Believe it or not, there are a few things in this world that are powerful enough to test even the most potent mother’s love. Here are some that test mine:
Lice and vomit. Rumors of these unpleasantries going around at school put me into a self-centered stupor. My first thought is not concern about my boys, but rather panic that I might get it and would have to put the house up for sale because that would be easier than cleaning up the mess at home. When it comes to lice and vomit, it’s all about me.
Assault by offspring. Riley’s at that stage where he likes to hit and throw toys at my head to see my reaction. It doesn’t matter how cute he is or how stunningly blue his eyes are, when he strikes, I have an overwhelming desire to hurl him out the window. No, not a very motherly feeling at all…
Public bathrooms. I have a hard enough time dealing with my kids’ antics in the bathroom at home. Taking them to a public bathroom catapults me to the brink of insanity. I’m not a germaphobe, but I can’t handle all the touching. They touch everything. The toilets. The sink drains. The walls and floor. The feminine hygiene disposal box in the stall! Just writing about it makes my heart pump and my hands sweat. I guess I am a germaphobe.
In the last week, Dylan has tested my love three times in public park bathrooms. Yes, I said public park bathrooms. Blech. I could hold it in for hours to avoid using a park bathroom, but at the tender age of four (almost five), when you gotta go, you gotta go. I get it, but I also have a theory that Dylan quite enjoys taking care of business (and driving his Mama nuts) at the park.
Standing in these dark, dingy bathrooms, all I can imagine are crime shows where dead bodies are found lying in pools of blood in gas station, bus station or park bathrooms. I wonder how often they are actually cleaned (if at all) and who uses them after the park closes at dusk. I see spider webs in the corners and puddles on the floor that I hope are water. It’s a very difficult situation for me – sort of a mix of claustrophobia, germaphobia and fear of being in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Dylan sat for so long in one park bathroom that there was enough time for him to memorize his home phone number. This is great, but did the benefit really outweigh the cost? At a different park, he wanted me to count to a hundred while he did his business. I told him I would count to a million if he would just get off the damn toilet. All the while, Riley was exploring the unidentified crap stuck in the drain in the middle of the floor. We washed our hands a lot that afternoon and took a very long, soapy bath, too.
I guess the fact that I don’t run away in these situations – no matter what “bug” they come home with (pun intended), no matter what they throw at my head and no matter how many times they make me enter a public park bathroom – is a testament that my maternal love is unbreakable.
On the bright side, I feel a lot less anxiety in the bathroom at home. Even when Dylan’s aim is off and Riley unrolls an entire roll of toilet paper. Even when they flood the floor during bath time or squeeze toothpaste all over the sink. Even when they demand Band-aids by the dozen for pretend boo boos or ask me to count to 100 for the 100th time. Even during all of that, I’m a Grateful Mama because at least we’re not in the bathroom at the park.