Public Bathrooms

How can I write about this time in life without touching on the public bathroom experience? Let me say that there are few things that can strike fear in my heart like the words, “Mommy, I have to go potty!” They are usually met with my response which includes a groan and “Can’t you wait until we get home?” I hate public bathrooms. With one or even two kids it’s not a terrible situation. But with 5? Heaven help me. 

The other night we were at their Tball game when toward the end, all three toddlers needed to go potty. And of course, they all had tears in their eyes. Bless their hearts they had held it ’til it hurt. So, I took a deep breath and grabbed the double stroller, the three crying kids and set off for the public restrooms. This particular one was spacious and well kept thank goodness. I parked the stroller just outside the handicapped bathroom door. Told two toddlers to face the wall. “Do NOT look under that door!” “DON’T touch anything.” 

After lining the seat with see-through thin toilet paper 3 times, each kid takes their turn on a toilet entirely too big for them. 

“Gabe! I said DON’T touch! It’s dirty!” Micah, stop banging on the stall wall.” 


“Because someone is over there and it’s rude. …DO NOT LOOK. They need their privacy just like you.” 

Then there are the babies who are not patient waiters. Now this can play out in two ways. They are either partially in the stall with me with the stroller half hanging out the door (my preferred method). Or, if that arrangement does not allow privacy, they are parked just outside the door along the wall. Which makes them cry and a perfect target for women who want to coo over them and let me know that “I have my hands full.” Like most moms, I like to have my babies doted on. The girls are numbers 4 and 5 of my kids, and I am typically that mom who picks up the pacifier off the store floor and pops it right back in. But in a bathroom situation when women are freshly walking out of their own stalls from doing their business and have yet to wash their hands, PLEASE do not touch my baby. And the last thing I need to distract me from the toddlers going potty is having to ward off women from getting too close to the girls. 

This fresh, lovely experience with the public bathroom is what led to my poor choices the next day. After dropping our dog off at the humane society, Micah tells me he has to go potty. I balked. I just wanted to leave and not look back. Much less take all 5 kids with me again. The humane society is not on my top list of clean public bathrooms. It was a preconceived judgment because I had no intention of finding out. I told Micah he would need to hold it until we got home. Why I thought this was a good idea is still a mystery to me. It takes an hour to get home from there. 

About 35 minutes later, Micah is whimpering and the other two kids take up his cause singing Daniel Tiger’s “If you have to go potty, STOP! and go right away!”  Finally I give in. I see an outer road in a smaller town and think, maybe I can just pull over and have him pee alongside the road? I’ve always scorned moms who do this. Now I was decisively prepared to become one of them. Funny how our own judgments come back to judge us. 

I pulled over into a tree-lined retirement community driveway and remembered there’s a Thomas potty seat in the back. I whip it out and find out that Micah had already had an accident. Totally my fault for not taking him earlier and for the panic rising in my chest at the thought of another bathroom situation like the night before. Twenty minutes after having both boys go I am back on the road and wondering how I allowed my aversion to public restrooms to be the cause of this mess. I decided then and there to make a bathroom plan for when I have all 5. People have tornado plans and flood plans. It makes perfect sense for me to have a bathroom plan too. 


Buzz Needs a Home

First Felix disappeared. We adopted him and Buzz at the beginning of December. But one beautiful Spring day our little grey and white kitten disappeared. Assuming the nesting-over-our-house eagles got him, we still clung to the hope that he was out hunting and would come back. Esther asked repeatedly for him. About 10 days later I got a call from a humane society in Jefferson City – hundreds of miles away. “We have a cat here that looks like he may belong to you.” Felix! “We have to let you know though, it looks like his back is broken and his legs paralyzed.” My heart fell. Paralyzed! In Jefferson City?! Someone must have picked him up and took him home with them back there. And then what? Ran over him? Awful. We had to make the hard decision to release him to the humane society and then agreed never to tell the kids.

Then came the first weekend of May and a “100 year” flood hit our county and turned our home into an island. After a solid week of rain, we got 8″ on Saturday creating a flash flood of huge proportions. Water took over the fields and swallowed one porch step at a time until it hovered just 14″ inches below our first level. At which point we confirmed the flood insurance we were supposed to have…only to find out we didn’t. But that wasn’t the worst part. We were stranded. Water on every side and we couldn’t get out. If the water had come any higher… well let’s just say I had the fire and rescue number typed in and ready to call. An Evacuation Team would be the only way we could’ve gotten our children out. Touching the house on every side water was almost 3 feet deep. We lost power then water. Almost lost the truck. 

After asking for prayer from friends, the waters receded and we were safe. Water had flooded the crawl space but it’s drying out. God protected us that night in a huge way. The next morning, not having water or electricity we left the house in search of sustenance, letting out my dads chickens on the way into town. Only to come back to a dead chicken. Drowned? Wait – “BUZZ, NOOOOOOO!!”

Buzz had single handedly killed 8 chickens when I caught him with number 9 in his mouth. “Um, we are so grateful you are letting us stay here until our power and water are back on. By the way, my dog killed all your chickens.” I’m pretty sure that just broke all the rules of a “respectful guest.” 

I called several veterinarian clinics and dog trainers, but apparently once the deed is done there’s not much that can be done to change it. Except rehoming him. 

Anyone want a wonderful dog who is good with kids and loves to swim, fetch and run? He’s about a year and a half old and he is an Australian Shepherd mix. He would be a great back yard family dog. (Not so great with livestock.) But he is very good with cats and small children. Send me a message if you want him. And tell others too.  I really don’t want to take him back through the experience of a humane society.