The Story Behind: Parental Time Dilation Principle #9

The Story Behind: Parental Time Dilation Principle #9 There is no such thing as a quick pit-stop when you’ve got a toddler in tow. Then, time slows to a glacial pace. Two-years-old, three-years-old, it doesn’t really matter. Waiting for a kid to do his business — especially when he’s still getting the hang of it — will make you feel like a clown in a Beckett play. Pee … poop … Godot. Doesn’t matter what you’re waiting for; it never comes.

I remember one night midway through potty training my son. He hadn’t quite put all the pieces together yet, though he love-love-loved sitting on the potty. We were having Sunday dinner with my entire family — my parents, my sister, her husband and their kids — at a restaurant packed with others having Sunday dinner with their families. I was just tucking into my decently-grilled-for-a-chain-restaurant salmon when …

“GO POTTY!” my son shouted as loud as his two-year-old lungs would let him. Then he bolted for the restrooms. And, naturally, I scrambled after him.

Once in the spacious handicapped stall, I hoisted him onto the bowl … and waited … and waited for something to happen.

The minutes ticked … ticked … ticked … on. I was starting to suspect that the kid wasn’t going to actually do anything more than swing his legs against the cool porcelain and sing a happy nonsensical toddler tune. But antsy as I was getting — and hungry for the salmon growing cold back at the table — I was reluctant to leave. I was still really new to this parenting thing, pretty much second-guessing myself every moment. I’d never potty-trained a kid before. Maybe this here, right here in the Mimi’s Cafe restroom, was going to be the Break-Through Moment when my son finally put the whole potty thing together and realized that the bowl he was sitting on was where his bodily wastes belonged. I didn’t want to blow it by giving up too soon.

So I waited. And waited. I got so damn tired of standing around waiting, gritting my teeth through my impatience, I actually sat down on the public Mimi’s Cafe restroom floor so the boy wouldn’t feel rushed. And no, there is not enough Clorox in this universe to get over that.

Alas, my sacrifice was in vain. After a few more rounds of nonsensical toddler tunes, my kid was all done with the “potty game” and wanted to go back to the table. He didn’t leave so much as a droplet in the bowl.

Sigh. That was twenty or so minutes of my life that I’d never get back. Though the server did offer to reheat my salmon.