I spent all morning trying to fix the backed-up toilet while keeping Little Bear out of it, and Little Bear was simply beside himself that I kept herding him away. Screaming and sobbing and grasping frantically for it... There were plenty of other good things for him to do, but how do you reason with a teething 18 month old? And the plunger wouldn't fix it, and the problem just kept getting worse, and the child kept screaming louder and louder, and I finally snapped and yelled at him to be quiet.
And he looked so shocked and hurt, because I really try not to yell and he doesn't hear me do it often. And of course I felt so very guilty... but not any less frustrated, because he didn't stop screaming and clawing at the toilet for more that ten seconds.
After bothering Matt at work and being told to do exactly what I'd been doing, I finally gave up and called our landlady. Her fancy plunger is apparently much better than our cheapest-one-at-Walmart plunger, because it fixed the problem right away. She was very nice about it, though--we have some of the best landlords ever--and explained that this just happened occasionally with the low-flow toilets and that she'd gotten this plunger because it creates a better seal.
And that is probably far more than you wanted to hear about toilets today!
Little Bear's usual quiet and shyness around people he doesn't know came in incredibly handy today, as he stopped crying completely and just stared, silent, the whole time our landlady was here. By the time she left, I think he'd forgotten about being upset.
Speaking of which: Since before he turned one, Little Bear has been very quiet and shy around people outside of our immediate family and my parents and younger siblings; he's starting to become more comfortable interacting with Matt's parents when we Skype, but otherwise, being around other people always results in him clinging to me, hiding his face, turning away and crying "Mama, Mama, Mama," when anyone tries to interact with him. Always. Until yesterday.
Yesterday we visited a friend and her kids, and after sitting quietly on my lap for fifteen minutes, Little Bear ran around chattering and playing happily for hours, only calling for me occasionally when he couldn't get down some steps or got tired and wanted to eat. It was wonderful to see him enjoying interacting with other kids, and being comfortable in a place he'd never been before without being attached to me constantly.