Taking small children into public restrooms is always horrifying on many levels. There’s the germ issue. The sheer amount of biological remnants skittering around a public bathroom makes me want to throw up in the back of my mouth, and seeing my precious child playing Dora the Oral Explorer doesn’t help.
Then there’s the privacy issue. My kids narrate everything, so every person in the whole bathroom knows exactly what’s going down in that stall. It’s also hard to hover pee while holding the door shut and trying to keep them from unlocking it and introducing Mommy’s private area to the world.
When my son was three, I took him to the library for story time. Halfway through, I broke out in a sweat and a wave of badness rolled over my body. I hoisted up my son, snatched up my purse, and hightailed it to the bathroom, passing a study group as I pushed open the door.
I made it into the stall, set down my son in the corner, and went to town. I was shaking. Gluten? Dairy? Bad packet of gummies? I’m not sure what caused it, but when I let the Wienermobile at the Ford Museum in Detroit seduce me last summer, I had a similar experience.
This trip to the bathroom was a-gonna take some time, and I was stuck in there with a three-year-old boy. I tried Teacher Mode. “Hey, sweetie, let’s count the tiles on the floor. How many tiles do you see?” I tried Diversion Mode. “Soooo, affffterrr thissss, what do you want to dooooo? We could go to the park (distract distract distract). We could go get chicken nuggets (distract distract distract). We could fly to the moon and eat cake and drink chocolate and CHOO-CHOO! LIGHTNING MCQUEEN! STAY WITH ME, BABY!”
Despite my stellar distraction tactics, my son got bored, lay down on the floor, and put his face on the drain. The drain. The drain! The nasty drain in the middle of the floor for catching backed-up poo floaters and soggy toilet paper. I was trapped on my ring of fire and he was just out of reach. I tried poking him with my toe. I tried hissing at him to come back. The person next to me started laughing.
He eventually crawled back and I realized I could probably never kiss him again. That mouth had been where no one should ever, ever go. I started strategizing how I could get to the nearest hand sanitizer and apply it to his face without anyone calling child services.
As my Symphonic A**plosion crescendoed, E. Coli Face began to narrate. “Hey, Mommy, dat’s WOWD! You poopin’, Mommy? Dat’s a big one, Mommy! Mommy, dat’s stinky! Dat’s so stinky, Mommy.” The person next to me – a new one, because no one stays in the bathroom this long – tried to stifle a guffaw.
I finished up, emptied of all bodily fluids and ready to weigh myself to see how many pounds I’d just lost, and got out of there, slinking past the study group and avoiding eye contact. I know they heard everything and were timing me.
And this is why we never, ever go to the library and why my kids will never learn how to read or get into Yale.
Motherhood is embarrassing. Would somebody please share their Most Embarrassing Mom Moment and make me feel better?!?
image from bathroommonkeys.com