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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Calling All Mothers -- Especially Those With Sons

If you (a) don't have children, or (b) get squeamish at the mere mention of bodily functions, or (c) popped in here looking for something a little thinky, I'd advise you kindly to scroll right on past the rest of this post, and go read yesterday's on the incredible and unexpectedly emotional power of Ellis Island.

But if your kids are old enough to make you quite comfortable with potty talk, please read on and help a girlfriend out. Here's the background.

I have spent the last four and a half years slowly maturing in my potty relationship to my children. First, it was resenting the fact that my husband spent whole days at work without any tiny humans sitting on his lap while he peed, while I, on the other hand, routinely had to carry a squalling Son into the bathroom with me and figure out how to get my pants up and down with one hand and arm fully occupied by a squirmy newborn.

Later I discovered that the sound of the shower soothed him, so I would put him in the bouncy seat while I took a brief respite under hot water.

By the time Daughter was born, it was such a routine occurrence for a child to have reason to find me at the precisely most inopportune moment, that closing the bathroom door simply became a giant waste of time and energy.

And then, of course, potty training required me to spend inordinate amounts of time witnessing his attempts sitting on the porcelain throne. Not to mention wiping his buns.

So the sense of privacy in the bathroom being a necessary thing, even a moderately useful thing, really even an idea at all, is well... nonexistent in our house.

But now he's four and a half. A very observant boy. One who insistently wants to know what these are. (His theory, when I refused a direct answer to his repeated question? "Light stick. Mama, can I have one? Please? I want to see how it works. Please. Such a cool light stick.")

When they were younger, Son and Daughter didn't much notice what I was doing in the bathroom because they were too interested in whatever their own agenda was in there. But now with the potty training of Daughter imminent, and both of them older, there is too much curiosity for my discretion to be sufficient to keep them from seeing what really going on on a monthly basis.

But I can't seem to get them to leave me alone in the bathroom.

AND IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Conversations about privacy sort of work. But not really. After all, I still have to serve as their witness, their wiper, their helper. Once they are completely self sufficient in the potty department, I imagine the notion of privacy will make a lot of sense.

Till then, what in the world do I tell them to get them out of the room while I attend to my graphic needs that I really don't want to explain to my preschool Son? Please tell me there is something else I can do besides explaining to him what's really going on. What do I do? What did you do?

(Accept my apologies if this post is freaking you out. Just go read the one below it instead. I promise it will clear your mind of any untoward images.)

27 comments:

IRISHKAT said...

Sorry to say that I did a brief explanation to my son at that age and it killed the questioning from there on out. My oldest boy is 8 and I still don't have privacy - can't wait for that day!!!

BusyDad said...

I really thought that this was a potty-related post, so I read happily on. I should have known that you might have titled this a little more gender neutral had that been the case. Oh well :) Another day in the life of a dad blogger. You take these, smile, and go on your happy way. Hee hee - lightsticks!

conversemomma said...

I can be of no help. Jackie is obsessed with going in the bathroom with me. The other day, I caught him in there, alone. He was pulling out all my tampons, unwrapping them, then wrapping them each up in toliet paper and putting them in the trash. Now, when I go in there, he hands me one and goes Hiney! I'm can we say messed up.

conversemomma said...

Oh, and I should add that I missed being here. Thanks for the compliment on that post. Means alot coming from you.

Melissa said...

Does your bathroom door have a lock? It sounds as though the kids will be bugging you whether or not they're in the bathroom with you. So, you lock the door, take care of your business, then come out and play. Easy-peezy.

Shakeyfan said...

Does your bathroom door have a lock? It sounds as though the kids will be bugging you whether or not they're in the bathroom with you. So, you lock the door, take care of your business, then come out and play. Easy-peezy.

Karen said...

Crap, I hadn't even thought of that! When Thomas was little he would come into the bathroom and once unwrapped all of my tampons - and brought one out to show my bf's husband! Since then I've been pregnant then nursing, so haven't had to deal with it since he's started talking regularly. I'll have to watch closely to see the recommendations, but a locked door until they get the point sounds pretty reasonable. Thomas "gets" the concept of quiet time, since he and I both need time away from everyone else in intervals during the day, so maybe that's how I'll play it. Good luck!

mom huebert said...

I have three sons, and I just always lock the door when I'm in the bathroom.

Mr Lady said...

LOCK THE DOOR. LET THEM SCREAM.

You know you're allowed to do that, right? They are not granted entry into the world of tampons. Period.

Here's a story for you:

My oldest was 2ish. He walked into the bathroom one day, and the potty faced the door. He walked in right as his god-mother was half-way through removing a light sticks. His jaw dropped. HER jaw dropped. Tears welled in his little eyes and he whimpered out, "Casa? OooooKkkkkaaaaay?"

We all started locking doors after that.

Just lock it. :)

MommyTime said...

BusyDad, I'm so sorry. I thought I was being clear but discreet. I'll be less oblique next time.

And, of course, Melissa, Mom Hubert, and Mr Lady -- you are all right, and I'm laughing at myself. I should just lock the door! But I'm so used to explaining why for every little thing that it honestly did not occur to me just to lock the door and say nothing. I know that sounds ridiculous. It looks ridiculous when I write it. But it's true. This is why we need our friends: to tell us to stop gabbing already and just do it! :)

foolery said...

I'd lock the door, too, if I needed to, but the truth is our VERY OLD DOORS are quite fussy about closing all the way or about opening at all, so we adopted an open door policy in our house from the beginning.

Funny you bring this up, because I got "caught" for the first time ever recently. The 5-year-old (girl) wanted to know "what THAT is," and in the one second I had to decide what to say, I told her the truth in minimalist terms.

"Oh," she said, and ran out.

So far, so good.

fairytalesandmargaritas said...

I tell my kids that mommy has a "girl problem" and that I use one of those to help fix it. They're so thoughtful they'll usually go to the cabinet and bring them to me, all the time, even when I'm not having a "girl problem".

heather of the EO said...

I didn't even think about locking the door either; funny how answering questions turns to forgetting common sense. Happens to me all the time.

I was thinking of telling my boys that it's dangerous to come in when I have the thing with the string...since it's a bomb. :)

Sandy C. said...

Oh sweetie, I feel your pain. I may as well open the windows and the front door so the neighbors can see me pee too. If I closed and locked the door I believe the world would come to an end!

Tracey said...

You lock the door. He's old enough to stand outside and be sad and miss you. He'll get over it and you'll appreciate the privacy.

But I honestly tell the kids the truth.

Mommies use these when their bodies aren't using their extra blood to make babies.

That usually is sufficient and to the point. I haven't had too many extra questions resulting from it, but I am of the preference to tell them bits of information as they grow up, without lies or changing the topic.

Tampons are not, as my son thought, rocket blasters to shoot across the living room at your brother. Yeah. That was a fun day...

MultiplesMommy said...

Ok, 2 comments: Yes, you need to lock the door. Our open door policy sometimes becomes "everyone out, please, mama needs a little privacy" and the click of the lock.

And #2...you'd think with all the rocketship-lightsaber stories going on around here, you'd all learn to put them on a TOP shelf, or like me, in the closet where little hands can't reach. *grin* 'Course, I have girls, so no one plays rocketship in my house anyway...

Diane said...

If locks don't work, bribe them with food or TV.

Oh hey, it's for a worthy cause.

catnip said...

I always snuck off or locked the door when he was younger. Now he's five and understands the concept of privacy, woohoo!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

My first shock as a new mother, with infant home from hospital, was the inability to go to the bathroom alone--even to glance in the mirror-- without asking permission or making an announcement to my then-husband about the need for someone to watch the ever-crying, inconsolable baby. It was an awakening that "rude" cannot even begin to descibe.

I can tell you that as they grow older, the issues do not disappear, they simply become more complex.

But at least you can go to the bathroom in peace. And you can't put a price tag on that.

Asianmommy said...

At home, I sneak off and say "Mommy needs privacy!" if I'm found and someone starts opening the door. In public restroom stalls, I say "Turn around--no peeking--Mommy needs privacy!" They seem to accept that. I give them privacy, too, when they ask for it. :)

LaskiGal said...

J's just one, so I'm reading 'cause I'd really like to tend to my "graphic needs" in private as well . . .

mylitlbratz said...

Having eight children I feel for you... I had the same problem while my children were growing up so I got into the habit of locking the door... Of course its only been the last 2 years out of 20 that I haven't had a little one wailing at the other side of the door and oh my, the things they can get into while your in the bathroom.

MommyTime said...

Ah, MM, of course it would seem that one could simply put the supplies higher out of the way -- but then you don't have children who see the world as their jungle gym. In OUR bathroom closet, the higher shelves are so full of things dangerous (OTC meds, razor blades) and messy (shaving cream, extra shampoo) and expensive (spare contact lenses) that there is no room for the cheap, disposable, won't kill you to lick it stuff. Hence, the "light sticks" sit on the bottom shelf, and there they will have to stay.

I want to thank you all, though, for making me feel less of a freak in all this. While I despair that it may be another 10 years before people stop knocking on the door, I can at least assume that within a year or so, they will at least stop crying if I try to shut them out. And now I'm going to start using the locks! Many thanks.

KD @ A Bit Squirrelly said...

Lock the door. Sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom just to be alone, even if I dont' have to pee. Good luck.

Kim said...

I have three boys, the youngest is 10. I am a selfish person I guess, because I never took my kids to the bathroom with me. Not even when they were infants. I always left them in their cribs when I showered.

As for keeping them out, I started early with the "my room is not your playground" rule which also keeps them out of my bathroom, since I only use the one in MY room. I now have boys who know that I am not going to talk to them while I am busy in the bathroom, and believe me, they still want to talk to me (from outside my bedroom door) while I am otherwise occupied.

I have never locked the door. I didn't need to. They learned not to open it, they cried if they needed to, and they got over it. They always get over it. How else do they know that if you go through a door and close it behind you that you will come back?

Like I said, I just must be selfish.

By the way, I found you through Scribbit and I have been reading for a few weeks now. Love your blog

Ree said...

Hmmm. I got lucky. No questions ever - and then...suddenly there was sex education! And I didn't have to deal with it.

Sorry, sweetie. ;-)

MommyTime said...

Kim, thank you for the long and thoughtful comment -- and for sticking around here. It's no nice to meet new readers. Welcome!

 

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