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Public Bathrooms: Parental Guidance Suggested

Quick! You have two seconds to make this choice—choose carefully.

Option one. Help your desperate-to-pee preschooler use the wonky public toilet, the seat of which is protruding three inches beyond the bowl and was obviously installed by someone ignorant of female anatomy.

Or,

Option two. Wait for who knows how long for the other stall to free up.

Have you made your choice? Did you do it quickly, keeping in mind that a little girl in your care really has to go?

The choice was obvious for me: get the kid on the seat, secure her dress with one hand in the back, lean her body forwards, and in a parenting maneuver I’ll call the bellysmush, endeavor to help my daughter aim her pee in the proper direction.

Parents, I do not recommend the bellysmush. Biology did not leave much room for a girl’s parents to assist with pee-aiming. That is what the very wide bowl of the toilet is for. However, when your daughter’s little bottom is pretty much dangling over your feet, the size of that bowl doesn’t make a lick of difference.

The result? A jet-stream of urine bouncing off of the rim of the toilet and straight up into my arms and face. I had my eyes closed, but I’m quite sure my daughter looked horrified and sorry.

And probably relieved too, because in a surprising turn of events, she REALLY had to go. Like, more than usual. So I had no choice but to remain there—kneeling over an uncontrollable spray park of urine—because I thought she would slip off that blasted, cursed seat and onto the floor. (Also, my mind wasn’t made up yet if the bellysmush was helping or not.)

Sometimes, as parents, we go through hard times for our kids. We get pummeled in the face by unforeseen disaster, and we have to choose between letting our children go it alone, or sticking with them to save them from falling. We risk our own dignity and clean shirts to make sure they know that we’re there for them and don’t have plans elsewhere.

We do this because someday they will be on their own, and they too will meet disaster. They too will have bad boyfriends, back-stabbing girlfriends, horrible bosses and belittling coworkers. At the end of the day, they will need to know who they can really trust.

Well baby girl, you can lean on me. To prove it, I will let you hang onto my arms while you give my face a pee-shower.

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