One of the very least glamorous honors that comes along with this whole parenting gig is the PUBLIC BATHROOM VISIT. I realize some of you call them restrooms and some of you in the great white north think you are being extra polite by calling them washrooms, and some of you get all Britishy and try to glamorize the worse by calling in THE LOO and some really classy people I know just simply refer to it as the toilet.Â The Martells call it the bathroom…mostly because I need to take a giant bath filled with iodine and all sorts of other de-germifiers after visiting one, or a hundred, as is the case with my kin…I have the pleasure of mothering two children who visit every gross bathroom that exists. They have zero bladder and bum control. I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I NEEDA POO!” in the mostÂ inopportuneÂ places. Gas stations in the between Atlanta and Nashville. Kroger. Murphy Candler little league park.
And, you guys, my children, rest their hands on the toilet seat.
I cover the seat with theÂ complimentaryÂ seat covers and the usually add about a three-ply butt shield on top of said seat cover. And yet. Somehow, they manage to break the barrier and use the dirty toilet seat as leverage. Leverage.
And then I die a little inside.
And then I pop some xanax.
And then I bathe in purell. Twice.
(Another super exciting honor is when you get to catch your child’s vomit in your hands at California Pizza Kitchen after your father asks your stubborn child if he can have a taste of her delicious mac and cheese because there’s no way her tiny stomach will eat all of it and of course she says noÂ because, hello! stubborn genes come from both sides of her DNA, and she continues to prove her gramps wrong and eats the entire bowl and then her stomach feels like woah and all the dinner comes back up, at the table, in your hands. Yeah, that was a fun one. But, alas, a story for another time.)
But perhaps my most favorite one is the publicÂ tantrum. The one where you get your child all pumped that you are going to take her to Chastain Pool for public swim time. You get her all dolled up in her favorite bathing suit and her pretty pink water wings and you get her all sunscreened and she’s got a hat and a towel and her sunglasses and she’s gotten you to swallow your pride and don a tankini and you drive all the way there only to find out that they are closed for the day…some sort of lifeguard training or some such crap.
Pshaw. Like saving people is important or something…
And then you can see it building up. You KNOW what’s coming. You can see the cogs in her head going as it starts to sink in that her exciting plans for the day are foiled; there will be no swimming today. Her lip begins to quiver and she starts with a soft “no” and then it grows into a louder “NO” until it has become a full-fledged “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NO NO NO NO NO NO! But you promised me we were going swimming today and I want to go swimming now and I’m not leaving until you let me get in that pool because YOU PROMISED ME MAMA!”
And while you contemplate pulling a Clark W. Griswold and punching a moose in the face and holding up Chastain Pool until they let you in…
…you decide that you are winning this battle, so you grab your purse and your bag and your towels and your coffee and you scoop your child up while she kicks and screams and knocks your precious coffee to the ground and you toss her in the car and do what any other mother would have done.
You take her to Target and let her have her tantrum in the place where you know there will be at least 4 other children havingÂ tantrums. And then you pop some xanax and pull out your Purell because you just know that somewhere in the housewares section she is going to stop crying and pull a
“I NEEDA POO!”
and you are going to have to visit the bathroom.
But, hey, at least she didn’t pee in the pool.
Although tomorrow, I may encourage her to do JUST that. TAKE THAT, Chastain Park.