The worst thing about taking toddlers out in public is when they have to go potty. Or trying to use the potty yourself while you yell, “Don’t touch that! Get your hands off the floor!”
Here’s one rousing story out of our three public potty breaks today:
This afternoon, we were all at our limit during our last stop of the day. It was after 3pm, and we’d left the house at 9am. My Costco grocery list was simple – butter, milk, strawberries. I asked my 5 year old to repeat it with me so I wouldn’t forget, “Butter, Milk, Strawberries, nothing else!”. Any more exertion and that baby boy in my belly might arrive 2.5 weeks early! It had been a long. day. Did I mention that?
We trekked across the Costco parking lot and I hoisted my 2.5 year old into the cart (but unfortunately sat her in a less than desirable spot, and had to remove her immediately). She insisted on sitting in the basket of the cart. My 5 year old pointed out the picture on the seat with an “x” through a child sitting in the basket. I nodded, “Yeah, I know; you’re not supposed to sit in there, but she’s going to today.” I figured 37.5 week pregnant women are allowed to be bad mothers once in awhile.
With my belly heavy and aching, we soldiered through a multitude of sample carts, me loading the kids up with their own personal snack bar. My toddler had an impressive snack buffet laid out on top of my reusable bags in the cart in no time at all.
Tragedy struck briefly when she spilled all but two pieces of popcorn out of her caramel/cheese popcorn mix, but that was quickly remedied with another quick swipe at the popcorn sample cart. No apologies here.
We passed a dried pear man, who wanted to tell me all about the 11 pounds of pears that went into this one bag of dried pear slices. I nodded and raised my eyebrows, feigning absolute amazement, and pushed on. We were almost there! The land of milk and honey (or butter) was near!
But adversity was on the horizon – my toddler had begun to complain about needing to go potty. AGAIN.
I reminded her she’d JUST been to the potty at the last store – and she didn’t even go! She could wait two minutes (okay, 20 minutes, until we got home. But toddlers have a terrible sense of time, and it’s very easy to take advantage of their ignorance.).
I halted at the Dr. Praeger’s cart of veggie burgers, and maybe that was my biggest mistake. But I’d been so intrigued by these veggie burgers for so long; I had to try one. I chatted with the veggie burger lady for a moment, and it was then my 2 year old began complaining in earnest.
Moving more quickly now, we sped to the end of the veggie burger aisle where, dangit, they had a gluten-free chicken nugget sample cart. This is not something my kids get but for very rare occasions. So, although I was tempted to speed on, I saw my 5 year old eyeing the samples and I knew that wouldn’t fly. We stopped for a nugget. The sample lady had to tell me of all the salubrious benefits of these wonderful nuggets (which I wasn’t impressed by).
Feeling ever-increasing unease at my younger daughter’s persistence that she had to go potty, I smiled and rushed away from the nugget cart.
We finally made it to the butter aisle whereupon our predicament reached a peak. The toddler was now clutching her crotch, eyes wide with alarm, eyes teary. I thought, “Oh crap; I’ve misjudged the situation!”.
Desperately, I raked my eyes over the butter display. Where was the organic, unsalted butter?? I looked from the butter case, to my agonized daughter, back to the butter. “Oh God, where is the butter!!!”, I cried to myself.
I gave up.
I implored my oldest to hurry and we raced back the way we’d come. The veggie burgers and pear slices were all a blur as we zoomed towards the front of the store. Yes, the butter is about as far away as you can get from the restrooms at our Costco.
We drew nearer and nearer to a sample cart we’d neglected to hit before and I sensed my curious 5 year old starting to lag. Then the sample lady said something to her or me, I don’t know which. In a frenzy, I barked, “Don’t stop; keep going!!!”, as if our lives depended on it.
At long last, we’d reached the Promised Land, the restrooms! What a gleaming, glorious site! I whisked my 2 year old out of the cart and into the very first open stall. In my haste, I’m not even sure I lined the seat with toilet paper before I sat her on it.
She delicately tinkled and she was done.
No impressive explosion of any sort.
I ran my extremely pregnant self through Costco for THAT?
It was so anticlimactic.
THIS, my friend, is why you should never give your child an entire carton of chocolate milk when you’re still two errands away from home. In fact, I suggest no liquids for 24 hours previous to your outing, just in case.