I don’t know how you Moms with regular kids do it.

And I don’t know how I’m going to do it, since I am certain that I will most definitely be awarded with my second kid being quite regular. Or perhaps even extra-regular.

With regards to the frequency of pee.

My kid is a camel, or at least that’s the diagnosis that her Pediatrician gives her when I worriedly ask her at every visit if she’s absolutely CERTAIN that Ali is normal.


She pees three times a day.

And if I don’t make her go, she’ll wait until after lunch to make her first trip. And it’s always been that way – since the day she was potty-trained.

Which is what brings us to Monday, also known hereafter as The Great Anomaly.

Apparently she really enjoyed her milk at breakfast. And although I forgot to make her pee when she woke up, I distinctly remember her peeing around 10 am.

It had been a rough day of re-entry into normal life for all of us – the kids had The Grandparent Effect, and I had The Alone-With-Daddy-In-New-York-For-Four-Days Effect, and was also fighting my blog and my host to attempt to de-crash it for the dozenth time. Ali requested a trip to the mall to eat lunch. I hadn’t made it to the grocery store to restock, and I desperately needed out of the house and away from this computer, so I agreed.

I forgot to take the stroller in, so I was wrangling Noah to actually sit in his chair and eat. We were about halfway through our lunch when Ali’s head jerked up, her legs crossed violently, and she started hopping up and down and saying, “I need to tee-tee!! I need to tee-tee!!”

She can also usually hold it for hours, so I said, “Can it wait?”

I saw the level of yellow rise in her eyeballs.

“No! I need to tee-tee now!!”

She stood up and began The Pee Dance.

(All Mommies know that The Pee Dance is an ominous 30 second countdown to disaster.)

I breathed a long, internal sigh, then reminded myself that other Mommies do this every time they leave the house. I can manage it once.

I looked up. The Pee Dance tempo had kicked up a few beats.

I frantically gathered our chicken, fries, sauces, and garbage. I stuck the uneaten food in the bag, then confusedly tried to figure out what to do with the trash, since I’d just used my usual trash bag.

So I shoved 4 cubic meters of trash into a Chicken Nuggets box.

As I was hurriedly cleaning off our table, Noah found this to be a perfect opportunity to stand up in the unstable mall chair and begin his own interpretation of Ali’s dance – unbeknownst to me, since I was otherwise occupied trying to prevent a natural disaster.

The Old Lady with the chartreusy-orange hair and white roots that was sitting behind us began yelling.

“Be careful!! BE CAREFUL!! Sit down…. CAN YOU PLEASE SIT DOWN??”

At that point I turned my head to find out who Chartreusy-Orange-Haired Lady was yelling at – oh, my son of course.

I sat him down in his chair, and sprinted to the trash can, leaving him there alone with his whimpering sister, which I’m sure caused an Orange-Haired Coronary. As I came back to our table, Ali looked more panicked than ever. Her skin was turning a pale yellow…and that was no jaundice.

I folded up our food bag and helped Noah out of his chair.

Then she said it.

“I can wait now.”


“The feeling is gone. I’m good. Can I eat my food before we go to the bathroom?”

“No!! I’ve already packed it all up because you said it couldn’t wait. We’re GOING to the bathroom.”

“But I don’t need to anymore!”

I grabbed a kid’s hand in each of mine and balanced the food bag in my elbow and we marched to the family restroom. I set the food bag down on the diaper changing table (where I’m positive it collected many fabulous baby butt pathogens) and I focused my attention on keeping Noah from licking the tasty bacterium from every surface.

And Ali was surprised by the fact they Hey! She actually did still have to tee-tee!


She washed and dried, and I went to unlock the gargantuan door.


I tried to turn the lock again.


The lock was completely stuck.

The voice in my head began screaming.


(At least it’s foamy hand soap. Liquid soap skeeves me out.)

I let go of Noah’s hand for just a moment, and as I saw him take off for the toilet, I began to riotously shake the door handle. I gripped and groaned and turned the lock with all of my might, and it finally slipped out of place, freeing us to the outside world.

I nearly kissed the hallway floor. But I didn’t.

And then we left, uneaten food in hand. Because me and the mall – we were done.

On the bright side, I saw Chris having a nice pre-dinner snack several hours later. I never did tell him about that chicken’s journey.

Might I say it again: I don’t know how you Moms with regular kids do it. And if my second child is a regular kid, we’re never leaving the house again.

55 thoughts on “When Delightfully Abnormal Goes Awry.

  1. LOL! I have a “normal” son, but never fully appreciated the friends we usually picnic with until I took my kids on a picnic at the park alone, had just gotten all the food out, and my 5-yr old started doing the potty dance. Packing up all the food was such a pain!

    1. NICE. They have such fabulous timing, don’t they? You were a nice citizen to not just let him pee right there – I probably would have.

      “Just don’t hit the picnic blanket, son!”

  2. My younger son is like your daughter. Drives me crazy because he refuses to pee when everyone else does when we are traveling, especially since his older brother was a “pee every 15 minutes” kind of kid.

  3. My 4YO is somewhere in between. I do have to REMIND her (and sometimes force her) to pee when she wakes up. Who does not have to pee when they wake up? This is crazy. We actually went somewhere the other day, and I had forgotten to remind her – it was about 10:00! But then we had to rush to the public bathroom. I hate going anywhere with her, because she has to pee in public so much. We’ve had many stash-the-food moments!

    1. Oh I’m with you on the wake-up-and-pee thing!! My son went through a phase where I had to force him to pee when he woke up. He threw tantrums and everything. Who doesn’t head to the bathroom as soon as they wake up! It’s the first thing I do!! Kids are so weird. :)

  4. I know this may be a bit scandalous to admit (my husband finds its deeply embarrassing and it has been the source of multiple arguments), but for the first couple of years after River was potty trained, I let him pee in the parking lot (or even beside the curb) behind the car door. I have often literally left the mall/store/restaurant to go outside, rather than using the public restroom. I figured that a little baby pee wouldn’t hurt anything (I mean, animals pee outside all the time, right?), may car was infinitely cleaner than any public restroom, and I could safety strap my infant into her (relatively) hygienic car seat while brother goes. If we were parked in a place where I couldn’t assure a little privacy, I’d pop the umbrella up behind him, which was a great shield. Now that the kids are a little older we’ve stopped doing this, but it was a like saver for a few years there.

    1. I did somewhat the same thing, except, I have a girl and peeing behind a car door doesn’t really work. I drive a truck, so I bought a portable potty and stuck it in the truck bed. When we were out and she had to go, into the truck bed and onto the potty she went! Worked out brilliantly! And I’m so with you on rather use the great outdoors than a public restroom!

  5. I’ve always been baffled by normal kids because Abigail pees 3 times a day, also. I tell her to pee right after she wakes up, right before nap, and right before bed. I don’t think she has ever said she needs to pee while we’ve been in a public place. I love it. I agree; it would be hard to have a normal child. Our doctor thinks her issue is due to her having had Kidney Reflux and having the UTIs. They made her not want to pee- for fear of it hurting her.

  6. Um, Rachel, I think you should STRONGLY consider not going to the mall anymore. WAIT! Scratch that! If you are done with the mall, then we don’t get your hilarious posts! Maybe you should go to the mall a few times a week. With a videographer!

  7. No sympathy from me. None at all. Remind me to tell you what happened to us at McDonald’s last week next time I see you. (yes… McDonald’s…. Hanging head in shame).

    1. Sounds like a good story Lindsay now I kind of want to hear it too. It can’t be worse than mine that I just left in the comments.

      1. Heck. Why not share it on the Internet? I ha met a friend at the gym and we decided to take our kids to the McDonald’s Play Place after. Everyone was having a dandy time when Eli runs up to me and panic ally tells me that he has to poop. This is the kid that hasn’t had an accident in months, do I’m fairly relaxed about it, but get up and head that direction with him when all of a sudden he stops, assumes the poop stance, and lets go… Now, even though he hasn’t done this in a while, I’m still always prepared for it, so I still don’t panic. HOWEVER, he had gotten himself dressed that morning and apparently failed to put on underwear…. And he had on shorts… So yeah. He crapped all over the floor in McDonald’s. With kids running around everywhere. But wait. It gets better. I yell at him to run to the bathroom while I’m wildly trying to clean the poop off the floor. When I get back there about a minute later I realize he has gone into the men’s bathroom and stripped down naked. So now I have a choice: make him put the poop-covered clothes back on to match him across to the women’s bathroom, march him naked (and covered in poop himself) in the middle of McDonald’s, or enter the pee-lacquered disgusting men’s room to clean up my son. (I opted for the latter). SO thankful that my friend was there to watch my girls for me while all this went down. Just a day in my life.

        1. I typed all that out on my phone and didn’t proofread. Obviously… Forgive my misspellings/autocorrects. You get the gist, though. ;)

  8. I feel your pain! I commute an hour and a half each way to work with my 6 year old and my 2 year old. I specifically avoid the shorter toll road (where you have to stop and pay to get on and off) because I know that at some point in the drive we will have to get off the highway IMMEDIATELY, or even illegally pull over near some likely looking bushes.

    Not only that, but my children are scared of public toilets that have the auto-flush (too loud), so I have to juggle all my stuff while either holding one hand over the sensor or both hands over my child’s ears, while the other one hides in the corner of the restroom screaming in terror.

    It’s okay for my son — the worst that happens is everything in the stall is liberally sprayed with pee as he attempts to go as fast as he can while holding both hands over his ears. Keep in mind that I am usually next to the toilet, holding my hand over the sensor when this happens. I am not sure what I will do when my daughter is trained, since I’ll need to use both hands to balance her on the potty. Maybe put a foot over the sensor?

    Anyway, I am one of those rare parents who is not looking foward to potty training her 2 year old.

    1. I have a friend who carries a pad of post-it notes in her purse for this very reason, to stick on the sensor of the auto flush toilets! I’ve never gotten organized enough to get any into my purse….but it’s a great idea. Those things terrify my kids.

      1. FANTASTIC idea! Even for those toilets that just flush too dang fast before I can even get my behind fully off the seat. And then your nether regions get to enjoy a spritz of toilet water, oh so refreshing and pleasant. NOT! Please tell me I’m not the only one that has experienced this!

  9. I have one of each kind potty trained. One camel and one needs-to-go-every-20-minutes. The doc assures me both are normal. Good news that if Noah is not a camel, he is still a boy so even with frequent public restroom visits he can get out of there without ever having to touch anything. That is my loud rule: Do not touch anything, ever. And in the most disgusting of gas station restroom situations there is probably a shrub nearby so you don’t even have to enter. Not that I let my boys pee outside, in fields, while driving cross country or anything.

  10. PS -So glad you got out of the restroom. That is a nightmare moment right there, and a warning. I will never use that particular mall’s family restroom.

  11. We seem to have yet another item in common; even if it is now about our daughters’ urination schedules. My daughter uses the restroom ONCE a day. Yes, once. And she has for as long as I can remember. And she drinks A LOT. In fact, I remember her Kindergarten teacher telling me there was just one thing that ever worried her about Ali – the fact that she NEVER EVER used the restroom. haha She’ll be 13 in a couple of months and I have finally stopped asking her to go at night before she goes to bed. Maybe you’ll have many more years of urination concerns but atleast you won’t have any bed wetting to worry with! :}

  12. She is so going to yell at you when she is a teen and someone finds this and you know they will. It is hilarious. Sorry your tribulations are so funny to me.

  13. I think my nephew is more like Ali but I do have a funny public restroom story when he was just potty training. I had taken him to the walmart by myself for the first time, and but we had to go to the bank first which is on the other side of town from the Walmart. We are halfway between the two after leaving the bank and he tells me he has to peepee but can hold it. Unfortunatley he couldn’t and so I had to change his pants (the only pair of emergency ones in the diaper bag) when we got there but apparently he wasn’t through because we get inside and he says he still has to go. So I take him to the ladies room and try holding him up on the seat not easy to do by the way. This leads to me, him and the floor getting wet and not by water. So I clean it up the best I can. Take his shoes off since they are wet stick them in the diaper bag. Put him in a pull up because that was the only left in the diaper bag and luckily his shirt was longer and people just thought he had shorts on (I hope) walked around the walmart with no shoes or shocks or pants. I was horrified and convinced I could never go anywhere by myself with him again. I called my mom in tears and she and the lady in the aisle next to me had a good laugh.

  14. I was 30 minutes from home on a 3.5 hour trip with an infant and 3 year old and it was POURING RAIN hard enough you could barely hear in the car. My daughter announced that she had to stop. NOW. I pulled over – considered my options, handed her a pullup and asked her to pee as slowly as possible. After trying to get her out of pullups – I don’t even want to know what she thought. And I remember being grossed out by a mom sharing lunch with her toddler – pre kid of course. Silly me! We do what we gotta do!

  15. I am glad to hear that is normal; I used to run a daycare from my home and there was this 7 year old little girl I kept who NEVER used the bathroom in my home, at all and she was with me a good 9 to 10 hours a day.
    Mine are 9 and 7 so when they tell me they dont have to go I tend to believe them however, if we are traveling I will make them try.

  16. Both of my kids are on a mission to see the inside of every public restroom of every place we’ve ever visited. They go when we get there, they go right in the middle of whatever we are doing and they usually ask to go again before we leave. But if we are at home, they may go two or three times a day total. Kids.

  17. Oh my word, I am cracking up! Since I don’t have kids, I’ve never even considered the dexterity, creativity, and gumption it requires to take children to a public bathroom! I’m terrified now! All I’ve ever had to deal with is figuring out what to do with the kids I’m babysitting when I need to use the bathroom…I can’t imagine having to deal with that in a public bathroom.

    Oh the amazing things I have to look forward to someday :). I learn oh so much from you, Rachel (and get a big ole belly laugh in the process)!

    1. Yeah. You look at public restrooms with a whole new level of disgust when you’re considering allowing the tender, innocent bottom of your freshly potty-trained two year old sit on them.

  18. This is why I rarely go anywhere alone. If my mom can’t go w/ me I ask my grandma, if she can’t go I meet a friend. K is an irregular pee-er on the opposite side of the scale. Almost every stinking time she has to go it is “Right NOW!”. It’s always an emergency. So frustrating. And she does have accidents if we don’t move quickly enough, two in the last week! She still wears a pull up and rarely wakes up dry. The dr says her bladder just hasn’t fully developed yet. So annoying. I try to be patient but it gets old quick when a five year old can’t hold it for more than five minutes!

  19. Yeeeeeah…you already know my fun experiences with small children and bodily functions to some extent, but I had another grand time yesterday when my daughter blew out her diaper (DOWN HER LEG), and I hauled her into the Chick-fil-a bathroom, only to discover that I, the mother of three small children, had zero wipes or diapers (used the last of each at the gym that morning).

    I had a 4 1/2 year old in the men’s bathroom doing a marathon session, and I was totally nervous being stuck in the women’s bathroom while he was in the men’s, and I couldn’t see the exit.

    So…without wipes (and with all my diapers in the car), I had to wait for several ladies to finish washing their hands so I could get to the paper towels while Della screamed in terror on the changer (she’s convinced she’s going to fall).

    And, I kid you not, one lady double-soaped, double-rinsed, and then proceeded to meticulously wipe BETWEEN her fingers…*twice*…before letting me get to the sink.

    All I could think was: “You’ve clearly never been in my shoes.” (I might have thought other things too : )).

  20. Hahahaha! This reminds me of the days that I was a nanny to 3 kiddos, ages 2,4, and6. That only lasted a year. Their mother really wanted me to take them places and get out of the house and needless to say, I was EXHAUSTED every day. I think if we collaborated, we could come up with a placemat-esque invention for when you are eating out at mallish places and need to gather up your meal quickly… something antimicrobial resembling those paintbrush roll-up mats maybe? Hmm…

  21. Oh wow.. Both my kids are in diapers.. and I am about to start potty training my eldest son.. Reading all these horror stories gives me so much encouragement..ehhehehe.. ;) Loved the words: “potty dance” “baby butt pathogens” .. :)

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