It’s Not All Mary Poppins

More candid that I planned

It has been years since I have had the luxury of a private daytime pee. Years. Many years. Years which, if I’m totally honest, can be measured in decades.

(No, I don’t feel old. I doubt I will when I get into my fifties, not far off now. And those of you twenty- and thirty-somethings who grouse about feeling OOOOLD just because some ephemeral fashion fad you loved is now twenty minutes in the past? You just make yourself look silly. And young. Very young.)

But still. It has been a couple of decades since I have been able to shut the door during working hours and concentrate on the task at hand. Nope. I pee with the door ajar, an ear cocked for mayhem, I race down the stairs zipping my fly, and I wash hands at the kitchen sink. Because GOD ONLY KNOWS what could break out in the 86 seconds I’m up there.

I’m sure this sounds familiar to all parents of toddlers. Now imagine doing that every working day for OVER TWENTY YEARS.

It becomes so ingrained that, even though I do shut the door in the evenings (something which causes my teenagers great joy), I still zip and tuck on my way down the stairs, and I still wash my hands in the kitchen. Habits die hard.

We are just back from an outing. The children have been charged with taking off their shoes, getting their slippers out of the basket where they are stored, and sitting on the couch. That should give me the requisite 86 seconds.

“Mary? Mary, I can’t find my nuther slipper!” Noah’s voice rockets skyward.

“I can’t help you right now. Did you look in the basket?”

“Yes, and I can’t find it!”

“Well, hang on a sec. I’ll help you as soon as I can.”

“It’s okay, Mary, I found it!” Emily’s voice is triumphant.

“Oh, good for you! Noah, did you say thank you to Emily?”


Noah, you need to say thank you to Emily.”

The voice that answers is neither Emily’s nor Noah’s. It is not a toddler’s voice at all.

“Thank yoooou, Em-i-leeee!” An adult voice sing-songs up the stairs. An adult voice parodying an obedient child. An adult, male voice. Not my husband, home early from work, nor my son, dropping by unexpectedly. Nope. A neighbour, one of the select few who isn’t required to knock before entering.

I zip and tuck before leaving the bathroom, and as I come downstairs to see why he’s here, I am wondering…

did I have an auditory audience for every little thing during my 86 seconds?


April 16, 2010 Posted by | eeewww, health and safety, potty tales | 10 Comments