When I started this blog I promised that I would not resort to bathroom or potty humor. But bathroom training is certainly an important part of parenting young children and some stories just need to be told!
Bathroom training is particularly challenging for a single parent with multiple children and/or children of the opposite sex for several reasons:
- You don’t have a personal understanding of how the plumbing works in the opposite sex children.
- You don’t exactly know the proper procedure for completing the job in opposite sex children.
- You have to take them into public restrooms for the opposite sex. While it’s not so bad to take a young boy into the women’s restroom, I find it objectionable to take a young girl into the men’s restroom. (No disrespect intended to my fellow males, but I just don’t want my little girl watching to see what you’ve got while you’re standing at the urinal and I’m sure you don’t want her watching you!)
- When you have more than one child and only one needs to go, then you have to take them both into the restroom.
Now that you know the single parent/multiple child dilemma for using public restrooms, you better understand why I’m not inclined for the toddlers to use the public facilities, especially for #2, if it can at all be avoided.
Yet, I somehow have to balance my objections to the toddlers using the public facilities with the toddlers’ fascination with public restrooms and their need to enter into, touch and handle everything in a public restroom without regard to how clean or filthy it may be!
So it’s a balancing act that I can never quite get in balance! If they say they gotta go, I gotta take them!
A few days ago one of the civic clubs in town was having a pancake supper to raise money. I decided taking the toddlers would be both a community service as well as a fun thing to do after school and work, and we could also make it our dinner.
Since Conner was out of town, she wouldn’t be helping me with the toddlers on this occasion. It would just be me and the toddlers. But I can handle it; just make sure they go to the bathroom before we leave for the pancake supper.
My plan was to go to the pancake supper and then walk across the street to the park and let the toddlers play for awhile since the weather was nice and the park was close by. And since it was a weeknight and they had school the next day, we wouldn’t stay long at the park.
So we got our pancakes and sat down at a table with some other folks we didn’t know and disaster No. 1 and 2 struck.
First, Kaleb spilled syrup all over his shirt and I don’t mean a couple of drops. The sticky substance soaked into a large portion of his shirt and no amount of scrubbing with wet napkins could break it down. Next, Kenzie spilled chocolate milk all over the table and floor and I don’t mean a little residue of milk. She spilled the complete contents of a full paper cup (they didn’t have it in little milk cartons) and I couldn’t seem to gather enough napkins to sop up the spill.
Other than that, I guess the pancake supper was relatively uneventful…though we ate our pancakes and got out of there as fast as we could before any of the club members recognized me and saw the mess I left behind.
After eating pancakes it was time to walk across the street to the park. So off we went in our sticky, stinky clothes. When we got there, the thing I feared most and had taken steps to avoid happens. You guessed it. Kenzie has to go!
And, as I mentioned in No. 3 and No. 4 above, you can’t go to the restroom without taking them both in.
So I checked it out to ensure there’s nobody else in the men’s room and we hurriedly proceeded in to take care of business, quickly. Or so I thought.
The toddlers aren’t always clear about their intentions in the restroom. They may say, “I have to potty,” and you presume (or hope) it means #1. But to the toddlers it can mean #1 or #2! I don’t think they actually decide until they get started. Or they start with #1 and then proceed to #2…
So what I thought was going to be quick in-and-out potty visit, turns into a sit-down-and-poop event. And, to make matters worse, Kaleb is suddenly struck by the urge to go! I don’t know if it was a digestive reaction to the pancakes or if they had been saving it all day for just this opportunity to use the public restrooms…
But it was two for #2! In the public restroom. At the park!
Now here’s what I find so perplexing. Why, when they had all day long to go poop, did they have to go at the public restroom, both of them, at the same time?
It’s time to play at the park and they have to go poop! I mean, why couldn’t they take care of business in the convenience of the facilities at home or school?
No, let’s wait until there’s no other option than to use the nasty, stinky public restroom instead of using the nice, clean bathroom at home or school before we left there!
And, it’s the same story when we travel.
No matter how many times I make them go before we leave or how much I coax them to try to poop, at some point in the trip when there’s no decent public restroom nearby, we’re going to have to stop at some out-of-the-way place to use their filthy, nasty restroom to go poop!
It’s the poop perplexity!
And if they gotta poop, you can question their intentions, but you can’t refuse their request!
No way am I going to tell them No!
So we’re in the restroom and I’m bouncing back and forth between stalls telling them to hurry up and trying to assist in any way I can to move things quickly along (no pun intended)!
And, all the while keeping an eye on the door to see if there’s some man about to enter the restroom…
Well, by the time we got done, I was no longer in the mood for playtime at the park. They just used up their playtime using the public restroom as far as I was concerned!
So I loaded them up in the car and we went home. I put them in the bathtub and scrubbed all the germs from the public restroom right off and promptly put them to bed!
While the poop perplexity remains perplexing, this one thing I do know: There’s no better time to relax and try to figure things out as the time after the toddlers go to bed!