“I’m peeing,” my toddler casually states from his car seat in the back.
Activate panicked and flustered parents.
My partner and I quickly exchanged desperate looks as I hopped out of our vehicle, unbuckled our son with lightning fast speed, fumbled a mask onto both of us, and hustled towards the bathroom at the back of the Kwik Trip store, all while mentally amping myself up for this next series of events. This is what we have been training for. We can do this!
Our child has been successfully potty-trained for over a year now. It has been glorious! Bye-bye, diapers and constant assistance. Hello, freedom for both the parents and toddler. However, one minor issue we’ve run into in our potty-training journey is… A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC! There is no chapter on that in the potty-training literature.
Our 4 year old has only been exposed to a couple toilets, the ones at home and one at daycare. That’s it. Now, as we slowly venture out into society again, tackling public restrooms has been a journey that I am sure we will laugh about several years down the road. For now, it is a scene.
I dramatically swing open the bathroom door and pick the largest stall so we both can fit. Milo all of a sudden is overcome by immense fear. Both hands have a death grip on the stall door as I pull his body sideways, as if we are doing a physical comedy bit. He starts to cry and beg for an escape and I start to plead and panic.
I peel his little fingers from the stall door so I can quickly latch it closed. I immediately pull his pants and little undies to his ankles as his cries for help get louder. I start to bribe and bargain with him as I lift his little body up and place his tiny butt over the huge toilet bowl. “If you go pee, we will pick out the biggest piece of candy! I promise!” I say in complete desperation.
He has the tightest grip on the shoulders of my shirt and I wrap my arms around his whole body. There we were, crying and panting. I am forced to put both of my knees on the public bathroom floor to better support the weight of our bodies. As soon as we hear his flow begin we both are so relieved. I whisper little praises in his ear and he shouts back “I’m doing it mama!”.
We were both overcome with pride. We just conquered a potty-training battlefield together.
My son then describes all the candy he is going to get for being such a brave little boy as we wash our hands and as I struggle to lift him so he can reach the sink. Just as we are drying our hands the bathroom door opens and a woman in a FedEx uniform steps in holding a huge lollipop.
She bends down so she is at my son’s level and says, “I heard you went potty! Good job, buddy!” She then hands him this a huge lollipop and his eyes light up. She proceeds to look at me with a huge smile and says “You’re doing great, mama.” Then she casually walks away like she didn’t just make my heart explode.
As we confidently strutted out of Kwik Trip, I quickly scanned the gas station pumps to spot the woman from the bathroom. I watched as she climbed into the cab of a huge FedEx semi-truck. Her small act of kindness was so beautiful and meant so much to me. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up! I want to hand out lollipops to little ones who conquer their fear in public places and offer the parents encouraging words.
So thank you to the woman in the FedEx uniform in the Kwik Trip bathroom for your kindness, empathy and encouragement! I will never forget you.