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My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does
it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we are in the
library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment
on how cl earl y he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have
to ask him to turn up the volume. It’s always fully cranked. There have
been several embarrassing times that I’ve wished the meaning of his words
would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished
this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me
into the restroom. If you’d been one of the ladies in the restroom that
evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the
last stall:

”Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on
the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy,
what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?”

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the
bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full … 4? 5? Maybe we
could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this
stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued: ”Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren’t you? Oh, dats a
good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the
potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh…Mommy! I’m trying to see In
dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get
some candy!”

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me.
Where is a screaming new born when you need her? Good grief. This was
really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before
exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, ”Why don’t you look in Mommy’s
purse and see if you can find some candy. We’ll both have some!”

”No, I’m trying to see doze more stinkies…Oh! Mommy!”

He started to gag at this point.

”Uh – oh, Mommy. I fink I’m gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are
making me frow up!! Dat is so gwoss !”

As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall.. I
quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the
subject.. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other
toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those
who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone.

”Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going
stinkies! Get up! Get up!”

He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown
laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. ”Oh, are you
wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you
wooking at? Mommy? You wooking at the wady’s feet?”

More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the
situation.

”Mommy, it’s time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy.”
He started pounding on the door. ”Mommy, don’t you want to wash your
hands? I want to go out!!”

I saw that my wait ‘em out’ plan was unraveling. I sheepishly opened the
door, and found standing outside my stall, twenty to thirty ladies crowded
around the stall, all smiling and starting to applaud.

My first thought was complete embarrassment, then I thought, where’s the
fine print on the ‘motherhood contract’ where I signed away every bit of
my dignity and privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin
while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought,
I’d sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little
fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three She lives with
her family in Grand Rapids , Michigan , where she no longer uses public
restrooms)

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