I do realise that this blog post will be seen as TMI (Too Much Information) to some readers. For those who do think this; I sincerely apologise. To all the non-parents out there, I again also apologise. But to those of you who are both not bothered by toilet habits and are parents as well, well I would very much like to hear your thoughts.
My daughter has been late with her latest set of jabs. She was due them when she was roughly 3 and a half, but due to busy schedules and her constant need to pick up a cold and infection she wasn’t able to have them until last week; now aged 4. Half a year overdue does so bad though doesn’t it ….
Anyhow, I digress. Because she was such a good girl, I decided to take her to the cinema the day after. It was her first visit to a cinema and because the new Tinkerbell: Secret of the Wings film was showing, I thought she would get a lot from it. Now, I need to digress again (simply to explain the situation … it will make sense though, I promise).
Autumn has only recently just taken to the potty/toilet. She has been very lazy with trying to hold it if she needs to go and just using nappy after nappy. However, after much persuasion her mother and I have finally got her going regularly. Her mother and I are separated and I’m sure some of her laziness is possibly down to her having different routines with both of us. To get her to use the potty or toilet I used two tactics. A good dad, bad dad sort of tactics if you please. The good daddy had a star chart stuck to the bathroom wall and every time she used the said toilet or potty she got to place a star on the chart. A group of five stars earned her a reward. The bad daddy used (dare I say it) scare tactics, or more simply “If you want to go to big girl school next year, you will have to start using the toilet. They simply won’t let you go if you are still wearing nappies.” Autumn is very much looking forward to ‘big girl’ school – you see where my point was going.
After the film had finished, Autumn delightfully told me she needed the toilet AFTER we had left the cinema. Good timing, eh? Luckily I knew of a public toilet block only a few minutes away. She was ever so good to hold it until we reached them. Now, as a single father with a daughter, the dilemma starts.
What do you do? Obviously I simply cannot stroll into the ladies parading my daughter in front of me saying nonchalantly “It’s OK, I’m with my daughter.” I did try the disabled toilets first, which was currently occupied and I didn’t want to run the risk of waiting. Are you even allowed to use the disabled toilets if you aren’t disabled?
I had no choice but to take her the gents.
I explained to her just before we went in that this was the boy’s toilets and when we went in she had to cover her eyes until we had reached a cubicle and daddy has said it was OK to look again. This was my first mistake.
It is not something I had ever really taken much notice of before, but these toilets were designed completely rubbish! To get to the cubicles you had to walk past fifteen or so urinals first. When we entered there were roughly eight or so men using said urinals and let’s just say nothing was left to the imagination.
Autumn did not let me cover her eyes, constantly pulling them down and actually went to look. “Look, daddy. They are standing up.”
You can probably imagine how my face looked. I did apologise as I ushered her into the first vacant cubicle. The looks I got in return however, were not ones of ‘It’s OK, we understand.’ Thankfully, when we took our chance to escape, we were alone.
I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. What else was I to do? But it reminded me of an incident last year when I was visiting a nature park. I had left my friend and nipped off to use the loo. The urinals in the gents there was one of those trough sort of ones and there were a few of us in there at the time, when all of a sudden a man and his daughter came in. He asked her to wait a minute whilst he quickly unzipped himself and stood next to me. His daughter, at a guess, must have been around 8 years old. She was very intrigued as to what was going on and took it upon her self to come and inspect each of us until her father realised what she was doing and barked at her to go and wait against the sinks.
Is it really viable to install Father-Daughter toilets? Probably not, but as you can imagine it is much easier and less hassle for Mother-Son situations. Of course I am turning a complicated situation in to a black and white simple example here, but just imagine if a man ‘exposed’ himself near a young child, the possible incrimination’s of what that young child could then go and say to someone else.
Perhaps I am being too prudish here and possibly making something of nothing. I’m not quite sure. Are there any single fathers reading this? What are your thoughts? I’m also interested as to what mothers think about this – get in touch and let me know.
PS – Autumn did get 50p to put in her money box for using the toilet.