I would like to continue with the series on restroom episodes, if you don’t mind! :-)
I bumped into P’s first grade composition. She had written pages on her bathroom , I mean, restroom adventures. And I thought I was the only one who had such experiences worth noting down. She was just a 6 year old kid then, and in 2 years of elementary school..she had so much to write on this aspect of her life! Then, I should be able to write a book on mine!
She writes of her experience of bumping into her sisters or her best friend (from that time) in the restroom and gossiping across the doors with each other. In another, she describes an incident where she had to take a restroom excuse while doing some class work, cause she was in a rush to go. She was expressing excitement at being able to go to the bathroom alone, which I can understand because, it reminded me of my experience of standing in lines right from my school and there’s been no change in it as I grew up. Not even when I came to USA, where, you have a bathroom, I mean, RESTROOM everywhere and so many of them! So, this doesn’t change in any part of the world uh!…Emerging countries or developed ones, its the same story. It reminded me of the night from long long back, before the kids were in our lives, from one Dec 31st.
Being newly married and having our friends over, we had decided to set out to the place of all to be in, on New Year’s eve, to the New York city’s ball drop event. New York city is a beautiful place to be in during the holidays. During the weeks before Christmas until the New Years’ Eve. The decorations are amazing, the crowds are amazing, the holiday spirit can be felt to its fullest, shopping is in full swing and in and around Rockefeller center rocks.
It was biting cold that night on New Year’s eve. Hadn’t experienced such cold in a long time…We landed at Penn Station NY and started to walk towards Times Square. The usual ways were all blocked and cordoned off. We were made to walk through other streets and it felt like for ever, to reach the spot. The crowd was like I had never seen before. We managed to reach the spot but by then, all of us had to go to the restroom! There were no public restrooms nearby. Most of the restaurants had the sign on their windows saying..”No Restroom available”.
Since we couldn’t wait any longer and felt like our nose and ears were just about to freeze and break off from our faces. Unable to stand the pushing from the crowd and the pressure from our bulging bladder, We took a poll and decided to go back home because this whole thing seemed way crazy for us to handle. So, we started walking back and it took us a while to reach back to Penn Station. When we came there..it was almost a mile long line to the restrooms. A little exaggeration, but u get the point...! We had no choice, we waited and luckily none of us had any episode and were able to save our wastes to be dumped into the respective commodes.
Then we took the first train back into New Jersey. This was so calm because, most of the crowd was travelling into the city and we were leaving the city. We reached home just in time to watch the ball drop being shown on TV. That’s when all of us realized it would have been so much better to have just enjoyed the New Year’s eve at home with friends. Then, we all wondered, how the crowd there was able to take this. Were they all in diapers or something! Didn’t people have to go to the loo?
Going to the bathroom (well, that’s what they are called in India) at school in India is an experience of another sort. The WC or loo was different and the omnipresent line existed during the intervals. We had to squat over the porcelain bowl that was at ground level, with our butt in the air. Bathroom tissue is a recent phenomenon( just like the western commodes). They didn’t exist in my times. I don’t know how I survived so many years in India without tissue paper. Yes, water is good but, one needs a tissue too, isn’t it?!
When I came to the USA, it was such a relief to find cleaner RESTROOM’s with hand wipes too, wash basins with running water(!), soap! But, what was this, the doors didn’t close peep-tight! There were peep gaps below, front and everywhere. How should I undress and seat my butt on this seat that somebody else had just touched, when I know anybody can peep in, if they choose to! I had felt really uncomfortable but, when you got to go, you got to go! It took a while but, eventually one gets over it and conforms to the new ways.
Now fast forwarding to the time my kids were born. This time, God was about to teach me a new lesson. The babies were all girls (like that was any news !)
“All yours, All Girls!!!”, people said.
“So what! Fine with us..”, we thought.
They grew up and the excitement of first time parents to potty train your kids set in. They were all potty trained by 18 – 20 months. Proud Parents we were!
“Good!” we applauded ourselves, “You are on the right path as parents”.
All was fine for a while until, my girls realized the fun of going potty outside in people’s home, in rest areas, in hotels, everywhere else except at home. And all of them being girls..I was the naturally appointed one to take them to relieve themselves. Then the fun would start
“Kids, Don’t touch anything..Let me help you.!!” I could be heard shouting in the restrooms and repeating it incessantly.
Then, I would start cleaning the potty’s seat and around so the kids wouldn’t be touching any germs. For me, one sick kid meant 3 sick kids, eventually!
Couldn’t risk that. I had auto-magically turned into a Mysophobic. Then, I would seat the first, then the second and then the third on this shining cleaned up potty. All the while, yelling at the other 2 who weren’t on the potty, to not touch anything..(repetition was the key…to handle toddlers, they taught us well!).
Then I would be all set to wipe the wash basins, because, my kids would just rest their arms on the sinks to wash their hands. This was so exciting for them..to do grown things in grown up sized basins and bowls.
By the time I was done with their hand washing and run to the door before they touched the knobs, I would have completed about 20 minutes of back breaking lifts.
Pavan would be done with his business and waiting for us outside the restroom. After months at this, I started to revolt. I told him, it was time he took over some of this responsibility, even if it meant taking the kids over to his restroom and the girls had to see weenie's all around.
In moments of rage, this didn’t feel unreasonable at all... This wasn’t fair, all the time , he gets to gloat showing his biceps to me and it was I, who was actually doing all the lifting. The girls on their part, helped the situation by saying..”I want Mama”.
I tell you, these were the times, the only times, I wished they had all been boys instead of girls. Then, I would start to cry and say..
“God, this is not fair..at least there should be some balance here so, Pavan could take a couple of them..to his restroom.”
Actually, If I think about it…I’m sure I wouldn’t have trusted boy children with Pavan to be taken to men’s restrooms too. Who knows, how careful Pavan would be in keeping the kids safe, from the germs!
Now the girls are bigger and smarter and I don’t have to say this anymore. Hopefully, they are following all the hygiene at school and washing their hands before they exit the restroom. It isn’t as hectic to take them to the restroom now, but, Richa is still a toddler who needs assistance so, basically, my position has still not changed. I’m still in charge of taking toddlers to the restroom when we go out.
AH!! I’m so done with that!