I have to poo!

My first mistake was going to a mall with a specific time frame in mind and a three year old in tow. What was I thinking?  Yet, how could I resist? Mr. T was going to be in a class right across from a mall. I had a whole hour and a half to kill and a gift card had been burning a hole in my pocket for a few months so I thought now is the perfect time.

At first it wasn’t so bad. Ms. J followed behind me like such a big little girl pointing out the pretty dresses that she liked and making sure to point out that the lady in the poster outside of La Senza “wasn’t hiding her boobies”. That didn’t last long though. I got in the first change room and Ms. J loudly informed me that she had to go poo. I had just undressed and was getting ready to try on the new clothes I so desperately needed. I sighed and said “ok I’ll soon be done and we will head to the bathroom” She quickly exclaimed “I’m going to poo my pants” as she hopped around the change room holding her bum. Afraid there was going to be an accident right on the change room floor, I hurried out of the store knowing I didn’t even have to explain since the whole store must have heard.

We found a bathroom, quickly took off coat, hat and scarf and went into a stall. Ms. J sat on the toilet, looked up at me smiling and said “I don’t have to poo, I was just tricking you”. WHAT?????? I tried to explain to Ms. J that we shouldn’t play trick about having to go to the bathroom as we washed our hands and continued on our shopping trip.

A three year old might seem too old for a stroller but when you are trying to hurry through a mall on a tight timeline a stroller is just what you need. Unfortunately I didn’t have one.

We finally made it back, hot, sweaty and out of breath. I hurriedly rushed through the store picking out random items without really looking at them racing back into the change room. I pulled on a new pair of pants and Ms. J begins again. “I have to poo” she exclaims.

I slumped down in a chair, feeling defeated. I know that I don’t have the time or the energy to fight my way to the bathroom and back again but when am I going to have the chance to come back to the mall? As I weighed my options, Ms. J continued to hop up and down whining, claiming she had to poo.  I decided to call her bluff. This, after all, is a common tactic for her, demanding to use public bathrooms as a method of entertainment. She whined, complained and continued hopping up and down as my voice got louder and more frustrated and I actually began whining back at her.

I walked out of the change room and came face to face with a young woman who seemed to be about 20, probably had no children of her own and she stared at me with a look of horror on her face. She turned her gaze down and Ms. J who by this point had decided to pull her tights down exposing her backside to the entire store, and then looked back at me with such judgment and disgust in her eyes. My eyes welled with tears as I stared back at her and demanded that Ms. J pull her tights back up.

I wanted to demand that this young woman, who was enjoying a leisurely shopping trip, stop judging me. I wanted to ask her if she knew what it was like to wear the same pants day in and day out because most of what you own doesn’t fit. I wanted to ask her if she had to hold on to a gift card for months and months because her weekends were occupied with soccer practices, gymnastics and vomiting toddlers. I wanted to beg her to watch my toddler for just half an hour and see how many times she was forced to expose herself to a public bathroom, covering the toilet seat in paper so that little bums didn’t touch dirty seats, reminding little ones not to touch anything including the pee that was left behind by whoever used the stall last. I wanted to ask her how she would feel to know all of those public bathroom trips ended without an actual pee or poo but a giggle and a “I was just tricking you I don’t have to pee!” I wanted to tell her to remember me in 5, 10, 15 years when she has her own kids and has a moment of sheer frustration when her children are demanding more of her than she is capable of giving in that one moment.

Instead I looked her right in the eye and smiled, trying to compose myself and I took my new pants to the counter. I took my daughters hand and looking down at her I said “Thank you for waiting for me to finish, now let’s go use the bathroom”. Gripping my hand, she happily skipped out of the store proclaiming “I don’t have to poo anymore now let’s go get me a treat!”.

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