September 30, 2011
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
Three has turned into a backseat driver.
In all fairness to her teachers, I’m sure they have quite the task to keep almost 20 three-year-olds in line. Literally. But why is it that when young children learn something at home, they feel compelled to come home and try to impose the same rules on the rest of the family?
In the last two weeks, I’ve heard the following several times from behind my seat.
“Mama, stay in line.”
When she said it the first time, I didn’t quite understand the reference.
“Stay in line with the rest of the cars.”
Of course I smiled, thinking her command cute. How nice, I thought, that her teachers are stressing the need to remain disciplined when waiting for something.
“I am staying in line.”
“No, you’re not. Stay in line.”
If she hadn’t said it so emphatically, I would have continued to think it was cute. But hearing the directive several times since has changed my perception.
“Mama, stay in line.”
“No, you’re not. You need to stay in line with the other cars.”
Coming from someone who probably wouldn’t even be able to see over the steering wheel, you can imagine how this no longer seems cute.
Three, also, has found a new hobby: stopping in restaurants after school to go to the bathroom.
Picture, if you will, the irony of this. The child who refused to use the potty at the appropriate times when the summer started now thinks it fun to stop in Starbucks to use the bathroom, commenting the entire way on the muffins and other items in the glass case. She never asks to buy anything; she just feels compelled to talk about what she sees while also stating how much she enjoys drinking milk at Starbucks and also asking me in the same breath whether I would prefer to drink coffee or tea to accompany her.
It started on Monday. I picked her up from school and Three sat in the car and chatted amiably about her day. After a few minutes of her non-stop banter, she announced she had to go to the bathroom.
I started scanning the road for a place to stop. She’s only been potty trained for a few months, and I’m still careful with her. I want to continue to instill confidence in her, to help her trust herself and her abilities. I still hesitate to ask her to “hold it.” So when a situation like this arises, I drop everything else and look right away for a bathroom.
The route we take from school to school is somewhat of a smaller street and doesn’t have as many fast food restaurants, but I managed to find one that looked decent and took Three inside. Chatting the entire way, she smiled and commented on everything as she proceeded to use the bathroom. When I told her I had to use the bathroom as well, she seemed tickled.
On Tuesday she sat in the car after school and, once again, after a few minutes declared she had to go to the bathroom. That day we made the Starbucks pit stop. Both girls love Starbucks; we’ve stopped there a few times for a cup of tea or coffee in the evening, and the girls have enjoyed the organic milk available there. Owing to the amazing memory most children seem to possess, even after only a few snack times at Starbucks both Three and Five express their love for the coffee giant.
So we stopped in Starbucks to use the bathroom, and Three very kindly offered me the opportunity to pee if I needed to; this time I declined.
I began to wonder, though, whether these bathroom stops were more about novelty instead of necessity.
Sure enough, on Wednesday when I picked Three up, she said right away, “As soon as I put my seatbelt on, let’s find a restaurant to stop so I can go pee-pee.”
I pulled out of the school parking lot and asked Three about her day. When we were two-thirds of the way home I asked her whether she needed to go to the bathroom. She said yes, so we stopped at the same place we stopped on Monday. Three asked why we couldn’t stop at Starbucks, and I told her we’d already passed it. She seemed slightly miffed but agreed that stopping for the bathroom ranked higher on the priority list than where we actually stopped.
As she got in the car yesterday, I held my breath and half-expected her to ask to stop for the bathroom again. Yesterday, though, was “Western Day” at school, and Three was too excited about being dressed like a cowgirl to bother about the bathroom. I got the regular report of who came to school, who didn’t come to school, and the rundown on Play-Doh versus activities with scissors.
I suppose I should be grateful Three has never asked to eat in any of the places we’ve stopped. But I also hope that her latest hobby doesn’t last too long. There’s only so many times I can talk about those muffins.