Monday, June 4, 2007


By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and
does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we're in
the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window.

People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-
3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume.
It's always fully cranked. There've been several embarrassing
times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been
masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more
than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade
with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the
restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming
from the second to the last stall:

"Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet
paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet
paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go
stinkies on the potty?"

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been
in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full ... 4? 5?
Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut
out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued, "Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh,
dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going
stinkies on the potty?

Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh ... Mommy! I'm trying to see in
dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna
get some candy!"

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side
of me. Where is a screaming newborn when you need her? Good grief.
This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long
time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, "Why don't you look
in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both
have some!"

"No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies. Oh! Mommy!" He started to
gag at this point. "Uh oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy,
doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!" As the gags
became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall. I quickly flushed
the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with
myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can
be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing
monologue will be long gone.

"Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done
going stinkies! Get up! Get up!" He grunted as he tried to pull me off.
Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet
outside my door.

"Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da
door? What were you wooking at, Mommy? You wooking at the
wady's feet?" More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried
to assess the situation.

"Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now,
Mommy." He started pounding on the door. "Mommy, don't you want
to wash your hands? I want to go out!!"

I saw that my "wait 'em out" plan was unraveling. As I sheepishly
opened the door, and found an open sink, I thought, Where's the fine
print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of
my privacy?

But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed
bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all
away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives
with her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses
public restrooms )


Jenny said...

OMG!! That would cure me of using public restrooms too! LOL

Toni said...

OMG! I thought that was you until the end! I would have been horrified!

Stacy said...

I have a similar problem with my children....only the liquor store.