Let me give you a hypothetical situation. Totally hypothetical. Totally.
Let's say you have a sudden urge to "use the facilities" and drag your 4-year-old child into a restroom. Let's just say that the restroom is at, oh, I don't know . . . Wal-Mart.
You rush in and push open the first door available. You thoroughly cover the seat with toilet paper and remind your child to stand against the stall wall. You sit down.
You smile at your child.
"Are you excited about the new mac & cheese we got?"
"I wuv mac & cheese. I wuv Dora. Are we girls?"
"Uh…yes, we're girls. You're a girl. I'm a-"
Your conversation is interrupted and your smile turns to shock when you hear a loud "bathroom noise" from the adjacent stall. Not so subtly, your child blurts out, "SOMEONE TOOTED, MOMMY!" which only makes you giggle because you realize what an understatement that is.
You hold your finger to your lips attempting to shush her, unable to speak because you are trying to keep your uncontrolled laughter both silent and controlled. Your child delights at your restraint and realizes that their comment is what made you laugh, so they try again. "SOMEONE TOOTED, MOMMY! SOMEONE TOOTED!"
You attempt to cover your child's mouth with your hand. "Mummmy…wuh wah ooing (muffle, muffle)" followed by peals of laughter. She pulls your hand away, which takes little effort because you can't stop laughing. She laughs more and thinks this is a game. You wave your finger over your mouth in a shushing motion and try to distract her with something else, while holding back your laughter, "Look at this toilet paper. Isn't it long…and white? See how long and white it is?" Tears are running down your face.
As you're wiping your tears with the toilet paper, she crouches down to look under the stall wall.
You notice and quickly pull her up, but not before she notices the color of your neighbor's shoes.
"He has red shoes, Mommy."
He? Your laughter subsides because it's suddenly replaced by worry that maybe, in your haste, you entered the wrong restroom. It does seem more likely that that noise would have come from a man, but then you recall that there were no urinals, so this must be the women's restroom. You hope.
"He furry legs like daddy." You cringe at your child's words, but are simultaneously worried, so you peer down under the stall. You realize it's definitely a woman, a woman that doesn't own a razor.
At this point the odor hits both you and your child like a wall of rotten cheese. Your child says, "That's stinky, Mommy! 'Scusting. That's 'scusting, Mommy. Ewwwww! That's not funny, Mommy. That's 'scusting."
You shake your head "no" because you can't believe this happening. You shush your child and begin your diversion tactics again, "Look at this toilet paper. See how long and white it is. And what shape is this container? Round? Circle?"
"Are you pooping, Mommy?"
"Yes, Mommy's pooping. Everybody poops. You poop, right? Everybody poops."
She sings, "Mommy's pooping, Mommy's pooping." You faux flush the toilet in an attempt to cover your child's words.
You attempt to finish up and decide you can really finish at home, you don't even care if you crap your pants in the car, you just want out of this bathroom.
You decide everyone has suffered enough and even though you aren't finished and may suffer consequences, that doesn't seem to compare to the agony you're currently experiencing. So you finish up, button up, wash up and exit, leaving the wall of rotten cheese behind you.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Kate Hall is a married homeschooling mom to her three kids, all of which were adopted from China, living in the lovely suburbs of Chicago.
See more of Kate's stories here.