Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mommy's Life Lessons #1: The Public Restroom

Photo by Mr. T in DC (Flickr)
Dear Baby Girl:

Right now, you have the world's most convenient (although probably least hygienic and altogether ickiest) way to relieve yourself, but it's not always going to be this way. One day, you'll learn to use the little potty, and then the big potty, in the privacy of our own home.

But the day will come when you'll feel that urge and realize you aren't within convenient range of the nice, clean, pristine (don't call me out here) toilet in our bathroom. Instead, you'll have to lock yourself in a little cubicle where lots of other people do their business on a daily basis. It's not scary. I promise.

Try not to think too hard about what this means in terms of things like germs and bacteria. Mommy got over those things long ago. Germs are everywhere and you just have to deal. There is something else at stake here: your privacy. Not that you have any right now because you just go wherever you want to whenever you want to, but as you get older, you'll start to appreciate that you get to do your business with a fan and locked door between you and anyone who's within earshot.

And so, here are some tips I have collected for the times when you have to use the not-scary-I-promise public restroom, from my years of (ahem-un)pleasant experiences.

1. Poop happens. I know you know that, since I have to deal with yours on a regular basis. But cut the other ladies in the restroom some slack. If you think the lady next to you isn't feeling quite comfortable with the idea that what she's up to is normal and natural, there are a couple of ways you can help her out. "Accidentally" flush the toilet in your stall. Get done with your business as quickly as you can. Make lots and lots of noise rustling around in your purse for something. Maybe even change your mind and use the restroom another time.

2. Everything above applies to when you realize you're like some people and are completely embarrassed to go #2 with anyone else in the room. I know someone who sometimes walks into a restroom, sees someone else is in one of the stalls, realizes she "forgot" something, and walks right back out again. Clever, right?

3. If you walk into the restroom and realize someone you know is in there and you want to avoid being the lady in situation #1, remember that it's totally acceptable to have walked into a bathroom in order to wash your hands. I'm sure people do it all the time on purpose.

4. Never, under any circumstances, try to make conversation with the lady in the stall next to you, even if you're friends. I don't care what guys say about how we have to "do things in pairs." That's just awkward for everybody.

5. And finally, this one is common courtesy and not even based on privacy. Never occupy the stall that's meant for people who are handicapped. I don't care how badly you need to go or how much you want the extra space or how desperately you want to avoid sitting directly next to another person. The day you step out and realize someone in a wheelchair is waiting to use the restroom, you will hear me saying "I told you so" in your head.

And so, BG, these are your Public Restroom Commandments. I hope that you will be one of those people who just believes the "everybody poops" thing and doesn't care what other people think. Not a person who's so anxious that she begins unzipping her fly as she makes a beeline to the stall just to get everything over as quickly as possible. Not that I know anyone like that.


Monday, September 10, 2012

3 Reasons We Plan to Have a Second Baby

Even before I became a mother, I'd never thought of having only one child. My husband and I each grew up with three siblings, so I'm not sure it ever crossed our minds to be a "one and done" couple. Now, don't get me wrong. There are days - such as when our ten-month-old is acting particularly clingy, seems to have forgotten how to sleep at night, or is effectively breaking our belongings and budget - when we look at each other sideways and ask, "Are you sure you want a second baby?" But when it comes down to it, the answer is always a resounding yes. And here are three reasons why.

Siblings teach important lessons

As the oldest of four kids, I learned a lot of important lessons by virtue of having siblings. I learned about sharing toys, attention, and space. I learned about looking out for someone other than myself. I learned how to manage jealousy. I wasn't always happy or gracious about having siblings, but the experiences I had as part of a large family planted seeds that helped me out later in life. I hope that by having a second baby, our daughter will build character and learn lessons that will guide her in future relationships.

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