“Are you almost done?” I asked Natalie.
She grinned up at me, her legs swinging as she sat on the toilet. “In a minute,” she lied. She wouldn’t be done in a minute. It would be more like ten minutes.
I drummed my fingers on the silver stall door. We were in the Wal-Mart bathrooms, a place that I’d prefer to avoid. But the second we stepped in the store, Natalie had claimed that she had to use the potty. So here we were.
You see, Natalie has become serious about potty training in the past two weeks. She knew how to go before that, don’t get me wrong, but she went when she felt like it. Meaning she probably went in the toilet about once per day. The rest went in her Pull Up. I figured, fine, I wasn’t going to press her even though the experts all suggested keeping her in underwear and just letting her go in them until she understood that she had to use the potty.
I’m sorry, but no. My husband is in Korea, therefore I had no patience to follow her around with a paper towel and Resolve.
So I just waited until the flip was switched, the flip that told her that it was time to use the potty. All the time.
And then it happened.
I made the mistake of telling her that all stores have a bathroom. Natalie made a point of wanting to see all these bathrooms. She had gasped and went, “Wal-Mart has a bathroom?” and I had hesitated before admitting that yes, it did.
Now we have to see the bathrooms wherever we go. We’ve seen Wal-Mart bathrooms, Target bathrooms, commissary bathrooms, Petco bathrooms....
And like I said, she rarely even goes in them. She just walks in, gazes around in awe as though she’s never seen a toilet before in her life, plops down and just SITS.
“Natalie,” I groaned, in the Wal-Mart bathroom. “Are you almost done?”
“Not yet,” she answered.
“Look, five more minutes, and then we’re going,” I said firmly.
Natalie shook her head. “Nope.”
I gritted my teeth. Was this how it would be from now on? And ew, I spotted a brown stain and hoped to God it was mud. How could Natalie find public bathrooms thrilling?
“Okay, all done.” I tried to lift Natalie off the toilet but she gripped the sides.
“I.AM.NOT.DONE!” she screamed. Her voice echoed around the bathroom. I overheard a person mumble, “Someone is mad.”
“Natalie, I just want to get this over with. It stinks in here.”
“It smells nice,” Natalie insisted.
In the end, it took another ten minutes before Natalie reluctantly admitted that she didn’t have to go. (“The pee is not coming now,” she informed me seriously. No crap, Natalie.)
The other day we went to Target. I held my breath as we walked through the doors. Please, don’t let Natalie want to see the bathrooms…
Actually, she didn’t say a word about them and I thought, hooray, maybe her infatuation with public toilets was waning. I headed over to my section where I was admiring some sweaters. I was in the middle of deciding whether or not to get one when Natalie said,
“I have to pee.”
I pretended I didn’t hear her. You have to understand, she LIES when she says that half the time. I didn’t WANT to stand in a stall again. So I just lifted up a sweater and held it against me.
“What do you think?” I asked Natalie.
She frowned. “I have to pee. I HAVE TO PEEEEE!”
An old woman walking by tossed me a mean look as if to say, “Why are you shopping when your precious daughter is informing you that she needs to urinate?”
“She’s lying!” I wanted to shout back. “She’s most likely LYING through her baby teeth, I assure you!”
“Do you really have to pee?” I said to Natalie, putting the sweater back.
So into the dreaded stall we went.
“Five minutes,” I said.
Natalie arranged herself on the toilet, her little arms clasped in her lap. She looked as though she could stay there all day. She probably could, if I let her. Those creepy Yo Gabba Gabba characters should do a show on the germs found in public restrooms.
“Natalie, are you done? I’d like to shop. We’re in Target, the land of awesome-ness.”
Natalie didn’t seem moved. “I’m peeing,” she said seriously.
Only she wasn’t.
“Don’t you want to look at some cool stuff? We’ll even look at the toys,” I bribed.
“After I pee.”
Five minutes later, Natalie was all, “I peed!”
When I peeked in the bowl, I saw nothing. “Are you sure?”
“Fine, great, you peed. Whatever gets us out of here,” I agreed, bringing her to the sinks where we’d spend another five minutes since she thinks public sinks are fascinating too.
Tomorrow we have to go to the grocery store.
And I can almost bet we’ll be making a trip to the restrooms.