There is so much they don’t tell you when you get pregnant. They don’t tell you about the sleepless nights and the fact that you’re supposed to both nap while your baby naps and also somehow get everything done during that same time. They maybe do tell you that you will love your child more than you thought you could possibly love anyone in the world, but you’ll sort of smirk and think you know what love is. They do not tell you that breastfeeding will be difficult, separation a struggle and that one day, your baby boy will no longer want to accompany you to the ladies’ room when you are out together.
They don’t tell you this because they don’t want you to panic.
But I don’t care what they want.
I panicked anyway.
Look, I don’t mind copping to being a helicopter parent, but I want to know— helicopter or a single engine parent, how can anyone be okay sending their child (their baby!) into the men’s room? What if some maniac is in there? What if some flasher is in there? What if the kid gets locked in and can’t work the lock on the door? And I’m not even getting into the whole Witness issue.
Is it me, or is the bathroom sort of a house of horrors?
Yes, I know that not everyone is a pedophile and/or a pervert, but where my children are concerned, I am not comforted by statistics. So it was very scary for me to send my son out of my sight and into the men’s room.
I resisted it as long as I could, urging him to use the ladies’ room. And that was fine until he was about six, when he put his foot down. He wasn’t going to go to the ladies’ room because there were girls there, and yuck, obviously.
“Can you wait until we get home?” I asked soon after he drank his body weight in lemonade. He shook his head.
This, indeed, presented a dilemma.
We were at Barnes & Noble, he was holding some Thomas trains that he was asking me to buy and we headed towards the men’s room.
We stood outside of it for a while, him wondering what I was waiting for; me not knowing what I was waiting for.
Finally, a man emerged. I don’t remember him, but apparently I trusted him enough to ask if there was anyone in the bathroom. He wasn’t sure, and went back to check, emerging to reassure me that the bathroom was empty.
“Go quickly!” I told my son. “I’ll stand here and talk to you.”
I kept a monologue going for the three minutes when he was inside and when he emerged I hugged him as though he had returned from battle.
“How did it go?” I asked, breathing in his hair and noticing that his hands were dry and probably unwashed.
I can’t say that future bathroom trips were easier. Obviously I couldn’t always secure an empty bathroom, nor could I prevent other people from entering it. I did tell my son to scream if anything strange happened. “Like what?” he wanted to know. “Like if someone tries to touch you or you get a weird vibe from them,” I told him.
But I still worry.
In a way, I wish we could have unisex bathrooms. I mean, what’s the big deal? Of course what I really wish is that we lived in a world where children could be safe and parents wouldn’t have to worry about a trip to the bathroom at the local mall.
For more of Marinka, visit her personal blog Motherhood in NYC and The Mouthy Housewives, where she doles out advice as though it were candy. Mmm … candy. Also, follow her on Twitter, where she never refers to herself in the third person, but does have a potty mouth. Sorry!
Photo Credit: Morguefile
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