This is not the type of parade that involves beautiful floats riding down the street or dressed up characters dancing. The only thing in common this parade has with a real parade is the public dirt...and perhaps a candy or two.
Once the kid gets the idea of potty training, "Potty Boot Camp" says it's necessary to practice going potty in public so they get used to other potties. (Once my gag reflex stopped, we faced the public restrooms...It wasn't pretty.) Here are a few examples of our public potty parade.
#1. Dr.'s office. Ava's in the bjorn. Caleb is on the table waiting for the doctor. He gets the look...you know what look I'm talking about. While his face color begins to change, my mind races: "Should we leave the room to find the bathroom? With Ava? And no potty seat? What if he falls in? What if I fall in? What if Ava falls in?? Okay...stop...just GO!" Caleb's now saying "Hoo-ey! Hoo-ey!"
So we hurry. With Ava strapped to me, I throw him on my hip, swing the door open, and start running down the hall as if we're being chased by the poop monster.
We find the restroom...No time to think about all of the diseases we will all surely catch from this experience. I cover the toilet with at least 3 inches of toilet paper as Caleb waits desperately.
As I hold the sweet boy on the potty, I find my mind thinking very seriously about the Bjorn company. I look down at Ava, and because I am completely leaned over, her sleeping body is horizontal to the ground. She is literally being dangled over a public toilet... Whew. Thank you, Bjorn. You make stong material.
SUCCESS! We clean up, nearly overflow the toilet with the layers of toilet paper, and run back to the room. For the first time ever, I am thankful the doctor is late.
#2. Campground. Just picture camping people...dirt and stink are the two words that come to my mind because that is how I describe myself while camping. Now picture the public campground bathrooms. Granted, they're not horrendous, but they're not perfect either.
Again, I see the look on Caleb's face. It's time to go. As we begin the jaunt down the road and through some campsites, I hear Tim's desperate words of advice (he's just as grossed out by the idea of his delicate toddler boy sitting on the nasty germs): "Make sure you COVER it with toilet paper!!" "Don't worry, Babe. I got it covered."
We make it to the stall. "Don't touch anything, Caleb." "Okay, Mama." (Drumming on the stall door.) "Yucky! Everything is YUCKY in here, OKAY??! Please don't touch!" "Okay, Mama." (Now drumming on the toilet paper dispenser.) "Caleb! Don't touch!" (Drumming on the grossest item in the stall: The trash bag holder thing...EWW!) I have GOT to hurry up and get him on this potty!
As I attempt to hold in my jittery, grossed-out emotions, I lay down the first piece of toilet paper. I go to tear off some more from the dispenser when I look down and immediately hear Tim's voice in my head. As if in slow motion, I witness Caleb pick up the piece of toilet paper from the middle secion of the toilet seat, BLOW his NOSE with it, and throw it in the toilet. "NOOOOOOO!"
I was horrified. Great- now I have to re-cover the seat...ah forget it! He just blew his nose with toilet seat. Just get him on the potty and get out of there!!
#3. The Zoo. No need to go into detail about the disgust I felt from head to toe as I glanced around the crowded restroom.
Since Caleb now "holds it" most of the time, I have to be on my "A Game" with taking him to go. This time, I was prepared with special potty seat covers, wipes and sticker rewards (like he really cared).
We go into the stall. I have a flashback of the camping episode as I watch him begin the drumming again. I quickly tell him to hold on to my leg with both hands. (This works for exactly 30 seconds until he begins to unroll the toilet paper.) I'm trying to get the darn potty seat cover ready (that I PAID for). The "handy" adhesive that will prevent him from sliding around is about to give me a small panick attack because the wrapper won't come off.
I am now standing in 6 inches of toilet paper. My feet are buried. I can only see the top of Caleb's head. Not really, but you get the idea.
I'm sweating, but I finally get the expensive seat cover ready and sit him on the potty. I was out of pull-ups and not brave enough to put on his real underwear, so he was in a diaper. He took care of his business (albeit ON the seat cover), and I began to get his diaper back on, with him standing up.
Suddenly I felt creeped out. My bag full of goodies (seat covers, wipes, stickers,etc.) had just fallen to the ground. I'm nearly giggling hysterically like a crazy lady at all of the potty drama when I look down and see what seems to be moving floor tiles.
"Wook, Mama! Ants!" I look over at the huge ant trail marching from the ground to the trash holder. I had just thrown away the over-priced seat cover and had messed up their formation. They were angry ants.
"Let's get OUTTA here, Caleb!"
No wonder everyone was staring at us as we came running out of the stall.
I'm done with parades...and public potties for a while.