This story is for anyone who has ever potty-trained or plans to pottytrain a child.
A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall.
By Shannon Popkin
My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate anddoes it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we're inthe library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People oftencomment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And younever have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fullycranked. There've been severalembarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words wouldhave been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wishedthis more than last week at Costco.Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade withme into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroomthat evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the secondto the last stall:
''Mommy , are you gonna go potty?Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy?Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now?Mommy, what are you doing?Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?'
At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been inthe bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5?Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debutout of this stall and reveal my identity.
Cade continued:'Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you?Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy!Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty?Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy!Oh ... Mommy! I'm trying to see In dere.Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get somecandy!'
I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side ofme. Where is a screaming new born when you need her?Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting.
Trying to divert him, I said, 'Whydon't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy.We'll both have some.'No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies.Oh! Mommy!'
He started to gag at this point.'Uh - oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up.Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!!Dat is so gross!!'
As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall. Iquickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I beganto reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I countfour flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheardthis embarrassing monologue will be long gone.
'Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done goingstinkies! Get up! Get up!'
He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blownlaughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door.
'Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy?You wooking under da door?What were you wooking at?Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?'
More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess thesituation.
'Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now,Mommy.'
He started pounding on the door. 'Mommy, don't you want to wash yourhands? I want to go out!!'
I saw that my 'wait 'em out' plan was unraveling. I sheepishly openedthe door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladiescrowded around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, 'Where'sthe fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away everybit of my dignit y and privacy?' But as my little boy gave me a big,cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby littlehands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known asMommy to this little fellow.
(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She liveswith her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she no longer usespublic restrooms)