Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Friday, July 22, 2011

To Pee or Not to Pee

Today we spent some time at a big mall doing some back to school shopping. The back to school shopping turned into a contest to see who could drive me crazier and then lots of whining began and I decided it was time to have lunch. Here is how the conversation went:

"Does anyone have to go to the bathroom before they eat?"
"No Mommy, I just went"
"No Mommy, I am just starving!"

I broke down, headed to the food court and bought the girls their favorite lunch of all lunches, it includes the word Happy in it and to make me feel better about consuming this crap we like to call it "Old Macdonalds" after the song. I got the girls situated, their 2 pounds of ketchup each, their straws in their sippy cups and in front of a huge television playing music videos. I then had to order my food, which happened to be a stir fry dish with rice and kimchi right next to where they were sitting. As soon as I sat down to eat, one of the girls grimaces at me and says, "I have to go pee really bad!"

I did what any hungry and irritated parent does, I asked her to hold it. After one more french fry she told me she couldn't anymore and it was at that moment I asked my big girl to go to the bathroom on her own in a huge mall. We have trained for this moment for months, we have gone over the steps we take and we have talked about what we do when faced with awkward or uncomfortable situations in public bathrooms or anywhere else.

As I sat there with my eyes on the bathroom door (of course we picked seats right in front of the bathroom, what do you think I am, a rookie?) I was reminded of a story my mother tells about my brother. My father had recently passed away and my mother was left with 3 small children one of which was a very stubborn 5 year old boy who until this day, was not demanding emancipation from bathroom accompaniment. So my mother decided to let her 5 year old man have his moment of privacy and sent him into the men's room alone. In my mind, we are in an airport but lets face it, the setting doesn't matter, sending a 5 year old child into the bathroom alone in any public place can be terrifying. Then she stood there by the door, balloons in hand, with her 2 daughters, waiting for her son to come out.

Within about 3 minutes the sound of a child wailing, "maaaaaaaaammmy, maaaaaaammmmy, wipe my bottom" comes floating around the corner of the public men's room. My mothers version includes the entrance of a well dressed kindly looking man heading into the bathroom who noticed the concern and frustration on my mother's face and offered assistance. He walked out of the bathroom a minute later with my brother, apparently he helped wipe him, get his pants up and wash his hands. As a child this story was hysterically funny but as a parent it is more concerning and panic causing. If you don't believe me, read it to a single person with no children and then read it again to someone with little ones.

I was so proud of my girl when 3 or 4 very long minutes later she came out of the bathroom all smiles, mission accomplished. She retold how she focused on the task at hand, flushed the toilet with her foot like I'd taught her, and then washed her hands with soap and did it as quickly and as efficiently as she could. She put a french fry in her mouth and said, "Now I can eat my fries, they aren't too hot anymore".

I was going to breathe a sigh of relief but her little sister cut me off with "Mommy, I have to go poo-poo bad!"

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