Of Traumatic Toilets

A friend once told me that I must be always in my head- a very accurate observation.  I am constantly thinking, mulling, self-debating, questioning, doubting, analyzing or otherwise contemplating something.  It baffles me if I ask my husband, "What are you thinking about?" and he replies, "nothing."  Nothing??!!  What is this word?    If I'm looking at my shoe I'm thinking about my shoe until it reminds me about the person who gave it to me and the guilt I felt over how much money they spent, which reminds me how much money I just spent on coffee, which makes me ponder how many cultures drink coffee and if that connects us somehow, which makes me think of Ethiopia, which makes me think of my friend who went there and how I really need to invite her over soon, which reminds me that I cant have anyone over until I clean the dishes, and then I find myself mentally sorting out friends with cleaner homes than mine.  The last time I was thinking nothing was never.

Anyway, here is a fraction of what I thought about today...

Public bathrooms are not inherently evil, but they magically turn into torture chambers if you bring young children in.  For reasons beyond my scope of understanding, a public restroom has the power to warp kids' logical thought processes, exacerbate stress levels, and slow down everyone's productive movement.  My oldest two are afraid of automatic flushers, so we use the cover-up- the-sensor trick.  But for the longest my daughter was still quite suspicious of the auto-flush.  So she would be dancing to the bathroom barely able to contain herself, then claim she didn't actually have to go once she saw the toilet.  Meanwhile my middle child will be lying on the bathroom floor or touching ALLLL the things.  Soooo we wash all the hands...so many hands.  (Repeat that process three times and see if your patience levels don't plummet.)

Then there are other loud noises that you can't control, and the room is small and echo-y and everything sounds 10x louder than it is.  So today I had my boys and I got the youngest in the little toddler seat they conveniently had in the stall, then sat the other one on the toilet and stood there dutifully covering the sensor.  Everything was going well...a little too well.  In the next minute some horribly insensitive person decided to use the hand dryer (I mean who does that, right?), which completely horrified my baby.  Now he is screaming and flailing and looks like he might not stay buckled in the seat much longer, and my almost 4 year old is having the urinating equivalent of writers block- and nothing will come out even though I know he has to go.  The baby's crying and flailing gets more intense and I can't yell the pee out of the older one, so finally I have to leave my sensor post to grab the baby, which makes the toilet instantly flush, which terrifies the older child, which makes him less able to produce pee.  Now I have two screaming boys and we are no closer to getting groceries.

Later, when we finally did get groceries, I found myself in the toy aisle.  My son was instantly drawn to the toy trucks, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a coffee sample ten feet away.  So I let him play while I sipped.  Coffee instantly makes everything better.  One of the employees asked about my tattoo and I told her it was a favorite Bible verse.  She said, "Oh, its from Colossians."  It is not from Colossions, it is from Micah.  I know this.  I should have said this.  Instead I said, "Oh, is it?"  She nodded.  Why would I do this?   Maybe I just didn't want to bring even a hint of confrontation into my coffee time.  My coffee, by the way, I managed to hold upright all the way to the car while pushing the cart, because you just don't put down your coffee.

 And, when I got home just 15 minutes before the bus dropped my daughter off, I just parked the car at the end of the driveway and waited.  And 15 extra minutes of two buckled children almost would have felt like a mini vacation.  Except by that time I was out of coffee.