panic at the zoo bathroom

23 February 2014

We're in Memphis (as in Tennessee - not Egypt) for the weekend because Simon has a conference and, well, here we are. You know I won't be able to resist dedicating an entire post to the trip (hotel sleeping dramadies! Beale Street toddler musings! And more!) but you also know I can't resist first dedicating an entire post to a few gemmy minutes of the trip. Those minutes occurred this afternoon and I don't know when I'll be able to smile crack about it because my face is still sizzling hot from the odyssey that was the following ...

After spending a few hours with the kids in the hotel room last night while Simon went to a required dinner and again this morning while Simon was off conferencing I decided that nope - we wouldn't last another second cooped up in what was starting to feel a little Hunger Games arena-esque. It was only a matter of time before Sebastian jump-fell off the bed and into the emergency room and/or we'd all kill each other in the confined (albeit very nice) space and end up in the confined (and slightly less nice) space that is the morgue.

So - I took the lady in the lobby's advice (who looked at me and the double jogger and Julia hanging onto the wrist strap of the double jogger and my undeniable bump-it-big and confessed how crazy she was when her kids were little which was actually nice to hear in that moment because I'm big on sympathetic solidarity - retroactive or not) and decided to go to the zoo. The weather was gorgeous and my only potential plan of tangible action was to go to Target but my kids need cultured so ... zoo.

look lively, boys. we're at the motherloving zoo.

Great. Great. Everything was great and Theo conked right out and the kids were so excited to see the elephants and their "trumpet tails"

(? I blame large imaginations or trunk/tail dyslexia ...)

And then ..... Julia, "riddy riddy riddy needed to go to the bathroom".

Okay.

If you know a toddler then you know that they tend to go from, "no I absolutely cannot squeeze 1/8 of a teaspoon out of my bladder even if you ARE offering me a dozen Dunkins" to "my cause of death WILL be a burst bladder if you don't get me to a receptable rightnowRIGHT NOW" in about .02 seconds flat.

So ... she was dancing and holding my hand while I trotted and pushed the jogger with my useless zoo map flapping all over Memphis Zoo tarnation looking for a public restroom. Luckily, the public facility gods smiled widely in our vicinity and I miraculously found a super clean, super empty (!!!!!) restroom WITH the door propped open which was just dandy because finaggling strollers through heavy public doors while people stare can be pretty soul sucking.

We proceeded to go about our business. Julia is still really big into "pribacy" and opted to go into her own stall that she proudly managed to lock herself while the boys and I busied ourselves in the largest stall until Julia was ready to go.

Did I mention it was sorority day at the zoo? Actual sorority day. I know this because there were droves of young women decked in neon Raybans posing in front of the caged animals making the triangular signs with their hands while fellow Greek lifers took many an iPhone photo.

Well at this moment a sorority house worth of sisters came rollllling onto the scene and lining up to utilize the camodes. And as fortuity would have it ... at this same moment Julia proudly announced that she'd taken her urgent business #1 into business #2 territory not once but, "TWO times, Mom -- TWICE."

Grace: Okay, Julia. That's great. Can you unlock your door?
Julia: hmm I sink it's wocked.
Grace: It is but can you unlock it?
Julia: I sink it's just wocked.
Grace: I know - can you try to unlock it?
Julia: Did I tell you that I did a ...
Grace: shit ... (door jiggle ... jiggle some more)
Julia: Are you proud of me?
Grace: Very. But can you get the door open?
Julia: I'm so sorry but I can't.

Stares from the sisters. Awkward laughs from me. More awkward laughs from them because they were being polite. Julia starts gabbing about needing assistance with wiping and I had no choice.

None.

I sucked my belly the size of, "any day now?" (according to the kind man in the elevator this eve) in as far as it would go (1/39402834923084th of an inch) and slithered under the stall door to rescue our damsel. Sebastian followed despite my multiple pleas that he not and as soon as I'd gotten Julia cleaned up and freed from the stall shackles - Sebastian chucked one of his shoes into the toilet. This was the least of my worries at this point but .... I just wasn't in the mood for icing, Bash.

Life went on. Life goes on. Julia didn't lose her shit (figuratively ... we won't broach the literal aspect) and freak out. And Sebastian's shoe landed bottom down in the bowl so ... no harm nor fowl. What's that the kids are saying these days???

Winning.

Definitely won.

Post stallgate. Alive and thriving and explaining to Sebastian that she didn't think Pel-kins had nipples.

Sebastian's response was a solemn nod and, "mm hmm"

I know there are bigger and better public-restroom-with-child(ren) stories out there and I'd love to hear them while I go and try to figure out how to get child #2 to stop talk-crying in his sleep so that child #1 won't wake up and freak out and wake up child #3 because then life just might not see the light of tomorrow morning for a single one of us Pattons.


!!And oh, how I am going to try not to be super annoying about this but MANY thanks to all of you for being so sweet and voting the Camp right on into the final round of Apartment Therapy's Homies Awards. Voting goes until Wednesday and I would be so grateful for your generous click. We're up against the greats and I have no winning expectations but it's clearly not stopping me from stooping down and dirty to the begging level, is it? Not at all.


Happy Saturday night live from us to you.

40 comments:

  1. hahah oh this made my night. Nothing like a good bathroom story. I'm not looking forward to having those under my belt.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh.my.gosh. LOVE this story! And totally something that would happen to me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Three at the zoo!! You are my adventure seeking hero! And kids and locked doors... Where independence and nightmares collide. And voted for the Camp, done and done :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You should've loudly told those sorority girls that helping a little girl get out of the locked bathroom stall so that her pregnant mama doesn't have to shimmy under the stall door is the latest trend in greek life philanthropic efforts. Because they are all about the philanthropy, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! If I'd asked I'm
      Sure they would've helped! It just didn't occur to me in the super panicky moment :)

      Delete
  5. Can't believe those girls didn't help you!! Seriously, what is the world coming to??!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha I'm sure if I'd asked they would've!! It was a cramped bathroom and Julia would've not loved a stranger coming in with her pants around her ankles :) they were super patient!!!

      Delete
  6. As a mentor of mine says, "Good times is good times, and bad times is good stories." :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. "I sink it's just wocked." Dying. Dyyyyyying a thousand humiliating bathroom moment deaths with you. Fist bump of solidarity.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for feeding my addiction. And as far as bathrooms stories go, that is pretty bad.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh boy, definitely been there a time or two. I finally learned to have the kid go in and tell them not to lock it while i hold the door shut from the outside. Of course, it means you can't get relief until they are done, but it's worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I worry that my 3 year old son will lock himself in a bathroom stall! A little trick I learned while teaching kindergarten is that lots if stall locks can be unlocked from the outside using a quarter. Check it out next time you are in a public restroom!

    ReplyDelete
  11. "I sink it's wocked." Gee, wonder how that happened. Hilarious! Except that I'm so sorry you had to have an up close encounter with the bathroom floor. One of my sisters did that and I had to get them out, but I wasn't yet the germaphobe that I am now, so I didn't think so much about it. At least it wasn't a really nasty restroom!

    ReplyDelete
  12. oh my goodness! I'm so sorry you had to endure that, but I'm glad you wrote about it so I could start my morning with a belly laugh :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Haha oh my gosh! I would have died. Julia!!!!!

    The only bathroom story I have is that after watching one too many Datelines with my parents around the age of 5, I would *not* go into any public restroom by myself for fear of being kidnapped. My dad didn't realize that and one day at the mall it was just me and him. I literally had to beg him to take me into the men's restroom because in Julia's words I "riddy riddy had to go" and he was so embarrassed and I was so embarrassed from being so scared of kidnappers and murderers. It was awful.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm picturing you crawling under a bathroom stall, so pregnant, amongst a group of sorority sisters and realized...yes...that is my nightmare.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The image of you slithering under the bathroom door with your cute belly made me laugh out loud. And then the shoe..! Too much! I've crawled under many a stall door in my day. I just try not to think about what might be on the floor. After one too many locked stalls, I made a rule where I just stood outside and held the door closed. It's the only way.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh my! Thanks for the laugh - in the most sympathetic of ways. I can't imagine getting under a bathroom door preggers. Makes me feel a bit better of the fiasco I had in the airplane bathroom this week with my 4 month old. He walked out with a diaper 4 times too big as I prayed he could keep his bowels together until the plane landed. Happy travels with the kiddos!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I haven't even finished reading this, but I'm flashing back to the time that Isabella and I followed Philip to a residency conference in Hershey, PA when she was four months old. We couldn't afford the fancy chocolate lodge, so we stayed like 5 miles away in a Country Inn & Suites and took Philip in to the conference every morning. I knew it was a great idea right about the time I was sitting in the dark during naptime trying to get her to sleep in the pack-n-play. She and I rode the ride at the factory twice (by ourselves, since Philip was busy) and then she screamed the whole way around town in her carseat while I looked for the zoo. I found the damn zoo, and the instant I put her in her stroller and paid, she fell asleep. So I took a lap around the zoo and left. I've never gone on another work trip again :) Okay, now I'm going to finish reading.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is so funny! I have been stalking your blog (and archives) for a while now, and am finally commenting. You guys are so hilarious. My son is two weeks younger than Julia, but doesn't seem to have the same "pribacy" need. It's fun to see the similarities and differences, though... Thanks for the smiles!

    ReplyDelete
  19. oh my gosh! at least you can laugh now...that Julia really is something!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love a good public-restroom-with-small-children story! Once in the middle of a particularly eventful bathroom visit my three year old produced my MP3 player from his pocket, asked 'what's this doing here?' and threw it in the garbage.

    ReplyDelete
  21. omg, i can't believe you had to slither under the stall! mostly bc i was at target the other day and for 5 panicky seconds thought i was stuck in the locked stall and realized the space b/t the floor and the door was not very generous. glad you survived!

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are such a GREAT writer - I feel your pain and feel as if I were there with you - what great writing! Fortunately, I've never had to crawl under even though we've had 4 kids, but we do have a funny story to share. We were in Britain at the time, and their bathroom doors go ALLLLLLLL the way to the floor, and they are wooden (very sturdy). Our 1.5 yr old disappeared from my side, which was weird because he NEVER left my side, and he turned up in a stall and locked himself in. He didn't seem too worried, but I was REALLY worried - couldn't crawl under as a last resort. There was an empty stall next to him and I climbed onto the toilet and looked over at him, and tried to talk him through sliding the door lock, to no effect. His 3 yr old brother was with me (and was the reason we were in the ladies room to begin with). I was keeping an eye on him, but lost track as I was on the toilet, looking over and trying to rescue the 1.5 yr old. I was contemplating if there was a custodian in charge of the bathrooms who could help when the 3 yr old (boy) charged the door with his shoulder and it popped open! Apparently the lock was latched, but just enough to keep a normal person from opening it, not a charging 3 yr old. He was SO PROUD of himself and talked about how he rescued his brother! I was RELIEVED, and would have almost died laughing if I wasn't so conscious of what the proper British around us were thinking! I'm glad that you made it under and saved the day. You were a TRUE hero of the story!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh my gosh. I am just picturing you having to climb under that stall! I have definitely had days that felt like this. But go you mama for handling it so well! I hope that your day got better.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Way to go, super mom! You poor thing, I almost had to do that once (in a men's bathroom at McDonalds). It would not have been pretty. At first I thought this post was going to be about losing track of one of the kids, which has happened to me on a zoo trip. It was on the river's edge trail at the St. Louis zoo, I thought the 4 year old was with another adult, we were chaperoning a group of older kids. We realized he was gone, but he could have only went two ways on that path. I backtracked, then quickly realized he must have went the other way. Sprint to the end to find him happily sucking down a big soda in a character cup the zoo staff had given him when he came out crying and looking for me. They said it has happened more than once on that path, talk about panic!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my gosh, I read blogs while nursing and this post had me laughing so hard, my easily-distracted baby stopped nursing and looked at me like, "exCUSE me! I'm eating here." I kept reading and tried holding in the laughter which resulted in crazy snorting. Basically, best zoo/potty story ever. :) you are the Dave Barry of mommy blogs (That's a compliment, I think Barry is the king of comedy writers).

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't think this tops your story, but on the chance it will make you feel better... on a European trip with our (all female so I get everyone in the bathroom with me!) children, one youngster locked herself in the stall. I tried to explain to her how the lock worked so that she could get herself out, but to no avail. Poor thing was moving to the realm of hysterical pretty quickly as she'd already lived through a traumatic bathroom lock incident a few days prior in another country - one that *almost* involved an elderly Italian man, a courtyard, a ladder and a window, but that's another story. Anyway, she was very upset and was not able to work the lock herself. These particular stalls were built like fortresses and went all the way to the floor. I had to use some cat-burglar skills to climb onto my toilet and scale the wall into her stall. Nothing like a rescue from above! It had more danger than your experience, but less grossness.

    ReplyDelete
  27. haha oh no!! glad you have a sense of humor about it! Once my daughter did the same thing EXCEPT when she flushed the toilet is started t overflow......every where!!!!! She panicked and couldn't get the door unlocked and was screaming fro inside the stall...good times, good times.

    ReplyDelete
  28. When the story started to turn that you were going to have to get on the BATHROOM FLOOR and go under the door, I let out an audible, "oh no..." because I think that creeps up on my list of worst nightmares.

    And I'm not sure why but Sebastian's response to Julia's explanation of which animals have nipples is really cracking me up this morning. Too funny.

    Thanks for having a blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you (and Julia) for making my day. Always.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This absolutely made my morning... You are a great story teller! So glad I found your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I would have loved to see Simon's reaction when you told him this story. Classic!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ohh, that is what you get for being fun! A trip to the zoo?? Please Grace, you are already a blog-Saint, how do you have zoo time! haha..
    Easton is really into "privazee" lately and loudly announced from in stall, to a full target ladies room that he'd like "you ladies be quiet, I'm tryin to poop and we are in a hiiirrry" Cue my giant red face wondering if I claim him, scold hime, or laugh.

    I laughed...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow, we just joined my husband on a conference last week and I took the five kids and my baby bump to the zoo (and science center and children's museum). Similar scenes such as these kept flashing through my mind and almost kept me in the hotel room. Thank the Lord and our guardian angels, nothing untoward happened aside from me eyeing up a little old lady's motorized scooter and wondering if my aching pregnant joints didn't deserve it more. I hope the rest of your trip goes well.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Not only did I vote for you, I totally would have laid my face down on that zoo bathroom floor so your pregs belly would have been saved.

    ReplyDelete
  35. You sound like you handled it so well. I have a thing with public restrooms, so just having to crawl under the door would have grossed me out and I would have really lost it when the shoe was thrown in the toilet. You sound so calm and patient!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oh my goodness..... you owe me a new laptop because I just spit my raisin bran with flax seed and milk all over my keyboard laughing at your tale. Just think of it as a few years knocked off your purgatory quota?

    ReplyDelete

 

Camp Patton © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger