It’s Not All Mary Poppins

A Trip to the Museum, and Some Socio-Cultural Non-Education

Last Wednesday, the children went to the Museum of Nature with Haley. We all headed down there on the bus together, then I departed for Errands to Run. (Errands! Without toddlers in tow! How exciting!! The bank, the post office, the hardware store await! Woo-hoo! And then a quiet coffee. Imagine the bliss.)

By all accounts, they had a great time. As is often the case with the tots, the parts most entertaining for the adult in charge were not the educational focal points of the trip.

The children had enjoyed their trip – and they were given BUTTONS!! With this engineer dino guy on them!!! They had left the museum, and crossed the street when Darcy announced his need to pee. What else can they do? Back they go. Back into the museum, up the steps, into the bathroom. Everyone into the large wheelchair-accessible stall. Darcy does his bit, but, now that we’re in here, eveyone may as well have a turn, or you know what’ll happen, don’t you? They’ll all be across the street and the next one will have to PEE, NOW!! As George pees, Zach wonders what that thing on the wall is.

“That’s a thing for grown-up women,” Haley explains, factually if uninformatively.

“Yadies?” – Zach. “Just for grown-ups?” – Darcy.

“Yes. Just for grown-up ladies.”

Arthur, of course, wants to know how it works.

“Well, you put your money in here, and turn this knob.” More non-information disguised as a straight answer. It makes a mother proud, truly it does. You realize this is not squeamishness on either of our parts, only the belief that this stuff should generally come from the parents when possible. Also a disinclination to start running sex ed. classes for toddlers in the museum toilets. We have a bus to catch.

Besides, Arthur is perfectly satisfied with this answer. Turning a knob is more than adequate compensation for such coinage as is required. He has no trouble with this. Who wouldn’t pay to turn a knob?

Except…”It’s only just for ladies?” Arthur’s voice is tinged with a mixture of incredulity and disapproval. Why are the men are being ripped off? Completely unjust discrimination. (I know more than a few women who might agree with him on this, as it happens.) But that’s okay. Next trip to a public washroom, the daddies can explain all about the condom-dispensers! See how helpful outings are for the social education of one’s children?? My only regret is I’m unlikely to be there when it happens.

George, meantime, is facing the bowl, his back to the focus of interest. “What’s only for grown-up ladies?” He turns to look – and a glistening arc turns with him.

“ACK! George! Don’t turn around! Get that pee in the toilet.” Haley’s agitated directions bounce off the tiled walls. Further production lands in the bowl. Phew.

Mission accomplished, the troop out. Past the security guard stationed at the entrance to the washroom, a security guard who meets Haley’s eye with an amused grin, a security guard who has quite obviously, heard every word.

Tots are such fun!

June 12, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 18 Comments