M. Giant's
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008  

Parking

Today was a big day for M. Small. It was the first time he's gotten to go to the park in our neighborhood for almost six months. We couldn't make it before then due to various scheduling conflicts and also the fact that the park has been buried under a foot of snow for most of that time.

Things have changed since the last time we were there. We don't have to hover as much, even in the section of the park with the bigger equipment and the bigger kids (not that there were any said kids there this evening). He can climb a lot higher by himself. He decided to dig to China ("tell them ni hao when you get there," I said) and didn't give up after three minutes (it was more like ten, and I hope nobody breaks an ankle in the shaft he sunk). The community center has these semicircular and circular openings in the outside brick walls, and he's big enough to climb into them by himself now:

Trash's finger also says hi

But the biggest difference was something entirely different. I don't know how many poopy diapers we've changed on those splintery park benches (we generally avoid using the picnic tables, at least the eating surface), but today he wasn't wearing one. And when he heard nature's call, he relayed the message to us. Marvelous! Yes, he's been potty-trained for months, but he's never been potty-trained at the park before. Behold the novelty.

I dashed with him over to the community center's exterior bathroom door. Locked. Well, perhaps this wasn't going to be the momentous occasion I thought, or at least not in the way I'd been hoping.

Fortunately, the community center was open and we could get into the inside bathroom. We made it in time, and I even managed to put toilet paper on the horseshoe seat before helping him up on it. He asked why I did that, and in explaining, I took the first step in instilling in him an irrational neurosis that has sustained me in public bathrooms for decades.

I'm not the only one that does that, right? Oh, and I refuse to learn how to "hover." Refuse.

posted by M. Giant 7:47 PM 14 comments

14 Comments:

The only one who does that? Please! Tell me that you do at least a double layer...

Myself? I'm all about the hovering, but for the kiddo, we go through forests' worth of TP on the seat. Of course, as soon as she's done and I'm trying to navigate us both (plus coats, purse, etc) out of the door-opens-inward stall, she invariably says "oooh, what's in here?" and jams a hand or two into the feminine sanitary product disposal box hanging on the wall. Makes me want to carry a bottle of bleach around with which to sanitize her thoroughly enough after a trip to a public ladies' room! I settle for lots of soap and water followed by a good inch of Purell, followed by some antibacterial wipes - for both of us! Guess you wouldn't have such issues in the men's room though, eh? The joys of parenthood...

By Blogger Heather, at April 9, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

But do you flush with your foot so you don't have to touch that nasty handle?

By Blogger Bunny, at April 10, 2008 at 7:40 AM  

I always flush with my foot, but sometimes it's a high reach, especially in heels. Then I have to wonder just how traumatized I would be if I toppled over and fell on the filthy floor, instead of just having to wash my hand after touching the handle....

By Anonymous nancy, at April 10, 2008 at 8:12 AM  

Oh, Nancy, I once had a friend who was flushing with her foot...and her sandal fell INTO the toliet. Unflushed. That was quite a moment for her.

By Anonymous chellebird, at April 10, 2008 at 9:15 AM  

Y'all realize your kitchen sink, and maybe even your computer keyboard, harbors a wider range of more deadly bacteria, right?

So long as people wash their hands properly (not that anybody does, but that's a whole other thing), there's nothing too dire that can really happen in that stall. Pragmatically speaking.

By Blogger Febrifuge, at April 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM  

Just want to say thanks for not letting him just pee on the nearest tree like a lot of little boys do. I understand there is an occasional desperate need for a newly potty-trained child to pee in the great outdoors, but not as a general rule of life. Maybe this is because I have a daughter so it's a little more tricky to just use a tree. I have to always run around a look for a bathroom so I think the parents of little boys should have to do the same thing. Maybe it's the penis envy talking, but I do appreciate a boy who uses a toilet, not a tree.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 10, 2008 at 1:19 PM  

@ febrifuge: Yeah, I get that. I watched the Mythbusters ep on the topic, even.

But, to quote myself from further upthread: my daughter "jams a hand or two into the feminine sanitary product disposal box hanging on the wall."

THAT? I consider pretty dang dire. :P

@ Bunny/Nancy: I use TP to protect my hand to flush sometimes, if it looks too tricky to use my foot and/or it isn't a traditionally handled toilet. (Y'know how those autoflush ones sometimes have the teensy buttons in case the auto feature doesn't work. Speaking of which, THAT is another ick-me-out reason for hovering - the autoflush that flushes with volcanic eruptive force while one is still doing one's business...... EEEK! It's a toilet, not a dang bidet!)

By Blogger Heather, at April 10, 2008 at 2:04 PM  

On the other hand, hovering does give those thigh muscles a good workout....

By Anonymous nancy, at April 11, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

I never knew that was called "hovering;" I thought it was just something all moms taught their daughters to do. Like always wearing a bra and staying away from guys who call themselves "Spike."

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 11, 2008 at 5:57 PM  

Okay, you know what? I'm a girl and a biologist to boot and I HATE ALL YOU HOVERING HO-BAGS! Why? Because, to a man (woman), your aim BLOWS GOATS. So now, instead of having a hard plastic thing to sit on that, by virtue of being hard plastic and room temperature, has practically NOTHING (and certainly nothing you probably haven't been exposed to by eating, or worse, RUBBING YOUR EYES during the day) I have to pee hovering over a hard plastic seat SOAKED IN YOUR MOIST, GERMY URINE. Which DOES harbor gross things. Gah. Annoyance. Just suck it up and sit, you weenies.

Sorry, off soapbox. But STILL... Hovering. Hate. Oh! And the toilet paper may make you FEEL better/safer, but think where that roll has been sitting. That's right, RIGHT next to the swirling, germ-atomzing toilet. If you're going to be neurotic, be neurotic ALL THE WAY.

By Blogger Adrienne, at April 12, 2008 at 7:18 AM  

Adrienne, if you're a biologist, you should know that urine is sterile unless you have a urinary tract infection. (I hope you can tell I'm teasing you and not trying to be snippy.) It's not the germs in urine that gross me out to sit in it, it's the fact that it's a biological waste product and sitting in it is just plain nasty to contemplate.

But yeah, I too think our germophobic society goes too far sometimes, and hovering unless the toilet seat is visibly icky is one of those times. TP isn't an effective barrier and, as people have pointed out, it's not like there's much to put up a barrier against usually anyway. I do a quick inspection (and can I put in a vote for black toilet seats being outlawed?) and if it passes I sit. I also often flush with my hand. I do wash them, after all, unlike some women I've observed.

By Anonymous Shawna, at April 14, 2008 at 8:24 AM  

Ahh, but urine is only sterile so long as there is no UTI and the urine is still inside the bladder. There are the e. coli, the staph. aureus and whatnot resident on the, ahem, outside of the urinary tract in men and women, on the way out. And then there's whatever might be floating around in the air.

Long story gross, standing urine is a very good medium for incubating more bacteria. So the biologist was right, and you're right too. People who hover are creating a problem for the next poor soul that probably didn't exist before the hover-er went a'hover-ing.

By Blogger Febrifuge, at April 14, 2008 at 8:42 PM  

Also, aside from hovering being neurotic and messy, it also makes you more suseptible to UTIs. Something about how clenching your muscles prevents your bladder from emptying all the way. So, for your health and well as for the sake of the next person in the stall, please just sit down.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 25, 2008 at 11:27 AM  

I'm glad you all explained yourselves. I was still reading "hover" the way M.Giant used it at the start of the post, as in "helicopter parent," and I wondered why he so vehemently refused to do it. I am enlightened.

By Anonymous Pucacodog, at May 13, 2008 at 9:23 PM  

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