I recently came to the conclusion that there is a secret childhood game that my children are desperately trying to win.
They are very sneaky about it so it’s taken me a few years to catch on but now I’m totally on to them. The only problem is that unless I want to deal with pee puddles on the floor in the middle of a store or in the van, I have to let the children play this game.
Well played, children. Well, played.
What is this game?
Well, it is a game called ‘put your pee in every single toilet you can expect the one at home’. I haven’t quite figured out what they win if they accomplish this task, perhaps a big golden toilet trophy, but none the less my children are completely devoted to trying to win.
It never fails. We leave the house and someone says, “Mommy, I’ve gotta go potty… badly.”
They add the badly so that I know they are serious and on the verge of peeing in their pants. Why this sudden urge to pee 5 minutes after we’ve left the house or as soon as we step foot in the store is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
But like every mother who doesn’t want to do the walk of shame away from a puddle of pee in the store aisle or wrestle with a car-seat to put the lining back in after it’s been washed, we find a bathroom.
Because I have multiple children, I get the added joy of playing this game multiple times. Each time one child has to potty, I will ask… “Do you have to go potty? Do you have to go potty? Do you have to go potty?” And they will swear up and down that they don’t but give it about 10 minutes and it never fails that someone else suddenly has to pee so badly their eye balls are turning yellow.
I do have one saving grace in this whole process… Hayden. I feel that he is old enough to take one younger sibling to the bathroom, if I can see the bathroom from where I am standing. Sure, it makes me nervous because who knows what creepers are lurking in the bathroom but I can’t expect him to pee in the ladies room until he is 18.
Our Costco store is especially good for this scenario. From the check out, I can see the bathroom which is good because by now all small children have to pee and urgently.
As I scan and pay for the 5 gallon bucket of mayo, that was an impulse and that we really don’t need, as well as all my other items, Hayden takes one child to use the bathroom. I keep the reamining children with me and then we make a b-line there as soon as I sign away their college fund because 5 gallons of mayo, tampons and other jumbo sized items aren’t cheap.
But this time was different. As the cashier handed me the receipt, Hayden comes walking back alone.
“Where is Jacob?” I said, my mind in a panic. “Where’s Jacob!?”
“In the bathroom still,” Hayden says causally.
I roll my eyes and I push my hip into the shopping cart forcing my body weight against it to start it moving. Getting a full Costco cart moving is a little like getting an elephant up and standing. You gotta use use those forceful hips.
“Why didn’t you stay with him?” I asked frazzled and freaking out, “You guys are buddies. We use the buddy system, you don’t leave your buddy.”
Hayden looked at me and calmly said, “Mom, he wouldn’t come. He was still going poop… I think.”
“Well then you wait for him,” I scolded.
By now we were nearing the bathroom and I watched the people exiting, smirk and smile. I also heard Jacob’s singing voice echo being carried through the store.
“Jacob!” I called as I sent Claire and Quinn into the woman’s side to finally let them pee, “Come out here!”
“Just a minute, mom!” Jacob yelled back as I heard the hand dryer end and then be clicked back on again.
“No, Jacob… NOW!” I yelled. “Your hands can air dry.”
I didn’t hear anything else from the bathroom but a man exited and I could tell he was trying so very hard not to laugh. Now my ‘mom spidey sense’ was on full alert… something was up.
“Jacob! YOU COME OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!” I hissed through gritted teeth.
The dryer stopped and soon Jacob rounded the corner, waddling with his pants around his ankles, bare-assing the whole store.
I stood there speechless.
“W-w-wa” I tried to begin, “W-what in the world are you doing?” I finished when I could finally get words to stumble out.
“I pooped so I was washing and drying my butt,” Jacob said like this was the most normal thing on the planet.
I shook my head and crouched down to pull up his soaking wet pants, “Toilet paper, that’s what you use to clean your butt…. like at home. Toilet paper, Jacob. Toilet paper.”
That’s it. I declare this ‘put your pee (or poop) in every single toilet you can expect the one at home’ game…
This ‘facepalm’ moment is part of Writer’s Workshop.