Too Much Information- The Girl in the Men’s Room
Technically this post ran four years ago but in light of a recent conversation with my daughter it seemed appropriate to run it again. My daughter was five when this event took place.
If I didn’t have children I might have to go out and buy a few if for no other reason than they provide endless amounts of blog fodder. Sometimes I read through old posts about them and find myself laughing hysterically at the things I find.
Anyhoo, there has been an ongoing discussion with the children about what is appropriate to discuss with others. The few readers who know me well recognize that this is sort of a foreign thing to me. I am not a formal type of guy. I like to take a laid back and easy going approach. That is a fancy way of saying that I am not a prude.
However child rearing requires teaching those rascals many different things so that they have the skills to interact with anyone. So we work with them on manners and try to make sure that they know how to behave like civilized people as opposed to the crazed wild animals they sometimes imitate.
Allow me to provide an example. The dark haired beauty recently accompanied me on a trip to Target. While there I was greeted by the results of seven cups of coffee and had to make a quick trip to the men’s room. Initially she was less than happy about this, at five years old she is very clear on which side she thinks she belongs on.
Dad: It is ok to go in with me.
Daughter: No it isn’t. I am a girl.
Dad: Yes, I know but you still have to come in.
Daughter: I am not a boy.
Dad: I know, but I have to pee and you can’t stand outside by yourself.
Daughter: They’ll see me in there and I don’t like it.
Dad: So close your eyes while you are inside.
Daughter: I can’t. Someone might pee on me.
Dad: Trust me, they won’t.
Daughter: Dad, boys don’t know how to aim. They pee on the seat.
Dad: I don’t and I am not going to use the toilet.
Daughter: You can’t go in your pants.
Dad: I am not going to. I am going to use the urinal.
Daughter: Can I use it too?
Dad: No. It is not for girls.
Daughter: That is not fair! I want to use it!
Dad: When you see it you’ll understand why you can’t use it.
Daughter: Can’t you wait until we get home.
Dad: Not this time. We’re going in.
With that we walked inside and I took the lay of the land. Two stalls were occupied so even if I wanted to use them I could not. I headed over to the urinal on the far side and stationed the dark haired beauty next to the sink.
And then this next exchange took place.
Dad: What are you staring at?
Dad: You’re looking at me.
Daughter: Can’t you go to the bathroom and talk. Mom can do it.
Dad: That is good for mom.
Daughter: You can do it too. Take your penis out and pee and talk to me.
In case you are wondering those are words you don’t want to hear come from your daughter.
Dad: I can’t do it with you staring at me. Count the dots on the ceiling.
Dad: Sigh, because I need to know how many there are.
Daughter: Daddy, someone is pooping. They keep farting and it stinks. I want to leave.
Dad: Shh…We don’t need to announce that to everyone.
Daughter: Your penis is bigger than Little Jacks.
Dad: I thought that you are supposed to be counting.
Daughter: Sorry, I forgot.
Moments later we are finished with our bathroom adventure and we head out to finish shopping. We hit the toy section to buy a birthday gift for one of her friends and while we are standing in Barbie heaven she asks me about Ken.
Specifically she wants to know why Ken is missing pieces of his anatomy. It is a reasonable question, but I don’t have a reasonable answer, so I punt. I tell her that I just don’t know. For a moment or two that seems to hold her, but then she makes life more interesting.
She looks at a woman that works there and asks her why Ken suffered a tragic circumcision. That would be fine, other than she tells the woman that daddy has a penis that she has seen lots of times, so why doesn’t Ken.
Good lord, this kid has just managed to make me blush. It is an innocent comment. I don’t routinely walk around the house naked, but she has seen me in the birthday suit. It is the kind of question that offers the opportunity to get you in trouble, it shouldn’t but…
Somehow I am sure that my parents never worried about this sort of thing. Even if one of us had asked them the question, in that time no one was going to call child protective services. It really caught me off guard. I make a goofy smile and quietly walk away.
During the ride home we have a discussion about what is appropriate to discuss and what isn’t. A few hours later she decides to tell her mother and brother about the expedition and what happened. Only she has her version of the story which goes something to the effect of “Daddy says we can’t talk about his penis with other people.”
Great googly moogly, this girl is determined to make me lose all of my hair. Her mother and I spend the rest of the meal explaining to her and her brother what I really said and what it means. I am fairly certain it worked, but every now and then I wait for the bomb to drop. With the luck I have had lately she’ll decide to tell all of her classmates and Officer O’Malley her version of the story.
It is a damn good thing I love her, because otherwise I’d have to scream. I can only imagine what the teenage years will be like.