Come on in, the Toilet’s Warm


The other day I was using the bathroom, Sally was using her potty seat in the same bathroom, we were having a lovely conversation about her day . . . and the Mister came home from work, walked into the open bathroom and greeted us with kisses right there on the pot.

There are a lot of things wrong with this scene.

I used to have really high bathroom privacy standards. And when Mr. Embee and I were dating, I told him in no uncertain terms that some things were off limits, even between man and wife — bathroom time was private time, and we would never pee in front of each other. Ever.

This was pretty easy to keep up once we were married (No, we didn’t live together until then. I know, old school, right?). It helped that our first house’s only bathroom wasn’t even big enough for ONE person. Really. You could shake hands with someone in the living room while you showered.

Then we moved into our baby house, where we have three bathrooms (this sounds fancier than it is) so there was never an excuse to barge in on each other. Pick a toilet, buddy, just stay out of MINE until I’m done with all my prep work.

Then we had Sally.

Sally, like most newborns, was really crappy at sleeping. We spent six weeks playing womb sounds, swaddling, cosleeping, doing rain dances, sacrificing animals, ANYTHING to keep her sleeping. At night when we wearily–and silently–settled down for our 90-minutes of sleep, we couldn’t gamble with closing the bathroom door. We did all our business there, together, while making pointed gestures at each other that amounted to “Shut. Up. You wake it, You DIE.” I’d never realized flossing was so noisy.

Sharing bathroom time was a matter of survival and really, the man had watched as I grew stretch marks, writhed in pain, screamed for drugs and then finally gave birth–the jig was up.

Later, there were times when I’d go to the bathroom while holding Sally. Don’t make that face, it can be done and the other option was dying of bladder rupture. When she started walking she’d toddle in there and check out what was going on. I figured it was something she needed to learn anyway; might as well be comfortable with it. But because she is somewhat claustrophobic, the door had to be open. And so we have our current situation. There are no boundaries, even after Sally is asleep. The last sanctuary in the American home has been taken from me. And I let it happen. For shame.

And while it’s, you know, annoying to step out of the shower and have a three-foot-tall person standing there asking for food or a toy; or for that person to ask if she can help you wipe; or for her to tell you “just push it out, Mommy, let’s go!” the times it’s really a problem are when we’re in a situation where we need to fain privacy standards for the sake of societal expectations. If we’re visiting family and I’ve got to see a man about a horse, I try to go alone and lock the door. Most of the time I get to spend my 60-second break listening to Sally cry and bang on the door like I’ve left her on the Titanic. If we have guests over, Sally tries to convince me that they don’t mind, I can keep the door open. I’m going to keep that idea handy in case I ever want to end a friendship.

It’s another reminder that this is Sally’s world and we’re just living in it. And in her world, she likes all doors open and isn’t afraid to share details. (“Look Mommy, they look like letters!” My pride and joy, people.)

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3 responses to “Come on in, the Toilet’s Warm

  1. So true, so true. The first week home with my little one, I took my showers with her standing at the side, door open, making sure I wasn’t going anywhere ( getting wet herself the entire time). I haven’t had a bathroom break to myself (save for little Miss being asleep) since I met her. Now, she hasn’t offered to help wipe, but she’s ready and waiting with the T.P. for me, just in case I forget.

  2. So it isn’t normal for my little one to poke her head through the shower curtain and say “oooooo…wooooow”?

  3. I love your blog! It makes me feel normal! Or at least like my family’s not alone in our eccentricities.

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