I’m sort of back from my blogging hiatus. I feel like a lot of my peeps in Alabama need a little comic relief and a laugh at my expense. That’s what I’m here for Boos. So here is last week’s column.
I took Emma, my almost five-year-old, with me to the grocery store this past weekend. I made her use the restroom before we left to avoid having to leave my grocery cart in the middle of an aisle to sprint to the bathroom with her. But it never fails, as soon as we walk into any place that is not our home, she has “to go.” She’s been in the “I’m Gonna Pee-Pee in Every Potty in This Town” phase since she was two-years-old and my nerves are wearing thin. I was more patient when she was potty training but now that she has actual bladder control, I want to rip my hair out every time I hear that tell-tale “Mom-mah?” One word. That’s all it takes.
I’ve learned the hard, and wet, way that saying, “You just went. Hold it until we get home,” doesn’t work. I’m not sure at what age it becomes socially acceptable to send your children to find a restroom on their own and trust that they will safely find their way back to you. But I know we’re not there yet.
I sighed and picked up our pace as we made our way to the store’s restroom. She ran into the stall and slammed the door behind her.
“I need some privacy,” she explained.
While I waited for her to finish I cleaned all the receipts and trash out of my purse, responded to three emails and posted on my blog. The toilet flushed four consecutive times.
“Emma, do you need help honey?”
“No! I’m okay! It just keeps doin’ dat by itself.”
I continued to wait while my frozen vegetables thawed in my abandoned cart. This was at least better than having all three of my kids with me when someone needs to use a public restroom. And port-o-potties? Forget it. I will risk my children being fined for indecent exposure before I go into a port-o-potty with a small child. I shiver just thinking about it.
I had time for a brief nap or reverie while waiting for Emma, and I found myself thanking my lucky stars that I no longer had to be in the stall with her. We are at least making some progress.
I remembered every public restroom encounter I had ever shared with all three of my children. It was the most difficult right after Sadie was born because I had a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn. I had to hold Sadie, because she was an infant. I needed to hold Emma to keep her from touching everything in the stall, and Aubrey wasn’t really capable of using the restroom by herself.
Have you ever tried to explain public restroom etiquette to a preschooler? They are developmentally incapable of keeping their hands to themselves, and while you’re busy having a panic attack they are working as hard as they can to discover a new disease to keep the scientists at the CDC busy for the next ten years.
It goes something like this: “Don’t touch that! Squat, baby. SQUAT! No! DON’T SIT ON IT! Aubrey, QUIT touching the little trash can! That’s for grownups! Stop. Honey, stop it. Stop! Emma, get off the floor. Don’t flush with your hand, use your foot! STOP!”
God help you if you have to use the restroom while you are there. You get to do the public restroom squat and try not to pee all over yourself, while you continue to try to keep the kids out of the ‘little trash can.’ In the meantime your thighs are shaking and burning because you haven’t been to the gym since your second kid was born and this is the best workout you are going to get for months. Finally, you get to wash one kid’s hands while trying to keep the other one from touching anything else. It’s a vicious and disgusting cycle.
I teared up as the toilet flushed a fifth and final time and Emma finally emerged from the stall with a grin. Thawed peas were a small price to pay for a bit more independence.
“I did it all by myself, Momma.”
Hallelujah and pass the hand sanitizer.
What is your most awkward potty training moment?
Image via www.bittersweetmelodymusings.blogspot.com