In a three-year-old’s world there are a lot of things that can distract from the need to take action when the urge to potty strikes. At home, my son sometimes gets so involved in his play that he needs to be reminded that nature won’t just leave him alone because he can’t find a spare moment to heed its call.
Accidents at home are one thing, but accidents that happen when the family is out are doubly inconvenient. We quickly learned the habit of making the little man empty his bladder before we head out of the house. We continue to do this as a precaution, though I’m not sure it’s necessary anymore.
It is not necessary because our little guy has developed a most disturbing hobby. He loves to patronize public restrooms. He did not inherit this trait from me.
The boy is fascinated with urinals. While I agree, urinals are amazing pieces of technology, allowing men to get in and get out of the restroom faster than ever in recorded history, my appreciation for them falls far short of fascination.
Some people like to go around to different cafes, making mental notes of which ones have the best lattes or creamiest cheesecakes. Like these folks, my boy is also an amateur critic. He specializes in comparing our community’s urinals.
The first criterion that sets a particular urinal apart from the competition is height. He bursts into the restroom scouting out a “little one.” I’m always relieved when he finds one, because I’m never comfortable with his accuracy when he has to aim high.
Another exciting feature is the self-flushing urinal. I appreciate this advancement also, as I don’t like for him to have to touch anything not absolutely necessary in the public restroom. Whereas flushing occurs to him to be optional at home, he insists on being a good citizen and flushing even the most repulsive receptacles in the public arena.
While I try to be patient with the boy’s desire to chart all the public restrooms in town, it really drives me up the wall in restaurants. He usually waits until our food comes before announcing that he has to go. In the olden days he could go with Mommy sometimes, but now he’s getting big for that, and he’s also noted a disturbing lack of urinals in the bathrooms Mommy frequents.
Instead of eating our food before it gets cold, we are off to the men’s room. Hopefully, there is no novelty in this one to catch hold of his imagination and derail him from focusing on the task at hand. Regardless, there are a lot of steps to a successful toddler trip to the bathroom. These steps take time.
Time-consuming procedures are bad enough in a clean, comfortable bathroom, which some restaurant bathrooms are certainly not. I hover around him, making every effort to slap his hands away from anything that is not soap or water. Even so, I usually emerge with a waning appetite. The cold food that is now waiting for me doesn’t do much to help.
It may be that urinals are something that are helping the boy establish his gender identity. I’m no psychologist, so they may just be something that allow the kid to pee at a wall. That’s a good reason to like them too, I suppose. Either way, I can’t wait until he can hold it until after dinner.