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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bathroom Antics

Once upon a time I was an adult who was able to make a trip to the bathroom in peace. I took that for granted. I assumed it was the right of every human being to be able to take care of business in privacy and relative peace. In fact, I believed this so much that a trip to the bathroom hardly registered in my brain. It just was one thing you did and continued on with life. It was.... insignificant. 

And then I had kids.

You would think, that after all the things we do for our children, the sleepless nights, the ham and pineapple splattered shirts we wear in public, the fact we are peed on and pooped on, spit up on, barfed on, with only a sigh and eye roll, that we would be given one thing, just one, to be able to do without a shadow clinging to our pant leg. But no. It doesn't work that way. Nothing is sacred once you have children. I repeat. NOTHING is sacred when you become a parent.

Depending on the age of your child there are different phases you will face on a (multiple) daily basis. I'll briefly explain each one.

First we have the newborn phase: Your precious gem of an infant is already in your arms 24/7 or else they will not sleep. However, that primal urge to deal with necessary issues creeps upon you at 4 am when you just got your little one to stop fussing and pass out in a seemingly comatose manner. You wait awhile, as the pressure increases, just in case your baby is trying to psych you out. After awhile you decide it's too much, your baby looks like a marching band could roll through your living room and not even twitch, so you make for the bathroom, baby in arms, tiptoeing hurriedly to the bathroom. Gently, you place your baby down somewhere warm and snug, lowering them down my the smallest increments that it would have to take a long exposure photograph to show your movements. You place them down gently, rise up slowly and turn to dash to the toilet when all of a sudden your dead to the world baby jolts, eyes pop open first in surprise, than in anger. Your baby glares at you in horror at this atrocious breech of trust, opens their rosebud mouth, and emits an ear piercing shriek of pure outrage that you DARED to put them down. You stand there aghast, caught between that urgent need to take care of business or pick the baby up and reassure them that Mommy was only kidding sweetheart, you can, umm, tag along... I guess...to the, umm, bathroom....


Then there is the wandering Baby phase: Your baby is self sufficient enough to handle times of being away from you. However your baby has learned to crawl/walk/cruise and while they no longer need to be in your arms at all times, they stick closer to you than your own shadow. Wherever you go, they go. If you stop, the start pulling themselves up to stand by hitching on to your jeans. And if you try to move when they do this, they get Ticked off with a capitol T. Heading to the bathroom in peace seems like it's a goal that can be reached, if you hurry. Sometimes you can be quick enough and enjoy a brief moment of solitude. Other times your shadow follows you right on in, babbling away. As you sit they make their way up to your jean leg and start pulling themselves up. Or they sit at your feet and gaze at you, arms stretched over their head, whining for you to pick them up. You can either A) pick them up or B) keep them from trying to find out what's going on in the toilet by continuously moving their hands away. When you're done, you must pick them up repeatedly and move them a few feet so you can close the lid before they stand up and investigate further with their little hands to see what was so cool that you had to leave their presence for a few minutes. I hate this phase. It's just.... gross.

Ages 2-4: Your child is seemingly engrossed in whatever it is they are doing and you rush off to take care of business. You sigh in relief. You just may have a chance to be alone for a moment or two, uninterrupted. And then you feel something, like a weighted gaze, and you slowly turn your head to the door. There, standing in the doorway, eyes round as saucers, staring at you, is your child.
'WHATCHA DOING MOMMY?"
"Umm, Im going potty."
"OH. CAN I SEE?"
"No!. Look, go play. Mommy needs a moment of privacy."
"HEY MOMMY! YOU GOING PEE OR POOP?"
".....go away.... and shut the door...please." The door shuts, and you think you won a round. Suddenly the door vibrates in agony as your child starts banging on the door.
"KNOCK KNOCK" (for the record I hate knock knock jokes)
Sigh... "Who'se there?"
"MOMMY"
"Mommy who?"
"MOMMY'S GOING PEE OR POOP!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA....HEY MOMMY? I GOTTA GO PEE NOW."

Never fails.


Then you have the older child:

My oldest son loves to talk. Nonstop. Sometimes he would just keep going without taking breath if I didn't interrupt him once in awhile with the gentle reminder to breath. Of course, there are plenty of times that he is off on a tangent and I need to rush off. I excuse myself and run and he follows me, still talking away. I (nicely) slam the door on his face. As I am in there, he's still gabbing away, garbled by the door now between us. so I only hear every 4th word or so.
"....he said....and then....Legos......grabbed......sword......and then.....so I.....can I?"

Note to parents: Never say yes if you hear the words "can I" through the other side of the bathroom door. This is usually when they attempt to get you to agree to buying them a pony or $400 Lego set.


Fun isnt it? Except I have one more to throw in. You see, I have 3 children, in 3 different stages. So when I need a moment I get a combo of all 3. 

We're heading out to the store/playground/school/museum. After changing Sorens diaper I tell the other boys to go potty before we head out. We have 4 bathrooms. I head to one nowhere near the kids, thinking to escape for a moment while they do their own business. Except Sorens chasing me, babbling away, giving my other two children perfect GPS coordinates of where Mommy is. Suddenly, I'm surrounded. Soren is trying to climb my pant leg. Ashe is yelling "MOMMY YOU GOING POTTY?" Xavier, is kind enough to stay in the hallway as he chatters away about Star Wars. Soren is now trying to climb into my lap. I put him down as he pitches a fit, Ashe is dancing around the tiny room yelling "KNOCK KNOCK MOMMY I GOT TO PEE" and Xavier keeps chattering on. I move to wash my hands after I help Ashe with his pants. Then grab Soren as he is trying to hoist himself on the toilet. He screams. Ashe pees while he sings. Xavier keeps chattering. Soren, as my back is turned for 5 seconds to suds up, stands on the toilet and maneuvers his hands into the bowl to play. He's just decided toilets are his new favorite toy and I now have to keep all bathroom doors shut and lids closed or suffer the gross consequences.

Xavier is chatting away.

What should be a 45 second moment of respite has now turned into a 3 ring circus act that lasts at least 5 minutes. Each time. And I'm the Ring Master, just trying to have a moment to myself, and instead I am keeping baby hands as sanitary as possible, answering knock knock jokes, pretending to listen to my 8 yr old, pulling up pants, washing hands, and just daydreaming about that glass of merlot I must have earned by now. Oh look, it's only 10am.


So for you parental units who struggle with some various form of what I described above, I salute you. You, the moms and dads, who sacrifice your time alone with the toilet. Who continuously struggle to keep babies from playing with the flusher, the paper, the... water. I nod in sympathy with you. For those of you who have to deal with curious toddlers and preschoolers, asking why is poop brown or pee yellow, when all you want to do is crawl under a rock and be left alone for just a few minutes while you take care of human needs. I drink to you and offer my support. You are not alone. It may be unspoken, a taboo topic for play dates, or dinners out with other parent friends. But we all know this (multiple) daily struggle. We suffer it too.


And for you non parental units, who laugh at bathroom antics, who take it for granted that it is a right to be left alone with one of the more baser and secret of bodily functions, keep note. Enjoy it, realize it is not a human right, but a privilege. Cherish that time alone you now take for granted so much, you don't even give going to the bathroom a second thought. And when the time comes that join the ranks of parental units, don't say I didn't warn you.


Brittany (Rhaven) is a member of trianglemommies.com. If you liked this story on parenting please visit her personal blog at http://suburbanrebelmom.blogspot.com/

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