being a mom

That Day When My Baby Licked The Drain In The Public Restroom

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(iStock / airspa)

When my youngest was 8-months-old, I stood watching him try to eat his big toe and realized I hadn’t left the house in four days. I needed some caffeine and to see other human beings besides my kids, and holy shit, I was going to make it happen. A trip to Target was going to keep me sane, I decided it was time to pull up my big girl panties and take my three kids –who were four and under– into a store just for fun to browse, I’d never done it before, but we would be just fine. What could go wrong?

The hour I spent trying to get everyone out the door had me thinking about how brilliant I was; I could put them all in the cart, buckle them in tight, feed them sugary snacks, and enjoy a large Diet Coke as we perused the extra-wide aisles.

Of course the magical, fizzy elixir went down too fast so I went for a refill knowing full well a woman who has birthed three kids can only hold her piss for so long.

My kids were behaving gloriously, but suddenly when I was in aisle six, stroking the fur throws, my bladder started playing water sports. Perhaps I could fashion this lovely blanket into a sarong if I started to spring a leak. Surely my kids would call me out.

I could hear it already, “Mommy, you couldn’t make it to the potty?” I stood taking the hard cross-legged standing position. Believe me, it’s a thing when you have to go so bad you are frozen in your own piss prison. Your body adjusts accordingly.

I managed to push the cart loaded with my kids to the family bathroom nice and dry, only to find it occupied. I could not wait, not another second. I had to go into the stall with all three of them. This was not a drill, it was happening. I had to show my children I could do hard things.

I had the baby on my hip and while I was unbuckling my two older kids with my other hand, it started to happen: the pee starting running down my leg. I was doing a wee in the middle of Target.

I told them we had to run really fast into the bathroom; the one that is not family friendly. The one where you all shove into the stall and tell your kids to keep their hands in their pockets and your faces are one inch apart as you are hosing the porcelain.

We made it in without further leakage, which deserves a trophy since I had to continue to hold my crawling baby while undoing my pants and relieving myself. To make matters worse (or should I say wetter), he was crying and flailing about. My grip loosened and I had two choices: I could either try and put him down gently for a moment and take better hold of him, or keep squeezing him and hope my top- heavy child did not flip out of my arms and land on the cold, hard tile floor next to the toilet.

I decided to try and lower him just enough to tighten my grip, which was great in theory, but before I knew it, he was off like a shot, but I was held prisoner by my never-ending flow.

What ‘s the worst that could happen? He would crawl around a bit, I would immediately wash all his clothes when we got home and give him a bath.

It was worth it to empty my bladder in an actual toilet instead of down my bare legs with my jeans around my ankles.

My daughter was trying to sit on my lap, my oldest son was drumming on the toilet paper dispenser, and I lost view of my baby. He scooted underneath the door. I tried to grab onto his foot but the stream of pee was strong, and my daughter was limiting my flexibility, so off he went.

I was going as fast as I could, but my child was faster. He was on a mission and as soon as I finished, got my pants up (unbuttoned) and opened the stall door, there he was; licking the drain in the public restroom.

I screamed, I cried, I scared my children to the heavens and back. I debated taking him to the emergency room, but decided on washing his mouth out with water (which did nothing, I am sure), and giving him a soapy bath when we got home and beat myself up for the rest of the night.

So yeah, my kid licked a drain in a public restroom once, I used to feel really bad about that, but you know what? That kid wasn’t sick for five years after that day. I am thinking public drain-licking should become a requirement at least once before the age of one.