I’ve recently had some incidents which have caused me to ponder “how old should your son be before you let him go into the men’s public restrooms alone”?
Like many parents with a preschool aged child, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting every public restroom, in every one of my favorite stores and restaurants. It always happens at the most inopportune time and usually when you’re in a rush. You know the days when you just need to quickly run into the grocery store to pick something up because you have nothing defrosted – and you’re on the check out line with your items when you hear your precious angel say “mommy, I have to go to the bathroom”. ARRRGGGHHH!!! This happens to me often. At that point I ask my son, ‘just hold on a second’ while I’m hoping and praying the cashier doesn’t need a price check on anything. Alas my order is complete and we’re just about done when I hear “mommy, I REEEEALLY have to go….it’s an EMERGENCY”!!!! Now I’m sweating – it’s a complete “code red” situation! I ask the cashier to push our stuff aside, apologize to all the frowning customers and we’re making a mad dash to the restroom. Honestly, I think the employees at my local grocery store think I work there, since I frequently run into them in their break room. LOL We run to the lady’s room and once again, another emergency diffused.
When my son started kindergarten last year there was all kinds of talk about how they’re all big kids, being responsible, etc. This is great, except it’s total sabotage to a parent when these such ‘potty emergencies’ arise. He’s in school, he’s allowed to walk the halls, go to the bathroom alone (with a buddy), but then I take him somewhere and there is NO WAY I’m letting him go into a men’s public restroom on his own. So now I hear ‘why do I always have to go in the girls room’? How do you explain to your innocent child that there might be crazy, perverted, lunatics lurking. OK, so I’m slightly paranoid and just a bit over protective – but it’s how I roll. LOL What’s even better is trying to explain why he can come into the lady’s room, but Mommy can’t go into the men’s. LOL Such confusion!! So I broke down ONE TIME…at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Just he and I, having a great day when I hear those magic words. We head to the bathrooms and he’s pulling me to the men’s room. Of course I’m tugging him in the other direction. Now he’s raising his voice saying “emergency, emergency”, so I gave in, but not before I closed my eyes, opened the men’s room door and yelled “anybody in here”??? Thankfully, it was empty and my son ran in. This mother stood guard outside that door as if I was guarding Buckingham Palace. I was opening the door a crack to talk to him when a gentleman walked passed me and entered the bathroom. I didn’t know what to do, so I just kept my back to the door, still opened a crack and talked to him until he was done, hands were washed and he was standing besides me. He was very happy and proud while Mom was getting stares and chuckles from other parents, including the poor guy that walked in after my son. LOL
So I guess I’ll have to do this on a case by case basis – depending on where we are at the time. Believe me, he’ll probably be in the lady’s room with me for quite a while longer, but I look forward to the day when I can just send him in on his own. I don’t think I’ll be missing our adventures together in the lady’s room – at a baseball game, restaurant, theater, you name the venue – when have to “go” and he doesn’t, he’ll find entertainment in opening my door, peeking under at the next stall or better still, trying to crawl under!!! Aaaaahhhh boys – such fun…..but I love him!!