I never used to think too much about using the public restroom in a store. You’re in, you’re out, you’re done. And then I had to do it with a baby.
A newborn was no problem. You wheel in the stroller or carry in the car seat and make googly faces at them while you pee. Aside from scarring the bejesus out of the them when you flush, it was a relatively painless experience.
Now, I have a 10-month old. We no longer take the stroller to the store. He no longer fits in the car seat. He rides in the shopping cart. The downside? You can’t take a shopping cart into the restroom.
I’m left with a couple of options:
1. Let the child crawl around on the floor while I do my business.
Have you tried to hold a child while using the toilet? Getting your pants down while holding the child isn’t so bad. With a MacGyver-like prowess you can undo the button and, shimmying like a pole dancer, you can successfully get your pants down without breaking your back or dropping the kid.
I speak from experience.
The actual peeing part is slightly awkward. I don’t know about you, but I feel kind of weird having to entertain someone on my lap while nature is calling. It’s just not right.
I’m not even going to get into wiping (you’re welcome).
But the real trick is when you have to pull up your pants. I dare you, try to pull up your pants with one hand. Difficult, yes? Now, try it with an baby who is trying to dive bomb the floor. Oh sure, you could put the baby down for a second and pull up your pants, but you already ruled out option #1.
So you wiggle and squirm and try not to squish or maime your precious while you do it. It’s damn-near impossible but with a little cussing it can be done. A word of advice? Give up after the pants are back up to your waist. Forget the button. It’s a lost cause.
You exit the stall, head held high, child covering your midsection so nobody can tell that you can’t button your own pants. But then comes the next part. The hand-washing.
You might luck out. You might get the sink area with counter tops. A dry counter is a super special bonus. You can plop the child down and quickly wash your hands. But, more often than not, you’re left with just a basin or the counter top with a built-in lake.
You can’t sit you child down in that. So, in order to wash your hands, you have to adopt a squeeze method. Hand washing is not a one-handed operation. You can’t physically rub soap into your hand without the help of the other hand. And you can’t let go of your child. So you widen your stance and squeeze the child between your arms, keeping your back straight so your beloved doesn’t get crumpled.
I’ve heard it be told that for optimally clean hands you’re supposed to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself while sudsing up to make sure you get those paws squeaky clean. All I have to say to that is, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?”. You try holding that position for 30 seconds. While singing.
Once outside the restroom, you get the child back into the shopping cart. Then you have the fun job of surreptitiously buttoning your pants without looking like a sex offender.
I’m really looking forward to the days when my child is old enough to stand unassisted.
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