I was a mother of three in 2008 when I learned. I’m sharing my story with you because I wish someone told me. Flynn was 3, Molly was 2 and Teagan was 2 months old. My husband was out of town on business and I was tired of being cooped up in the house. I was leaving the house and going to a spring festival in town. I really didn’t give a crap about the festival. Basically, I wanted to kill a few hours, get some fresh air and see some other adult humans. Pitiful..I know. It was me solo with the 3 kids in a large crowd so I planned accordingly. I only have 2 hands so this was my system. Teagan in the stroller, Flynn holds the left side of the stroller and Molly holds the right and anyone who lets go will lose their middle name (I don’t know why I said that but I did). I mean can you think of anything worse???? I certainly can’t. Psshhht. I mean..what kid wants a monogrammed backpack with only two letters? What? What do you mean kids don’t care about monograms. Of course they do! It’s all the rage. Backpacks, lunch boxes, towels, dresses..etc
Anywho…we walked through the crowd like a herd of sheep. The sun was shining. I could smell carnival foods cooking, there were various craft booths and live music. Everything was going great for about 10 minutes. I stopped at the street corner to form a plan of attack. What would we do first? I bent down and asked the kids if they wanted to get a bite to eat when I noticed him doing it. There he was….adjusting himself. “Flynn? What’s wrong?” Dead silence but he continued to fidget. Instantly, I began to panic. “Flynn?? We JUST went to the bathroom at home and AGAIN in the parking lot! How could you possibly have to go AGAIN?” Now he is moving his legs and grabbing himself like he is about to blow a gasket. ” I gotta go. I gotta go bad.” [thinking] OMG? This kid is a damn faucet! Where can I let him go? There are too many people around to go behind a tree or a car. I quickly look for the closest restaurant There is one less than 20 feet where we were standing but there is a huge sign staring me down that reads NO PUBLIC RESTROOM”. [thinking] “F–k” Now Flynn is panicking. “Mommy, hurry!!!!” There is one thing I knew about Flynn. He loves to pee often and he never cries wolf. I needed a plan…fast. Then I see it across the street in a parking lot…a porta potty. I guess that will have to work.
We start walking as fast as their toddler feet will allow us. I know better than to utter the word “hurry” to a toddler. I’m not sure why but the word “hurry” flusters them and actually slows them down. It’s the kiss of death if you want to get somewhere fast. So..I just picked up the stroller pace and the two holding on for dear life trotted along at record speed. Flynn still holding himself and whimpering and now Molly joins him “I have to go potty too.” Thinking [Bullshit. You don't have to go. That's what the rest of the world calls power of suggestion.] “Ok, honey. You can try to go too.” This totally screws up my porta potty plan. My original plan was to let Flynn go in and pee while I waited right outside with the girls. But when a little girl has to go…. it requires logistics.
We arrive at the porta potty and Flynn has to pee so badly that he is practically crying and is pleading “Hurry it’s coming out”, so the few people who were waiting, allow us to cut the line…go figure? I quickly review the plan with him. “Go in, DON’T touch ANYTHING. I’ll be right here as soon as your done.” Eager to go he shook his head yes and used every muscle in his 3 year old body to open the porta potty door. Molly can’t help but notice that Flynn let go of the stroller. “Mommy? Is fwin gonna woze his middwle name?” I try to stay sane even though I’m losing my freaking mind. “No Molly. He had permission.” The lady who let us cut her in line is in her 50’s and is looking at me like she has been in my shoes once but we don’t have time to recap. She keeps smiling and waving to Molly while I am dealing with Flynn. As soon as the porta potty door shut Flynn screamed “It’s too dark and the potty is way too big!!!” I cracked the door ajar and saw that the toilet was chest high. I asked the nice lady in line to keep an eye on the girls so I could help Flynn. [thinking] “That’s safe! She is a complete stranger and I’m leaving my 2 youngest under her eye? What the hell is wrong with me?” I quickly grab Flynn and let him stand on the toilet lid and pee into the toilet while I hold onto his back belt buckle so he doesn’t fall in. [Thinking] “I’ll be washing those shoes with some bleach when we get home.” I help him off the potty and let him finish adjusting his pants back as I step outside to check on the girls. The stranger did a great job babysitting. [thinking] “mmm? Maybe I should get her number. I smile and give her a heartfelt “Thank you so much!” “Not a problem” she responds.
Flynn is a man of routine and quirks much like his father. What is taking him so long to come out? “Mommy there isn’t a sink.” I try to settle him down as I yell through the door “It’s ok buddy, I have hand sanitizer just come on out. Your sister still has to go.” Flynn is confused “but I need to wash my hands and I don’t see a sink!” I take a deep breath and tell him in a stern tone. “It’s OK! Just come out here.” He comes out but is now crying because I “yelled” at him. thinking [I know you are only three but you need to grow a set if you're gonna make it in the world. Honestly child???]
Now Molly is doing the pee pee dance. Teagan is still sound asleep in her car seat and Flynn is holding my leg crying. I pry Flynn off of my leg and have him hold onto the stroller. [thinking] “Wow! Going to the bathroom is a freaking long ass process. I bet that nice lady that let us cut her in line and then watched my girls is kicking herself now.” Flynn is definitely the type of kid that would freak out if I left him under a stranger’s care. This should be something a good parent would celebrate but in this moment it annoyed me. I have Flynn keep one hand on the stroller and the other hand holding the porta potty door ajar slightly while I use both of my hands to help my 2 year old Molly use the potty without touching anything. I help her with her tights, pants and pull up and I have her hold her shirt up. I did my best to push her tights and pants way down but I am distracted by Flynn who isn’t paying any attention and almost slams his fingers in the door multiple times. I scold Flynn in a stern voice so he doesn’t get injured. “Flynn! Watch your fingers and don’t let go of that stroller!” He wells up with tears AGAIN… so I retaliate in a happy voice with: “It’s alright buddy. You are doing alright. Just be carefull!” to counteract his tears. Now..back to Molly. I grab her under the arm pits and hold her over the toilet in the air and tell her to go. She starts laughing “Mommy I can’t pee in the air. I need to sit.” I give a simple answer because she has no idea how disgusting sitting on a porta potty actually is. “No…not always. We don’t always sit. Go on..go pee pee. Or…[I give a better second option] You can just go in your pull up? It’s ok with Mommy if you pee in your pull up. Would you like to do that?” She answers “Mommy??? Babies pee in their pants not big girls? I don’t want a time out. I wanna go on the big potty.” I was afraid she would say that. She is dangling in the air over the disgusting potty. I grab her legs and hold them at a 90 degree angle. The rose air freshener smell is making me ill. “Ok. Go ahead” I’m irritated now and sweating. [thinking] “Would have been easier if she went in her damn pull up.” Confused but obedient she pees as she is dangling in the air. “All done Mommy!” I smile as I wipe some sweat off my brow. “OK! Wonderful! You did a great job.” I put Molly down and just before I can get her pants up, Flynn swings the door open and exposes Molly which makes her cry and her cry wakes up the baby. Aggravated I look at Flynn and ask him….”WHAT???” His voice gets soft “Are you done yet?” “If you would stop interrupting me???…. I would be!” He cracks the door ajar like I originally instructed him to do and I console Molly and help her pull up her tights and her pants. [crying] “Mommy all those people saw my fanny.” I answer in my empathetic voice ” No they didn’t sweetheart. They weren’t even looking!” [LIE]
Teagan is now turning a dark red almost purple because she is so hungry she can’t see straight. The strange lady in line is trying to console her by rocking the stroller back and forth. I hurry Molly along and as we are finally stepping out of the porta potty Molly squeals in a chipmunk voice “Mom!!! I’m all wet!” Confused I reach over and grab her. OMG…she is soaked! Apparently, I didn’t have the angle right on the air pee??? Teagan still screaming and Flynn is apologizing over and over again for opening the door! I am frantically searching for Teagan’s pacifier, giving everybody a squirt of Purell and consoling the big kids at the same time [a bad case of mother ADD] “Flynn..settle down. Sorry Molly! Let’s get back to the car and I have a change of clothes for you there!” So off we went. As I move the stroller forward I realize that the pacifier fell on the ground…I look left, I look right, I wipe it on my shirt and give it to her in desperation for some peace. For some strange reason those germs didn’t bother me as much as the porta potty germs??
My daily outing became a total bust with one little trip to the porta potty. We made our way back through the crowd. All 3 were crying for different reasons and Molly was soaking wet. I was a mess, my kids were a mess. We had no business being in public. When I find myself in these little predicaments I tend to smile at the people gawking and march forward as if this is normal. Something about that makes me want to laugh out loud. We made it to the car. I gave Flynn a snack, changed Molly’s clothes and fed Teagan and vowed….I will never ever take them to a porta potty ever again!!! This was the day I bought a tiny little potty and left it in the back of the suburban. Best invention ever!!! We use it often. Some say gross. Screw them. They have no idea what gross is. New mom’s…especially mother’s with daughters. BUY IT TODAY! Consider yourself warned.