Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flush to the Future

Isn't it funny how something so routine will bring back a memory out of nowhere? Mine happened today when I was using the bathroom at Panera Bread. (Nothing gross - I promise!)

I started the morning with a migraine, and my first line of defense is coffee - LOTS OF IT! Guess what happens when you guzzle coffee like a thirsty man left alone in the desert for a week? Yep. I had to go. I became very familiar with Panera's bathroom - which is very clean, by the way - and their wonderful use of technology. That's right - automatic flushing toilets! It was on my third visit that it hit me - the automatic flushing toilets - I mean. Rewind my life about 6 years or so...

Both of my girls went through a phase when even the thought of an automatic flushing toilet made them want to opt to wet their pants rather than use the facilities. I remember begging and pleading with them, bribing them, placing my hand in front of the sensor (not on it - ewwwwww...) while trying to hold them over the potty, and plain out threatening that if they didn't use the bathroom they were going to be in big trouble.

But we still had tears - lots of them. Going to the bathroom in public could turn into a nightmare if we went to the "right" store, restaurant, etc... I always dreaded it more if there were other people in there. I am sure that they thought we had all just lost our marbles - my pleading, their crying...

Now I know that many children have had a fear of using those wonderful pieces of porcelain technology. Heck, I know several adults who have confided in me that they get a little weirded out by them, too. But my girls were between 5 and 6 years-old at the time. And they were tall 5 and 6 year-olds. Now add that their speech wasn't always clear as these meltdowns were happening. Such good times!

One day it just ended. I remember it so well. We were eating at the local McDonald's, and the girls went to use the bathroom. The reason I remember it so well was because we were sitting right near the restrooms, so I let them go in by themselves. A few minutes later they came out and made an announcement. To us and all the other patrons eating at McDonald's that day. (And there were quite a few from what I recall...)

"Guess what?! We used the potty and we weren't scared at all!"

Not in a quiet voice. Tall 5 and 6 year-olds. Well past the potty-training phase. All I could do was smile and say that was great.

And it is great. Can you imagine having to deal with that issue today? With 12 and 13 year-old girls. Tall 12 and 13 year-old girls. We are beyond fortunate, because I know some people might be dealing with this exact issue. My heart goes out to those people, because I remember the embarrassment and the frustration.

As I continue this walk down memory lane, I recognize that we have been blessed. Blessed with two unique, loving girls. Blessed with people in our lives who love them like they are their own. And blessed with something that has kept us going since September 21, 1999 - a sense of humor.

So the next time you are presented with an automatic flushing toilet, and you use it without being afraid, I want you to own it. Open that restroom door and proudly proclaim that you have used the potty, and you weren't scared at all!


  1. That's fantastic Mrs. Joy! Yes we must embrace the fact that we aren't scared of the potty.

  2. I really enjoy reading your life stories. I think you are a gifted writer and will indeed write a book someday.

  3. Thank you so much, Anonymous! I am looking forward to writing more. The kids keep supplying me with more material!

  4. This is Monica, I deleted my face book. That was so wonderful! Next time I pee and it flushes on it's own, I will be cracking up. Love you!