Tonight we went to Costco.
One minute we are having fun chattering in the freezer section, the next minute I am informed - very loudly - that one of our children needs to go poop. As in, NOW. THIS VERY SECOND.
Charlie has one cart loaded with groceries, I have the other, partially loaded with children and more groceries. Our eyes briefly connect while our child is dancing around our feet, clutching themselves and yelling, "I NEED TO GO POOP! I NEED TO GO POOP! I NEED TO GO POOP! POOP! POOP! POOP!!"
As our children are rapidly approaching the age of four, their language has become much more articulate than it was just a few short months ago. No longer are we the only ones to understand the words that they use. Now when they speak, anyone who has any grasp of the English language would know exactly what they are saying.
There's no covering this one up, so we do our best to ignore the fellow shoppers who have stopped their shopping and turned to stare. My husband actually attempted to feign oblivion to the situation and looks around, saying aloud to no one in particular, "Oh would you look at that! Raspberries are still in season and they're on SALE!"
Meanwhile, I abandon my cart and taking my child's hand, lead them to the restroom - all the while praying that they don't drop a load somewhere between the absolute back corner of the store and the very, very front. As we are walking away at a brisk clip, I notice that my other two three-year-old children are running behind me yelling, "I need to go POOP too, Mama!! Wait!! WAIT!! I GO POO POO TOO!!"
To all the people who had stopped to stare at us as we trotted along the 1,000-foot corridor from where we had been standing in the freezer section, to where we were going in the latrine section, I smiled and nodding my head to the back of the store declared, "There's a great deal on raspberries! They are on sale and going fast in produce!!"
We make it to the bathroom and there is a long wait. And while we wait my children are chanting in unison, "I need to go POOP. I need to go POOP." Which very soon causes a stir because in the land of three, when you have to go poop, only YOU have to go poop.
No one else dare lay claim to that bodily need.
Yet because more than one of my children purportedly needed to go poop, there was bickering, "You not need to go poop. I NEED TO GO POOP!" Followed by, "NO. YOU NOT POOP. I GO POOP!!"
And finally, after what seemed like 15 minutes, after much shushing and mouth covering, a stall opened up. One of the standard small stalls, not the over sized handicapped stall I had been hoping for. I ushered the kids in to the small space and then tried to corral them in the corner while I closed the door. They are trying to kick the trash can which is piled high with who knows what. They are trying to pull seat covers out. They are trying to flush the toilet. They are touching everything and attempting to squeeze in behind me and open the door.
"HOLD STILL!!" I bellow.
"PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR ELBOWS AND DO NOT MOVE!!"
I wipe off the seat and put a seat cover on before depositing the child who started the mad dash to the bathroom. Only to see that their request to use the bathroom came about ... uh ... five minutes too late. They finish what remains of their business while their siblings crowd around the back of the toilet and inquire, "You go POOP? Lemme see the poop. Where the poop?!"
I put the next child up. While they are trying to do their business, two other children are crowded around the back of the toilet inquiring "You go POOP? Lemme see, lemme see. Lemme see the POOP. OHHH!!! I SEE POOP!!!!" and then grabbing at their noses, "OH, it's STINKY!!!"
The second child is taken down and the third is put up. They don't have to go poop. They just like all the attention and fanfare, so they sit for a while, soaking up the excitement, reveling in the moment.
The third child comes off the potty and I decide that while I'm there, heck, I may as well go, too. As I'm preparing to sit down, one of my children kneels down in an area where only a three-year-old could fit and demands, "Hey, where's your PEANUT?"
My other two children stop talking long enough to hear me respond, "Girls don't have peanuts." Now although I believe it is important that children know the correct nomenclature for parts of their body, the public restroom at Costco is not necessarily the place I want to give the kids a lesson in anatomy. KWIM?
In that time that I was talking to the children, I noticed that the bathroom was eerily quiet. For a brief moment, I thought that maybe everyone had vacated and we were left alone in the restroom. But when I peeked out underneath the stall door, I could see that there were at least 20 pairs of shoes - standing in line - and the stalls on either side of me - were occupied.
One of my children saw me look under the stall and dropped to their knees to see what I was looking at. The other two children were attempting to cluster around the back of the toilet. "Mommy, you go poop? Lemme see, lemme see, lemme see. Do you go poo-poo, too MOM? Where's the poop? I don't see any poop? Mom, you go poop or you go pee-pee?"
I pulled the child off the ground who who was now attempting to crawl under the stall, and as they stood up, they exclaimed, "HEY MOM! You have a BIG bum!! Look at your big bum!! Turning around they pointed to themselves and continued, "I have a wittle bum!! See my wittle bum?! It's WITTLE!"
Chuckling I replied, "Yeah, but you know what? You have a BIG mouth!"
I'll be darned if everyone wasn't eavesdropping on us, because the whole restroom erupted in to laughter.