Public Bathrooms: Just Another Reason My Children Will Need Therapy

In February, the girls and I took our first long road trip since the previous October (note: the definition of a long road trip is a drive that requires a bathroom stop). I already knew bathrooms were a challenge for Babykins. She’s still small enough that she’s uncomfortable sitting on a regular-sized toilet and the echos of most public bathrooms make her nervous. On this particular trip, I had already given up on getting her to pee on an actual toilet–the little travel potty in the back of the van would suffice for her. However, I still needed a real bathroom.

Since it was lunchtime, I found a McDonald’s for us to stop at. I strapped Sweet Pea into the stroller, helped Babykins out of the van, and cheerfully announced, “Okay, Mommy has to go potty before we order food!” We traipsed inside and found the bathroom.

In typical traveling-solo-with-littles fashion, my best laid plans went to pot immediately. The handicap stall, the stall big enough for the stroller to squeeze into, was out of order. Since I had already unloaded the girls out of the van, we were committed to this stop and I really needed to use the restroom. Thankfully, it was a small bathroom that only had one other stall. I parked the stroller in front of the stall door, firmly told Babykins not to move away from the stroller, and locked myself into the stall.

Sweet Pea started crying as soon as I stepped out of her sight. “It’s okay, Sweet Pea,” I crooned, “Momma’s right here!” Sweet Pea just cried harder. “Babykins, can you play patty-cake with Sweet Pea?” I called out.

“Otay!” her little voice replied, “Pat cake, pat cake. . .” Then disaster struck.

As I mentioned earlier, it was a small bathroom. When Babykins moved to the front of the stroller, she stepped directly under the hand dryer. The AUTOMATIC hand dryer. The dryer roared to life directly above Babykins’s head.

I rushed to finish my business as both girls started screaming. “Babykins, move away from the dryer!” I shouted. Then the automatic toilet flushed and both girls screamed louder. I burst out of the stall and Babykins attempted to scale my leg like a terrified cat while Sweet Pea thrashed in the stroller.

I can only imagine what horrors people outside of the bathroom thought were occuring as I tried to calm my hysterical girls down. After a few minutes, I managed to convince Babykins that I needed to wash my hands but I would dry them on my pants. I wouldn’t make the hand dryer turn on. She continued to tremble by my leg as I changed an equally perturbed Sweet Pea on the changing table. A quick text message asking a friend to use the bathroom at her house as our next potty break ensured that we would not have to endure another torturous public bathroom experience on this particular trip.

Consequently, our road trips from now on will be limited to a) trips that my husband can come with us or b) places that have friends along the way so we can use their bathrooms.

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3 Comments on “Public Bathrooms: Just Another Reason My Children Will Need Therapy”

  1. Rebekah says:

    Oh my! 🤣 I can picture all of it! I had a bathroom experience like this one time on the way home from visiting my sister, and I, too, said to myself “Never again!”. I stuck pretty hard to that one.

    When I had finally gotten everyone changed/pottied/cleaned up (there had been a number two potty accident) and out of the bathroom and back to being buckled in their seats, I realized I had left my keys on top of the hand dryer!!!
    I seriously can’t even remember if I just ran back in real quick and hoped for the best or if I decided it was too risky and just unbuckled everyone again to go back and get them.

  2. […] via Public Bathrooms: Just Another Reason My Children Will Need Therapy — An Illustrated Parsonage Lif… […]


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