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Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Who needs toys when there's TP?

When it comes to entertainment value, toilet paper can give you a lot of mileage.

We used to live next to a family with teenagers. Every few months or so, we would wake up and find their front yard covered in white.

My neighbor's house getting toilet-papered is pretty funny because I'm not the one who has to clean it up. But toilet paper in my living room is another matter.

My 3-year-old loves to run around the house unfurling toilet paper like a streamer. Then she'll dance around. Think of rhythmic gymnastics, only with Charmin.

"Toilet paper comes from trees!" I'll say, but she doesn't care.

It's hard to worry about the environment when you are a preschooler having fun. We collect all the paper anyway, and put it in a special box in the bathroom for my daughter's personal use.

A few months ago my 8-year-old read a book called "PICKLE: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School" by Seattle author Kim Baker.

Later that weekend, I went upstairs and found our elliptical machine wrapped in toilet paper.

My son thought he was pretty funny for toilet-papering mom and dad's room. I, on the other hand, was proud of myself for noticing the elliptical machine because I haven't used it in a while.

But afterward, we had two boxes of unfurled toilet paper to use; one for my daughter and one for my son.

In the trenches of parenthood, two junky boxes of toilet paper can really wear you down. That's why a roll of toilet paper hanging up neatly always makes me smile.

But unfortunately for me, my kids think that if toilet paper is exciting, then the toilet-paper holder itself is even better.

I'm not talking about some fancy-shmancy chrome toilet-paper stand like you'd see on Mercer Island. I'm talking about the plastic cylinder with a spring in it that you can buy at Home Depot for $2.

Both of my kids think toilet-paper holders are the best toy ever.

When my son was little, he used toilet-paper holders as pretend guns. My daughter doesn't care about shooting people with toiletry hardware, but she loves to bounce the holders upside down. So every time you go into our bathroom the toilet-paper holders are MIA.

For once I'd like to go into our bathroom and have it be normal. I don't want a stepstool, I don't want "Captain Underpants" lying on the ground and I don't want a watering can in the bathtub.

But on the plus side, at least the little potty is gone.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Parenting

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