I remember overhearing my mom tell one of her friends that, thanks to my brother, she knew where every restroom was in every single store in our town.
My brother had the bladder of a squirrel.
Olivia…oh sweet Olivia, sometimes has to get out of the tub three times during a half hour bath to pee.
So I now know what my mom was talking about.
We can go to the bathroom the minute we arrive at the library and then have to stop after picking out eighteen book (that takes all of ten minutes.)
It was no surprise that as soon as we arrived at my nephew’s (from this point forward called the Little Monster, thanks to him spending a day with Olivia and Gram) birthday party last weekend that Olivia needed to pee.
I was helping my mom with something and so asked Alyssa to help Olivia use the bathroom.
After the minimum required eyeroll, Alyssa did as I asked and escorted Olivia to the bathroom that was attached to the pavilion. They returned three and a half second later with Alyssa huffing and sighing and saying that Olivia refused to use the toilet.
“It looks weird!” Olivia declared.
I said, “Okay, but if you won’t use that bathroom, you’ll have to go across the street and use the Port-a-Potty that’s by the park.”
Olivia gave me a look that said her bladder would burst and hell would freeze over before that happened.
I decided to try something different, even though I knew the outcome. I took her hand and pulled her to the other side of the pavilion from where the women’s bathroom was located. I started to enter the door on that side when she realized what we were doing. She almost fainted.
I’d tried to take her into the men’s bathroom.
Now, in my defense, I knew no one was in there. I also knew we wouldn’t get past the threshold because yeah, there was no way on God’s green earth that Olivia would step foot in a men’s restroom.
*Sidebar: When we were trying to potty train Olivia my mom would threaten O with boy undies if she wet the girlie ones we’d put on her that morning. That punishment alone went a long way toward helping O become potty trained. Mean? Perhaps, but it also led to way fewer puddles of pee over the years we were dealing with potty training. End sidebar.*
My detour to the door of the men’s room was my attempt to show Olivia that were worse things than a ‘weird’ toilet in the ladies room.
After she got over shock at my divergent behavior, I took her back to the women’s restroom and we looked at the weird toilet.
Know what was weird about it? It was metal instead of porcelain (are toilets actually porcelain? Whatever.) It also didn’t have an obvious-to-an-eight-year-old way of flushing. There was a button on the wall behind the toilet. I knew it was for flushing but Olivia didn’t.
I tried to show her how it was a perfectly fine toilet. Wanna know how far I went? Of course you do. I peed first. That’s how I showed her it was functional and not weird at all. After I went, she happily yanked up her dress, pulled down her underwear and relieved herself with a sigh. I flushed the toilet, we washed our hands and exited that restroom triumphant.
The rest of the party was drama-free as far as the bathrooms go. After that initial visit, Olivia was comfortable enough to use that bathroom as often as necessary, with either me or Alyssa as an escort.
Sometimes you’ve just got to embrace the weird. That’s all I’m saying.