Thursday, September 3, 2009

Public Displays of Correction

Here's one for you.

My entourage and I are at the mall the other day, and I stop at the restroom in one of the department stores (the ones in the foodcourt skeeve me out....I guess because they smell like burgers and the floor is always wet and dotted with sopping globs of TP).

Anyway, I'm sitting on the porcelain throne, doing my thing, and Rollie decides to get down from the sit-and-stand and wander around the handicapped stall (I feel bad taking the big stall, but a.) how often do I really see a wheel-chair-bound person in the restroom anyway? and b.) I feel like I'm handicapped in a sense, because I usually only have one arm free and usable...sort of like an amputee but without the phantom-limb syndrome.).

Rollie peeks in the garbage bin, runs his hands along the stall wall, kicks at the door, all the stuff that boys his age do when they're bored and trapped inside a public restroom with their mothers. And I'm doing a sort of running commentary the entire time:

Rollie, don't touch that please, it's dirty. Rollie, no kicking, okay? Rollie, let's leave that alone please. Rollie, Hon, come over here please. Rollie, those are toilet seat covers, we don't need any more right now. Rollie, don't touch the latch, okay? I don't want the door to open yet. Rollie don't look under there--that's rude.

Remember, I'm slightly incapacitated at the time of these instructions--sitting on the toilet with my pants down. I have to be as polite as possible with these orders...God forbid he decide to go right on peering beneath the wall and into the adjoining stall. The poor lady with the crooked toes and orthopedic sandals would not find my child nearly as adorable as I do.

He's doing a good job of listening to my borderline-pleas to obey. That is until he discovers the toilet paper:

Rollie, put that down, please. Rollie, you don't need any toilet paper. Rollie, please stop unrolling that. Rollie, listen to me. Stop. That. Rollie.

Meanwhile, Rollie has grasped the end of the roll and proceeded to spin slowly around and around, a long sheet of toilet paper wrapping itself around his middle like a python squeezing a giant, disobedient rat. And all I can do is watch. I'm still sitting, now unable to grab the toilet paper my son is unraveling. He's out of my reach, and I don't want to sit there and yell at him. It's so damn echo-y in this bathroom, which is tucked away in a quiet, sleepy corner of a department store, the door propped open so anyone trying to shop for over-priced, 500-thread count sheets will hear me screaming at my kid to stop unrolling the freaking toilet paper and get over here Right Now.

So what do I do? I take a picture of him with my cell phone. So I can remember this moment and make sure I strap Rollie in his seat before I assume such a vulnerable position next time.

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