Thursday, June 29, 2017

Oh, poop.

Yesterday I took the kids swimming and Zoë decided, once again, to take a little nap while we were cuddling in the deep end. Soon after she fell asleep, Benjamin bolted out of the pool to the bathrooms.

I've spent the past few weeks training him to use the men's bathroom. He's spent his whole life trailing after me in the women's bathroom so that is where he feels at home but we had an unfortunate run in with some overprotective parents who got really upset with me for allowing my then-four-year-old boy to use the women's restroom.

The problem was that he needed to go potty so he ran off to do so and I didn't follow him quite fast enough because I was coaxing Zoë out of the pool. Apparently—and I totally believe this—he pulled his pants down "early." But then their rant went on to say that he had "exposed" himself "indecently" to an impressionable young girl of eight, who ran to tell her father about "the boy in the girl's bathroom showing his private parts to me."

"He is four years old," I tried explaining. "I'm sure he pulled his pants down before he was in the stall but I'm equally sure it wasn't for the pleasure of exposing himself to anybody. It was because he's recently potty trained and was trying to make it to the toilet in time."

I was told he should be sent to the men's bathroom to take care of his needs if he can't "wait" until he's in the stall to drop his shorts.

"He still needs help pulling up his pants when he's finished," I objected. "Sending him into the men's bathroom alone won't solve his exposure issues since he'll probably end up waddling out to have me help him fix his swim shorts. He's just a little boy."

Kudos for talking with your daughter about these issues and kudos to her going to you when she felt there was an issue. You're doing something right and have an open channel of communication. That's great. We've had these conversations with our children also. But, let me remind you, again, that he is four years old. Not fourteen. Not forty. Four. He left babyhood, like, yesterday. He wasn't showing his private parts off; they were just there. No ill intent. He doesn't know any better. He is four. I don't know what else to tell you but please keep yelling at me in front of all these people.

It was...not the most pleasant conversation I've ever had. I just hope this little girl gets saddled with a little brother someday and has to witness his diaper changes. That will be a real shock to her system. Or maybe her parents would make sure to do every single diaper change in absolute privacy to avoid traumatizing her by the sight of a little bare bum. (She'll likely remain an only child, but I can dream about how her parents might handle a mix of children, can't I?)

Anyway, yesterday this same family was at the pool (so fun to get to run into them over and over again after the "incident") so I asked Benjamin to please make an effort to use the men's bathroom. Even just a couple of months into the swim season he's much more capable with his swim suit and can usually manage it on his own, so sending him into the men's bathroom isn't such a big deal...

...until it is.

So, there I am in the pool, five-months pregnant, with a sleeping toddler resting on my shoulder, when the peace of the afternoon is interrupted by a panicked shrieking from the bathroom.

"Mooooom! Mom! Mom! Mom!"

The pool monitor looked around a bit so I called out (quietly, because napping baby), "I think it's Benjamin. He's in the men's bathroom."

There was one man at the pool (the little girl who'd objected to Benjamin's presence in the women's bathroom earlier had come with her mother yesterday) and he was in the pool with his little boy. But his wife jumped up to volunteer to check on Benjamin for me (after all, there was no one to be upset about a woman being in the men's bathroom...except for her own husband).

"Oh, thanks, Denise," I sighed with immense gratitude.

"No problem," she said. "Don't want you to wake that sleeping baby. We've all been there."

Denise was in there for a long time. She finally came out and with a pained expression explained that he'd...had an accident. She'd done a little cleaning up and had him sitting on bunch of paper towels, but...

Oh, boy.

I tried to transfer Zoë to Rachel, but that didn't go over well. Rachel and Miriam took her to the baby pool and did their best to distract her with water games but she howled and howled the whole time I was with Benjamin who also was a big, sobbing mess. "I thought I could make it but I just couldn't!" he blubbered.

Denise helped me finish tidying up and found a plastic bag for us to cart Benjamin's soiled swim suit home in. So there we were, two women in the men's bathroom, cleaning up one epic mess.

I almost wish that father who'd gone off on me about Benjamin using the women's washroom had been there to witness this. Because this was better how?!?!

So I'm not really sure which direction to go in the future. Chance offending an overprotective parent (but have Rachel, Miriam, and myself available to run in and help him) or risk having another lovely incident like yesterday's?

In other news, my gag reflex is alive and well. I was the most sick I've ever been with this baby in the first trimester and I was more than happy to leave all of that behind, but as it turns out huuuuge poopy messes are kind of a trigger still. So that made cleaning up extra special. I mean, it would have been gross enough without being pregnant (bless Denise for sticking around to help me clean) but I could hardly keep myself together (and I've dealt with my fair share of grossness the past decade, believe me, so while I wouldn't claim to have a cast-iron stomach, I am certainly no shrinking violet either...ordinarily).


  1. Ugh, I'm sorry that guy was so mean to you! Only a few more days/weeks to deal with him and his silly daughter, thankfully.

    I can't believe you are five months along in your pregnancy already!

  2. Oh heck no. Wish I could have been there so I could have yelled at that guy.

  3. Seriously the public pools allow 4 year old and younger in the opposite sex bathroom. Even now when I send my 10 year old by himself into a men's restroom and he takes too long I open the door and shout his name to make sure he is okay. Luckily Benjamin will have a bathroom buddy soon. That guy was way out of line. And cleaning up epic poop messes are the worst.