There are many fears that we have as parents. Fears over safety, health, and our child’s general well-being. I would have to say, though, that one of my worst fears as a mom is over something that I encounter nearly every day of my life: that my child will have to go to the bathroom at an inconvenient time or place. Seriously. The panic that sets in when you hear the words “Mommy, I have to go“–and you know there’s nowhere to go–is unparalleled. This happens to me all. the. time. Somehow they just seem to know the single most inconvenient place to declare a need for relief and I somehow have to magically find a solution. As a matter of example, here is a brief excerpt from our trip to the park today:
Fortunately I had about an hour to kill this morning before we were meeting up with some friends for lunch, so I thought we would stop by a new park for some fun play time.
Unfortunately as soon as we pulled into the parking lot David grabbed his crotch and said he had to go potty.
Fortunately a woman in the parking lot told me there were toilets in a cafe in the park.
Unfortunately the cafe was about 1/4 mile away from the parking lot on the opposite side of the park.
Fortunately I’m a strong momma so I picked up my toddler and ran with David all the way across the park to the cafe.
Unfortunately the restrooms were for cafe customers only.
Fortunately I had a coin in my pocket, so I bought a fruit snack before we rushed into the bathroom to do our business.
Unfortunately we were not at the park to spend all day in the bathroom and a little cafe.
Fortunately there was a fantastic playground back on the other side of the park near the parking lot. The boys had a blast swinging and sliding and spinning and climbing.
Unfortunately our time in the playground eventually came to an end and we had to get ready to leave for our lunch.
Fortunately David said he didn’t have to go potty again before we left, so we started to walk out to our car.
Unfortunately he was lying.
Fortunately I knew where the bathroom was this time, and when he started doing his little potty dance I grabbed him by the hand and started leading him back across the park.
Unfortunately we only got halfway across the park toward the cafe toilets when David stopped in his tracks, looked up to me and said he didn’t have to go potty any more.
Fortunately the front of his pants were still dry.
Unfortunately, the back of his pants were quite brown and stinky.
Fortunately I had a change of clothes for him in the diaper bag that was back in our car.
Unfortunately, the car was now on the opposite side of the park again.
Fortunately I’m a strong momma and I was able to, for the third time this morning, run across the park while schlepping a flailing toddler in my arms and chasing a distracted preschooler all the way back to the car.
Unfortunately by the time we got back to the car to retrieve the diaper bag I really didn’t want to walk all the way back across the park to the cafe again.
Fortunately I spotted a public toilet right across from the playground.
Unfortunately it was one of those super-sketchy public toilets that is a single pod and you have to pay to go inside and then a metal door slides shut behind you and I’m pretty sure meth addicts hang out in them and they are always disgusting and smell like the inside of a sewage treatment plant.
Fortunately I’m a strong momma who’d already had been through enough crazy this morning that the sketchy public toilet didn’t bother me as much as it should have so we went in anyway.
Unfortunately it was just as disgusting as I’d imagined it would be and I had to cover the entire room with toilet paper before I would allow my children to step foot inside.
Fortunately David finished his business on the toilet instead of in his pants.
Unfortunately I’d used up all of our allotted toilet paper making a semi-sanitary environment for my children and there wasn’t enough left to clean up David (remember, it’s a sketchy pay-by-the-minute public toilet with a toilet paper allowance).
Fortunately I had baby wipes in the diaper bag. They did the trick.
Unfortunately while I was cleaning David up with the baby wipes Jacob saw the giant flashing red button that was right at his eye level: the SOS button. He pushed it. Sirens went off. Lights started flashing. The metal door that had been shielding us and our poop-covered selves from the rest of the decent world crashed open.
Fortunately David didn’t even notice that he was stark naked and covered in poop in the middle of a public park. We finished getting him cleaned up, dressed him in clean pants, and walked out of the toilet as if nothing had ever happened.
Unfortunately I lost the last bit of dignity that I had been holding onto since I was in labor with my babies.
Fortunately I’m still alive to tell you this story. I didn’t die of embarrassment or a heart attack or a staph infection from the disgusting public toilet. And in the end, I guess that’s all that really matters.
Unfortunately this is a true story.
Fortunately I know I will laugh about this some day.