Parenthood is full of dilemmas. Moments when you have to choose one path over another.
My dilemma today was a big one – TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE?
We took a trip to the beach today. The kids and I drove there and I drank a giant cup of tea on the way (you’ll understand this detail in a minute).
The three of us arrived, and schlepped all our beach “stuff” (which is A LOT when you bring kids), and settled ourselves on a perfect spot of the beach. It was then that I realized I needed to go to the bathroom. I blame the big cup of tea!
So I gathered both kids and we walked across the beach to the bathroom.
We were all about to enter the “Women’s Room” when my son suddenly stopped. He read the sign and yelled, “WAIT! I’m a boy with a penis, I am NOT going in the girl’s bathroom. NO, NO, NO!”. “NO – WAY – JOSÉ!” (yep he yelled that!).
First I “sshhhhshh’d him. Because honestly, all I heard was him screaming the word “penis” and I could only imagine what other beach-goers thought he was yelling about.
Then I calmly explained that of course he could come in the women’s room with me like he always does. I said, “Mommy has to use the potty and you have to come in with me and wait”.
Nope. He refused to budge. He kept yelling, “I am not a woman, I’m a MEN, I go to the MEN’S ROOM”.
On the one hand, I understood his complaint… He is getting bigger. He feels like a man who belongs in the “Men’s” Room.
But understand my side… he is a little kid and is not old enough to go into a public restroom alone, or be left outside alone. Either option is just not safe.
It was either Women’s Room, or nothing.
Now we have a dilemma.
For 10 minutes, we discussed it calmly. We stood in the doorway. Me almost peeing my pants, and he absolutely refusing to come in with me.
I even started doing the potty dance. He still wouldn’t budge.
It was a true dilemma. I couldn’t leave him alone outside at a crowded beach, and I couldn’t drag him in with me.
So what did I do? I decided to bargain with him.
I offered him a lollipop, candy, an ice cream cone? No, not enough.
I offered unlimited iPad usage that evening. Nope. Still wasn’t enough.
“How about a new Thomas train?”, I said. (Please don’t judge… I really had to pee!).
He thought about that one for a minute… A new train????????
I saw a slight shift in that stubborn face he had been maintaining so well. Finally… He said YES! He agreed he would come in the Women’s Room if I’d get him a new train (trains are definitely the way to my son’s heart).
And of course, I said okay.
Call it what you like… bargaining, using persuasive measures, bribing… Whatever it was, it worked. I got to pee. And he got a train.
In my eyes, it was a win-win. I even felt proud for a moment.
Until… walking away from the bathroom, I realized I now have a new dilemma. How to avoid having to buy my son a new train every time I need to go to the bathroom.
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