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Potty Time for Mama

After four years of going to the bathroom with an audience, I wished for the thing that every mom was told not to wish for: that my kids would grow up soon in hopes of being able to visit the restroom in private.

I used to like to sit and think on the toilet. It was my place to, well, re-group. I remember as a child when my dad told me he was going on a retreat to be silent and think. My response was, “Can’t you do that in the bathroom?”

Like most things, we get used to the status quo. So, as a mom of two young sons, I would announce, “Mommy’s going to the bathroom!” and we would all march in like it was a special occasion.

My two-year-old would broadcast, after watching and listening for the signs, “Mama pee pee!” and my four-year-old would shout, “Yay, Mommy!” They would take turns flushing, a system we worked out after several fights.

My two-year-old would say, “Bye-bye, pee pee!” and wave as the toilet flushed. Sometimes I asked for privacy, for womanly reasons, but most of the time, I had a cheering section. I knew it was important to model potty behavior, as this is how they learn. But having two extra bodies in our closet-of-a-bathroom made it somewhat claustrophobic quarters for getting my daily business done.

Then it happened.

One day I proclaimed I was going to the bathroom, and they continued playing with their trains, discussing which bridge was broken, running their trams off it, fixing it, only to purposely break it all over again. I figured they hadn’t heard me, and quietly made my way to the toilet, happy to have a moment alone. I peed, and no one was there to announce it. I pooped, and no one cheered. I was the only witness to my accomplishments.

Then I realized -- I had empty bathroom syndrome. “Mommy went pee pee!” I yelled to them. No response. I knew what would bring them running: “Mommy went poo poo!!!” Nothing.

As the cliché goes, be careful what you wish for. I guess my sons have grown out of our special sharing space, their fascination and curiosity replaced by toys and trains. I never thought I would admit it—but I miss my cheering section.

Oh, well, at least I have my privacy, my thoughts, and a few good magazines.

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