Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bathrooms Across America

The title lends itself to a false conclusion. We actually didn't venture across America, but only 1000 miles from our cozy home in California to the gorgeous expanse of Estes Park, Colorado. (I actually find myself wondering why people choose to live in California versus Colorado, but here we are and here we stay.)

However, along this 1000 miles of highway I encountered something I never anticipated discovering. Before I disclose this marvelous epiphany, let me set it up like this. From the first time you change a diaper of your precious baby, you fantasize about the time in the future when diapers will no longer be a part of your life. From simple "wet" diapers, to full out explosions that climb up the back of your tiny, helpless child, the hope that someday diapers will be a thing of the past keeps you changing that one last diaper. The stench of dirty diapers can be muted by the knowledge, that someday, somehow, you will only REMEMBER diapers, not be an active participant with the diapers. Well folks, after 8 years of such occurrences in my life I finally waved diapers good bye. Jubilantly I bragged to my friends that I no longer had to change a diaper. But with all good news, comes a small bit of bad news. The bad news I discovered on this trip.

I have never been inside more bathrooms in so many different locations in my life. I think we visited 8, 451, 901 bathrooms on this trip to and from Colorado. I tried to make sure the kids all went to the bathroom at logical stops like the gas stations or the food establishments. But never could we make it all the way between these stops without having to make an emergency stop at some other restroom along the way. I have to say the best bathrooms were in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We stopped here to walk along the river and hike a trail. (The hiking thing is also an issue I would like to discuss at a later time). These bathrooms were exemplary in their looks, smells, and over all cleanliness. This surprised me, and is worth mentioning, because it was a bathroom along a river where people rode bikes and hiked. I expected a mess, really, of carelessly unflushed toilets and moist floors. However, these characteristics inhabited most food establishments. I couldn't believe how disgusting bathrooms were in food places. It made me not want to eat; and made my stomach churn when I would hear those fateful words: "Mom, I gotta go potty." These words I wanted to hear for so long...struck fear through my body when I heard them. Fear in the sense, that I never knew what was going to be on the other side of the door marked "WOMEN."

Some toilets, usually at places that only had one toilet in total, were way to high for my tiny girls. So I found myself having to maneuver them onto the toilets avoiding any unnecessary touching of anything around the toilet. Then holding them on the toilet while reaching for the toilet paper to then figure out the best course for wiping. This again, while avoiding any touching of other bathroom paraphernalia that may have been present. It was a sight; I now wish I had taken pictures. Most places had the "motion sensitive" water and paper towels, that just confirmed to me over and over...I am actually invisible.

The trip was good...and thankfully there were no accidents...several close calls...a couple of tense moments...but no accidents. I am thankful that my girls are potty trained, but I considered more than once putting them all in diapers just for the rode trip part of the vacation. Would that have been wrong?