Last Thursday evening my wife went out with a few friends, so I took our daughter out to eat on “a date.” We call it a date to be cute, but it is very similar to an actual date in that I spend most of the time trying to figure out what she wants and am very stressed throughout.
I picked her up from daycare and reminded her that she should go potty, because we were going on a date. She said she didn’t have to go, but I told her she should try because I was not taking her to the potty when the food arrived. She went, reluctantly.
Literally thirty seconds after our food arrived she turned to me and said, “Daddy, I have to go potty.” I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She gave me puppy dog eyes and I reneged on my promise to not take her.
Flashback: Months ago, we were on a date at a different restaurant and eating outside. Right after our food arrived, she squatted and wet herself, leaving a puddle on the chair. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I grabbed the diaper bag and rushed her to the bathroom. I cleaned her up as fast as I could so that I could warn management to disinfect and/or burn the chair she was using. By the time we were out of the bathroom, our food was gone and our table was occupied. I found a worker and told her, “Okay, a) you guys took our food, and b) that woman over there is sitting in urine, and you should probably tell her."
With that experience to draw on, I worried again about our food. Honestly, I would like to know—what is the protocol when one parent is out to eat with his/her kid(s) and a bathroom run is in order? Should I inform a worker I’ll be back but my daughter has to go potty? Seems like too much information. Should I ask a nearby patron to “watch our stuff?” I really don’t know. I tried to make it obvious we were coming back by leaving my keys and sunglasses sprawled out near the food, taking the risk of someone stealing my car. It was worth it, I figured, to protect the food, since our meal was not insured.
Of course, I had to take her to the men’s room, and of course, the lone stall was locked. She was now telling me she had to go badly, and I didn’t know what to do. Somewhere my wife was drinking a margarita and talking about celebrities, which made me upset. I considered standing in the hallway and asking the next woman who walked by to please take my daughter to the bathroom, but figured that would have been bad. Can I hold her over the urinal? After further examination, I realized no one was in the stall even though it was locked. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I had to find a worker and request assistance in the men’s room. A teenage kid came in there and said, “Yeah, this happens sometimes,” as he slid on the bathroom floor underneath the stall, unlocked the stall door, and emerged as a hero. I said, “I guess I could have done that,” but later figured I would have injured myself, which would have been terrible.
Our food and my car keys were still there when we came back. She ate all of her dinner and did not pee on anything. By current estimations, that is a wildly successful date. I think she’s a keeper.
Note: This column appears in the 6/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 6/29 issue of the Peoria Times.