maybe when they’re out of the house. 😀

  • Judy

    I am sitting here laughing so hard I am crying…mind you, my youngest hooligan is now 21, so I have reached the point where I can laugh. But 20 years ago, well, I would be doing that saying-bad-words thing very, very loudly and stomping while cleaning. Now I’m going to go read it again and laugh some more. You are a hoot.

  • Kreine

    Ohhhh, Sarah. I’ve been there. Got those kids somewhat ok to leave unsupervised and had more, so I’m here again!

    I’d be very afraid of the close attention little E is paying to how the sink comes apart. For reals.

    • Kreine

      Also, I am jealous that you do not have permanent marker and gouges on your wall.

  • Randy Longacre

    mothers are the glue that hold societies together.

  • Bethany Suckrow

    I am simultaneously encouraged and terrified by this post, Sarah. Encouraged that even with all the craziness, it’s clear that you have so much love and grace and humor for your tinies, and maybe by reading stuff like this, I will too (someday. a very very long time from now.) And terrified that I’ll be a total wuss when it comes to cleaning up after my kids. Bathroom stuff. GAG x 1000000.

    • Bridget

      Bethany, My sister said the same thing after she witnessed me changing diapers, and after she babysat and my two year old wore her out after one measly afternoon. But she went on to have her own and did just fine, poopy diapers included.

  • Lindsey M.

    Somehow I feel like her and my 2nd born might be twins separated at birth. He has a deep affection with flushing anything within his reach down the toilet. Just 3 weeks ago we woke up to hysterical laughter at 5:45am. Both of my boys had flushed se real items down the toilet, completely clogging the line. Our entire bathroom was flooded and they were both in their PJs, drenched with toilet water. $90 and a plumber later, we were reunited with a toothbrush, a half dissolved bar of soap, and shards of an entire package of flushable wipes (wipes that, although made for flushing, are not meant to be flushed in large quantities). God bless the 2 year old phases of destruction!

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    Everyone who sees our son Ethan remarks at how he’s always busy doing something, never sitting still… ever. I have a feeling that you have just mapped out a typical day in our future. We only have one toilet, so I’ll need to be careful!

  • Lisa Bartelt

    Bless you.

  • hollywood housewife

    I love her so much.

  • Sarah Silvester

    Oh my word!!! Thanks for giving me a laugh to start my day. And the knowledge that other mums have days where nothing goes to plan too!!! :-)

  • Donna Neufang Landwehr

    She will be. I had one just like her, and she’s now the most amazing teenager ever.

  • Helen Murray

    …and people say being at home with the kids is the easy option?
    Thank you for this. Makes me feel sane. Or at least, insane with company.

    • Kreine

      I prefer insane with company. I love the crazy (most of the time) and think sanity is over-rated. :-)

  • Handsfull

    My little tornado has just turned 3, and I think he’s getting a little better… although I recently discovered he had helped himself to a craft knife (that I thought was in an un-reachable place) and was trying to cut a leg off a plastic centipede. Yesterday we’d gone to a playground and I had thought it would be safe not to take spare clothes, because he’s basically toilet trained. We were just about to leave when he informed me he had pooped in his pants. It was all down his legs and I had no spare clothes, no wipes, no nappies, nothing! I cleaned him up as best as I could with a few shreds of toilet paper, getting poop on my arm in the process (aaaargghhhhh!!!!) and then had to sit his bare, poopified butt in his car seat for the ride home. I couldn’t bring myself to deal to the mess last night, so I have the joyful task of cleaning the car seat this morning… Lord, give us all strength!

  • Amber Wolf

    Oh my sweet goodness!

  • Bridget Sprague

    Laughed until I cried. Awesome writing. In regards to the poop, you have my sympathies. I’ve scraped it from the bottom of the bedroom door after my son tried to push it under. I know your pain!

  • Lisa-Jo Baker

    You know I naturally love everything about this :)

  • Janel Andrews

    my friend has a 3 year old that has gotten into things and done things that she’d never have imagined after her first child. definately added a few grey hairs and flairs of horror over her shenanigans. All these women of such smarts and intuition….watch out for them world, just be wary of those ‘young years’

  • Lisa McKay

    I’m sorry, though I’m glad you can partially redeem it with a funny post. I don’t know if this post makes me feel better about 19 month old Dominic’s antics, or even more scared about what might be in store. His latest yesterday was pulling the dog’s tail hard, then putting himself in the naughty corner for a self-supervised time-out, and then racing out to do it all over again. And again. And again. #naughtycornerconceptfail.

  • Emily Taylor Jones

    Oh girl, I’m hearing you on this one! I have a 20-month old who is cuh-razy. He hasn’t done anything big with our plumbing yet (just figured-out how to open doors, so I’m sticking those doorknob covers all around the house to hopefully prevent what you’re describing!!! Gross me OUT!) but he has played with and eaten his own poop all over his bed. And he won’t play with toys, and won’t sit still not even for tv, and is way too physically advanced for his own safety. I turn my back and he’s opened my dishwasher and is playing with the dirty knives, standing on top of the table hanging from the chandelier (literally), pushing furniture across the room, climbing the bookshelves, etc…. He’s my third, too, and my first two weren’t like this, so I feel like I have a little bit of outrage at knowing that toddlerhood doesn’t necessarily have to be quite this complicated and dangerous. I know these kids have qualities that will serve them well in adulthood, so for now I’m just making little lists in my head of all the things I’m going to tell him when he’s grown that he put me through!

    • Bridget

      Emily, my once 20 month old is now 20 years old, and he’s still crazy active and very athletic. It’s amazing to watch him in action. He still loves to take risks, jumping off roof tops, doing double back flips off 40 ft jumps, etc. At some point I stopped having my heart in my mouth. I guess I learned to trust him more. He really does know his limits, even though he loves to push the envelope.

      He teaches and tutors and has had his share of “active” students. It’s very funny to hear him repeating the things I used to say to him when we homeschooled. He says, “Mom, I don’t know how you did it.” They do remember. Hang in there. :)

  • Jennifer Clark Tinker

    Sarah, thanks so much for writing this and showing it to the world. When my son was at this age I was mortified about the finger painting he did with his dirty diaper, I was beside myself at the milies of toilet paper that he wasted just to see what would happen. I shared very, very privately about these things at the time just to get the support and validation I needed. You writing it right now even while you’re still standing in it is a balm for others.

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    Yep. I have one of those. Only he’s a boy who’s going to turn three in two months. I am always punished for complacency, and Lord forbid I ever sit down at the computer.

    But he’s so HAPPY the rest of the time, we all adore him. Truth, yes?

    (P.S. We can never let Evelynn and Kieran meet.)

  • Marielis Martinez

    I must say, this has been one of the most entertaining things I have read or heard all week! I have yet to have kids and barely have had the patience for a boyfriend. Now as God gives me patience and is developing me into a responsible Christian woman is when I looking into this settled life with curiosity. With how bad I was and my luck, I will probably end up with the most mischievous or curious kids ever! It is a good thing to know ahead of time that the solution to these types of things is to laugh and cry. Lol. I can’t wait!

  • Bridget

    Sarah, so adorable. I’m amazed you can find humor in the midst of this. Hats off to you.

    I love that photo of Evelynn looking on so intently. She’s taking notes!

  • Sarah Westphal

    What. a. day.

    Knock on wood neither of my kids are that clever yet (3 & 1). Although there is my third due in 3 weeks…and may just give me a run for my money.

  • Rebecca Roelant

    My kiddos haven’t done anything like that (yet, at least) but I’ve heard horror stories about my brother-in-law, who at the age of two was able to undo ALL the locks on the front door and toddle out into the neighborhood while his mom was in the bathroom. It got bad enough (and it wasn’t like she wasn’t watching him, he just was very good at escaping that one moment she had her back turned) that she bought a stake, put it in the front yard, attached a dog leash to it, put him on it, and instructed her other boys to make sure he couldn’t escape (I’ll add that she only did this when her boys were playing outside, since it was such an extreme thing to do). Apparently he never did figure out how to escape from that one:)

  • Suzanne

    husbands sound so handy. i can’t wait to get me one of those. also, i love the way you love your crazy beautiful daughter and the way you can tell her stories with truth and grace and a sense of humor!

  • Sara

    my mom has a story of the day she peacefully slept in when my older sister was around 1 years old. It goes something like this…

    “I woke up at 7 a.m. and think wow like little girl slept in today, it will be a good day (famous last words). She goes int to check on my sister and soon sees that the baby did not sleep in but in fact had been entertaining herself by painting the crib and surrounding walls with the content of her diaper. my mom must then run a bath for my sister clean her up, feed her, and sanitized the crib and everything that was in the area of the poop masterpiece.”

    If you ask my sister she will say it was not her, that mom has lost her mind and it was really me who did it…. mom has pictures i have seen them, and they are for sure of my sister.