Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Privacy (Ha!) of the Bathroom

Where do you go to get away from it all?

The beach? The mountains? A cabin by a lake out in the forest? A quiet desk in a secluded section of the library? There are many places we might think we could go for some privacy, but for most of us the one place we can really count on to get away from it all is: the bathroom.

Yes, the bathroom. No one bothers you in the bathroom. It's the one place you can go where no one else follows you, where no one else talks to you, where everyone leaves you alone. It's the one place where you can enjoy total and complete privacy from everyone you know, even your kids!

Ha! Ha! I'm joking, of course! If you are a parent, you know that there is no place you can go to get away from your kids. Not even the bathroom.

This was drilled home to me (once again) the other day. We had just returned home from an exciting evening out (probably grocery shopping), and I went to go to the bathroom. I had only gotten as far as shutting the door and had started to reach to undo my belt when Thing 2 (my six year-old son) started pounding at the door, asking if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean.

Of course, as bathroom incursions go, that one was pretty tame. For one thing, he pounded on the door instead of just walking right in. That is good. With time, patience, and a lot of coaching (possibly including electro-shock therapy) the older kids can be trained to not open the door when you are in the bathroom. And if that doesn't work, you can always just lock them out.

Toddlers, however, are a totally different matter.  Sure, you can lock them out of the bathroom, but at a price. If you lock a toddler out of the bathroom, they are free to toddle unchecked throughout the house.

I am currently at an awkward bathroom stage with our kids. We have two children who need constant adult supervision, Thing 3 (our 20 month-old toddler girl.) and Thing 4 (our three month-old baby boy.) If The Wife is home, it's okay if I lock the bathroom door, because she can be in charge of the toddler. But, if The Wife is not home, I'm left with a quandary. I can either 1) close the door and hope that the toddler doesn't get into the cat food, turn on the dishwasher, or fall down the stairs. Or, I can B) leave the door open and invite the toddler into the bathroom with me for our own private little poop party.

Usually, I'll choose option B, mostly because I need the door open in order to hear Thing 4, the baby. So, that leaves me sitting on the toilet with a toddler running around toddling through the bathroom. This, obviously, is not ideal, but it's a small bathroom and I can usually still reach her if she tries to get into things she's not supposed to get into.

My main problem comes when it's time to get off of the potty. The other day she saw me reaching for the toilet paper, so she came over, shouting "Paper! Paper!" and tried to "help" me get more toilet paper. Also, there is a great need for speed when closing the toilet lid and flushing. (Little kids find the twirling water fascinating, and would love to reach in there and splash around a bit.)

As difficult as things are with my toddler, I have it easy compared with my sister-in-law (Auntie K) and her little toddler (we'll call her "Hazard.") As an adult, one of the best times to make use of the bathroom is when the little ones are sleeping. Unfortunately, Hazard doesn't nap much. So, for Auntie K bathroom time is also adventure time. Shower time becomes a "fun" game of "shower curtain peekaboo" and also "dodge the shampoo bottles." Oh, and don't worry, "toilet bowl peekaboo" is also in play.

The Adventures of the Toddler in the Bathroom!
(There is no escape!)

Auntie K has tried the closing the door option, only to have little fingers reaching under the doorway like the alien in the movie Signs. There is no escape from a toddler, not even in the bathroom.

Oddly enough, The Wife actually welcomes the toddler joining her in the bathroom. She says that if Thing 3 becomes more familiar and comfortable in the bathroom, it will help when it comes time to potty train her. I guess that makes sense, and if it works, I'm all for it. I'm for anything that will hurry the kids out of my bathroom and into their own bathroom.

I'm just looking for a place to get away from it all, if only for a few minutes. Someday, hopefully, I'll be able to have some privacy in the bathroom. (A guy can dream, right?)

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