Tag Archive | bathroom

Someone Make My Kids Stop With All The Potty Talk


The tricky thing about telling your children that they can only use potty talk in the bathroom is that you will inevitably find yourself in the bathroom with them, and well, there’s nothing you can say when they unleash their nonstop chatter about all things toilet-y.  And I had the good fortune of spending about 98 minutes with my children in the bathroom yesterday afternoon as we trudged along in our hazy, time-change stupor. 

My idea was to let them play in the bathtub as long as they wanted.  After 90 minutes, they had built an elaborate imaginary world full of potty-talk-themed characters equal to whatever the hell is going on with Minecraft.  They were happy to keep on going, but I had to get out of the bathroom.  I couldn’t take one more reference to “poop.”  With their digits shriveled to raisins and their mouths running as if I’d offered them a candy bar for each reference to fecal matter, I dragged them out of the bathtub, refusing to spend one more hot (and wet) second with them.

I’ve been fairly patient with this phase of their development.  Their interest in potty stuff waxes and wanes, but there’s been a recent resurgence that’s getting on my very last nerve.  I always tell them if they want to “talk like that” they have to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes, they turn on their heels in the kitchen and head straight to the nearest loo so they can finish their story about some hapless “poopy head.”  Sometimes, they promise they will stop, and then they don’t.  “Oh, sorry, Mom, I accidentally said a bathroom word.”  I can feel them testing me.  Am I really going to stop what I am doing– forming raw ground turkey into meatballs or put down my phone during the Ann Taylor Loft flash sale to enforce my boundary? 

The answer is yes.  Yes, I am.  I may let tempers fly liberally, and I hold my tongue when Sadie sashays out of the house with a dress, a skirt, and a mink stole on, but I have my limits. I draw them at potty talk.  So if you are wondering why my bathroom trashcan is full of wrappers from Halloween candy, now you know it was my survival technique for the extended bathtime we had yesterday.

Tell me, how do you deal with your kids’ potty talk?


Thank You, Carmelita

Dear Carmelita,

This thank you note is almost six years late, and I apologize for the delay.  You may not remember me, but I will never forget our time together that Sunday afternoon in the bathroom.  Sometimes I wonder if there was ever such a scene in the bathroom of the Ritz Carlton.

In case you forgot who I am, I will remind you of the blood.  There was so much blood.  It was all over my skirt.  As I barreled through the door, I caught a glimpse of your face in the mirror; you had just washed your hands.  Your smile turned to concern when you saw me unfurl what I had been trying to hide as I sped through the dining room: my skirt was stained dark red.

You could have easily walked out as soon as you dried your hands.

But you stayed.  Do you remember handing me those white towels? We both dabbed at my skirt using the sides that didn’t bear the fancy “RC” monogram.

“Make it go away, make it go away,” I pleaded to God as you quietly worked with me at the sink.

I made a joke that the Ritz probably didn’t have many patrons whose menstrual blood ended up all over those marble sinks.  You smiled at my feeble humor.

Back at my table, my boyfriend Marc was eating eggs Benedict with his mother who had opted to remain entombed in her real-fur coat.  I was terrified of her and not just because her name was carved in stone at the entrance of civic buildings all over Chicago because of her “significant contributions.”  It was our first meeting, and I knew that she and Marc had been locked in a nasty stalemate over the family fortune for months.  She was angry with Marc, so how could she possibly like me?

And there was the small matter of how Marc and I met.  I didn’t know if she knew.  How was I, Christie O. Tate (named after a certain savior of the Christian world), going to explain that Marc and I met on J-Date, a dating website for Jewish singles?

Thankfully, the topic never arose.

But, it had been going well enough.  I talked about my job clerking for a famous judge without mentioning his liberal politics.  I didn’t know much about rich people, but I assumed they were Republican.  Right before the blood started, Marc’s mom and I generated some almost-warmth when the subject turned to books, and I told her about my latest read about the politics of the Supreme Court.  I mentally thanked God I had taken a brief reprieve from chick lit.

You and I worked so quickly.  Thanks to your help, I somehow stopped shaking with panic and rage that my body had betrayed me so furiously.  I wasn’t supposed to get my period for another four days, and back then, before my babies and nursing, my uterus operated like Mussolini’s trains: always on schedule.

Maybe the stress of having to act the part of a young woman befitting a hedge fund manager with a sizable family fortune brought on my “Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret?” moment.

When I was presentable again, you patted my arm and told me to smile. “Everything will be ok.”  That’s what you said.

And you were right.

I don’t know if it was my ill-timed period or the too-soon step of meeting his mother, but Marc broke up with me a few weeks later.  Thinking of that brunch makes me laugh as I remember myself, the daughter of a mobile home salesman, trying to clean up like Eliza Doolittle, only to leave a bloody smudge on my chair and a giant mess in the sink.  I also think of you and feel the years of regret that I didn’t thank you more properly.

I hope the Ritz appreciates what a compassionate and capable employee you are.

Thank you, Carmelita.

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Heaven’s Door: My Mother’s Day Retreat (To The Bathroom)

Heaven's Door

Heaven’s Door

This may look like nothing more than a picture of a closed door to you, but to me, and to many mothers out there, this is a view from Paradise.

This closed door, which is actually also locked, is the culmination of my Mother’s Day dream to spend some quality “me-time” alone.  In the powder room.  Doing what? Well, any blasted thing I please. Without an audience.

It happened for me yesterday for the first time since I was on an airplane, where federal rules prohibited my children from following me to the bathroom.

Oh sweet alone time in the bathroom!  You are my dream deferred for 364 days a year.   Oh sweet Privacy! I love you and will see you next year on Mother’s Day.  I will miss your silence and your space and your solace.  I will think of you and yearn for you everyday.  During our painful separation, dear Privacy, just remember we will always have those 37 minutes we shared on Mother’s Day 2012.

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PS: For a very special guest post I wrote on a darker time in my life, check this out– see my vulnerable side.

PPS: For one more day, you can check out my guest post for Scary Mommy.