But as it turns out, once we finally did call for help we learned that we were right:
And if there's any satisfaction in being right it belongs to the plumber, for whom it took less time to skewer and retrieve a yellow ball than it did to finish writing out the invoice:
That night when I brought the girls home from school and presented them with the re-unlocked bathroom door, I kneeled down in front of L for a Serious Talk. I was calm but emphatic about what would be considered appropriate and inappropriate uses of the potty and I concluded with, "and so we don't ever, ever flush toys, right? No flushing toys."
Noooo, she said deliberately. Her eyes were wide and she shook her head slowly from side to side. Her expression was filled with understanding and agreement and mama-pleasing.
But I flush balls.