Saturday, May 12, 2007

Bathroom Break...Also Seen in Time Out New York Kids

I never thought that after my two kids became potty trained, I'd find myself spending a decent portion of my life in restaurant bathrooms. You see, I don't cook very often so we eat out. A lot. My kids have no problem eating everything from Indian to Japanese to Greek to Thai, but the minute our food arrives, the call of nature rears its ugly head.
"Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom!"
With my spoon ready to dive into a piping hot bowl of pasta fagioli, I grimace, grab my purse and proceed to the john. I think if I started keeping count, in the past five years, I probably have seen the inside of over 1000 bathrooms (sometimes repeat visits) as my kids repeatedly ask me to escort them to their very own personal refuge from the dinner table.
Frankly, I cannot understand why the bathroom tops the list as the prime destination to check out during a restaurant outing. I mean, they've got crayons, a kiddy flyer filled with mazes and coloring projects, drinks with umbrellas in them, Leapsters, but no, it's the alluring draw of the bathroom that sucks them in every time.
The cross section of bathrooms I've had to suffer through over the years range from putrid to palatial. Last night, I got the chance to frequent a mid-sized single bathroom that had a deceiving pleasant odor, but something that was utterly fowl in the toilet (doesn't anyone look when they flush?) I had the opportunity to visit that wonderful locale not once, but twice. The first time was with my son, who forgot to go tinkle when my husband brought him inside to wash his hands and then, another time with my daughter who, thankfully, after finishing her meal, decided it was time to go.
Some of my potty missions have given me the chance to pick up great renovating ideas for my own home. I've spent several minutes while my son was singing show tunes behind a stall, marveling at a decadent hotel bathroom with black granite countertops, ornate sink basins with a curving antique brushed pewter faucet and mosaic basket weave beige and black tiling adorning the floor. I was so entranced by the place that the bathroom lady almost had to step in and wipe my son's butt.
Let's not forget about those lovely emergency bathroom breaks that always seem to happen in the middle of nowhere. Like the time we were driving home from the Hamptons and my daughter couldn't hold it in and we had to slip into a seedy dive bar on Sunrise Highway where she relieved herself in one of the skankiest toilets I have ever seen. We of course, coated the seat with plenty of paper to avoid picking up any creepy diseases.
Then there's the kid friendly bathrooms at those restaurant chains that have everything from changing stations to a nursing area to sinks that only start when you wave your hands in front of them. That happens to drive me nuts by the way, since I always manage to find the one sink that won't turn on. What am I, dead or something that the sensor can't tell there's a hand waving furiously in front of it trying to get some damn water so I can race back to the table before my soup gets cold?
There's also that cool motion sensor paper towel dispenser that always provides several minutes of thrills for both of my kids. They'll stick around in the bathroom for an extra five minutes just so that they can keep waving their hands in front of that machine and waste several rolls of scratchy paper.
Let's not forget about the toilets that flush themselves. I still wax nostalgic over the first time my daughter sat her three-year-old fanny on one of those sneaky contraptions when we were in a bathroom in Disneyworld. The automatic flusher got her so fa-tootsed she was afraid to pee on the toilet for days.
And then there's the sanitary napkin dispenser. When my daughter was young she used to point to it and say, "Mommy, I want a prize from that thingamajig on the wall." Now that she can read, she's moved on to ask the dreaded question, "Mommy, what's a tampon?"
I truly hope that one day my kids will finally lose their fascination with public bathrooms. But for now, I've come to accept that whenever we go out to eat, I'm destined to be on duty. Literally. It may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go.


At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My stepdaughter started leaving meals to visit the bathroom in the last several months. She's 11 so we find her new behavior puzzling. At this point we are teaching her to go to the bathroom before the meal as part of washing her hands before eating. She may also go after she's finished eating but we are trying to teach her that leaving a meal while eating is generally bad from unless an emergency.


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