Friday, December 7, 2007

Very Public Restroom

Ella is very observant, and she feels the need to announce to everyone what everyone else, including herself, is doing. When she uses it to tell on herself or other people, this tendency is often times helpful, for example, "Mommy, I opened the front door all by myself!" or, "Mommy, Addison is eating shards of glass!" Her announcements are often humorous, as in, "Mommy, I just did a poop that looks like a snail!" Just as often it is amusing, though, her commentary can turn your ears red. Take, for example, "Daddy, Mommy just passed gas!"

Ella hit the jackpot of Little-Kid-With-a-Big-Mouth situations in the bathroom of Barnes and Noble last February. She claimed she had to pee, so she and I headed to the ladies' room. There were two other people in the restroom when we got there. One was washing her hands, the other was in one of the stalls. Ella didn't notice the latter until we were in the stall next to hers. "Mommy, is there someone else in here?" she asked, her voice reverberating off the tile floor and walls. "Yes, there's someone else in here," I said quietly. "Now hurry up and go to the bathroom." And then the noises started next door.

"Oops! Somebody passed gas!" Then, even louder, "Oops! Somebody passed gas again! Mommy, did you hear that gas?" And so started the litany of mortifying questions and play-by-play commentary.

"Okay, buddy, go potty," I whispered, hoping to hurry her along. But when I didn't answer her question, she posed it again. "Mommy, did you hear that gas?" "Yes, I heard it, now hurry up and go potty," I whispered in her ear.

She then started imitating the grunts that were now coming from next door. No amount of whispered bribes or hushed threats could stop her from laughing at each noise.

Finally, Ella peed. Thanking God, I lifted her off the seat. No sooner had she wiped, though, when the lady next door committed the ultimate act of fodder--she had a bowel movement.

"Mommy, did you hear that? Poops!" Ella yelled joyously. And then, sweet Jesus, the woman did it again. I had to get my two-year-old out of there, stat. But when I picked her up she proclaimed loudly, "I have to go poops, too!" "No, you don't," I tried to convince her, "Now let's go." And then, more noises next door. "Uh! Poops again!" "Shhhhh!" I hissed. "I do! I do have to go poops!" she said excitedly. And what do you say to that? With my luck, she really did have to go and I'd be the mom whose kid went in her pants because I didn't believe her, so I sighed and put her back on the toilet.

Try as she would (and she sure tried), Ella couldn't force out a sympathy bowl movement. Her efforts, though, were rewarded with a couple of toots of gas, after which she shrieked, "Did you hear that, Mommy? Gas! I passed gas, too!" I confirmed that I had, indeed, heard her accomplishment, and implored her, once again, to hurry up. "Hey, did you hear that?" she yelled through the stall wall. The noises next door had subsided and I heard the sound of toilet paper being pulled from the roll. It would be beyond embarrassing for us and the lady next door to come face-to-face, so now it was a race to get out of there before she emerged from her stall. I pulled Ella off the toilet and yanked her pants up. "I still have to poop! I still have to poop!" she protested and I threw her over my shoulder and headed for the door. There was no time for hand washing--we would have to use sanitizer. The skipped step wasn't going to get by her, though. "Mommy, we have to wash hands! We forgot to wash hands!" she yelled in dismay as the door swung shut behind us.

Just because we had narrowly escaped the world's most awkward bathroom situation didn't mean the humiliation was over, though. "Daddy, Mommy said I couldn't go poops and she wouldn't let me wash my hands!" Ella shouted across the store as soon as she saw Steve. Heads throughout the fiction and religion sections swiveled the get a good look at the loud mouthed little girl and her unsanitary mother. People in the cafe put down their lattes and scones in disgust. "What happened in there?" Steve asked. "And why didn't you let her poop?" "Look," I said, "What happens in the bathroom really ought to stay in the bathroom. Now let's get out of here--I have to pee."


  1. Oh gees. Sympathy here. My daughter does stuff like that, too. It is embarrassing (unless it is someone else doing it!)

  2. I am thinking of starting a comedy club in the women's bathroom of Peoria's B&N. The comments coming from kids in the stalls is better than most of the skits done on SNL over the last 10 years.

  3. I'm wetting my pants! That was so funny!