I believe we all have had our share of potty training questions asked by our children. After all, when it comes time to train them to use the toilet “like a big kid!”, there are just so many questions to be asked! And the manner in which they are asked – with such uninhibited innocence – is both heart warming and occasionally embarrassing. When it comes to potty training questions in public restrooms, I think the latter is most often what results. However, for us dads living in The Estrogen Ocean, we really don’t have much of a choice. Mom isn’t going to do ALL the potty training, right? Well, an embarrassing story is what I have to share with you here.
My three year old daughter seems to be the least shy of our three girls when it comes to asking questions. If there is something she does not understand or she just has something she needs to know, she asks, not ever taking into consideration who might be within range of her voice. (Of course, what three year old ever takes that into consideration?) Not sure if it is a coincidence or not, but it always seems as though the potty training questions are the most abundant.
My family and I decided to take a quick one hour trip out of town the other day to do some shopping and to see my niece’s dance recital at a nearby convention center. When the show was over and the shopping was complete, it was time to get some dinner. So, to Perkins we went.
Well, as you probably are all aware, there is something about new surroundings that makes a child’s bladder fill up instantly. And when one child’s bladder is full in a public setting, all other siblings bladders immediately fill up. Weird how that works. (I think there should be a scientific study on this strange phenomenon, but that’s for another day.) Of course, with three daughters to take to the bathroom, I feel some obligation to take part in this circus. And of course, with the two older ones being at an age where it is no longer acceptable to go with Dad in the men’s room, I am given the gift of assisting our three year old with her bathroom venture.
Now is where the fun begins. As we are walking toward the bathroom door, all I am thinking is “Please let the room be empty! Please let the room be empty!” When we get inside, I survey the area for other bathroom attendees. This particular bathroom has two stalls, one of which is an unoccupied handicapped accessible stall, and the other is a smaller stall, and it’s occupied! CRAP! I look at my daughter and my thoughts are now shifting to “Please don’t embarrass me! Please don’t embarrass me!”
Things started off pretty well. She dropped her own pants, jumped up on the stool, and did her business. “Good girl!” I proclaimed, trying to make it clear to the neighbor in the next stall that I was in here with a potty training young daughter. When she was finished, she jumped down, hiked up her pants and we were ready to go. That is, until I made the not-so-smart decision to also empty my own bladder. I’m not really sure what I was thinking, other than the fact that we were in a bathroom and I had to go, so I was going to go. This particular trip had progressed pretty smoothly up to this point, so I figured, why not?
As I am standing there relieving my bladder of the pressure inside, my daughter began her interview session. In a voice about 8db louder than it needed to be, she asked “Daddy, why do you need to hold on to that?” I could feel my face burn from blushing embarrassment. Lord only knows what the man next door was thinking at that point. All I could think to say was “So I can make sure I get it in the toilet.” But she didn’t stop there. “What is it?” she asked next. I said nothing, and I think I can now hear little chuckles from our neighbor. As I try to motion to her to be quiet, she doesn’t seem to be taking the hint. She fired another one. “Is that your tail?” I am now seething with embarrassment as I tell her “No, that’s where I go potty from.” Apparently, she needed more details than that. “From that little tiny hole?” I’m now sure that I hear outright laughter from the stall-mate. I think he held off on completing his own task until we were out of there, and it now sounds as though he’s glad he did. I motioned again to be quiet. “What!?” she asked. “Nothing. All done. Let’s go!”
We immediately got out of there, washed our hands quickly, and returned to our booth. I never saw the man come out of the bathroom, but I’m sure he could pick us out in the restaurant. I felt as though I was being watched for the entire meal. I can only imagine he was laughing for one of two reasons. He either doesn’t have kids of his own yet (particularly girls), or he his kids are grown up and he was simply reliving the times when he had to endure the embarrassing potty training questions. Oh well. Either way, I guess now he has a story to tell, too.