Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flush with happiness

Automatic toilets are the bane of my public existence.

I have three little boys in various stages of independence. One thing that they do not vary on, however, is their fear of automatic toilets. What a tragedy! Here is the epitome of cleanliness-- someone to flush for you-- and they avoid it like the plague. If you were in the stall next to mine, you'd think I was torturing them:

"Please, please, just go potty."

"No, mom, NOOOOOO! It's too loud! It's TOO LOUD!"

"Here, I'll cover your ears for you. Now go."

"The light is flashing... there it goes! It's gonna flush! IT'S GONNA FLUSH! AAAAHHH!!"

Next comes the shrieking and the stomping. That would be my eight-year-old. Now, my five-year-old doesn't bother to shriek. He simply throws all his weight against mine and drives me backward, out of the stall, and pins me against the opposite wall. Who knew that a little guy with pants around his ankles could move an amazon woman.

My five-year-old-- we'll call him S-- is autistic, and tends to anthropomorphize items, especially appliances. Toilets apparently fall into this category. I've always wondered how he classifies automatic toilets in that brain of his, besides the "avoid at all costs" category. Once he is informed that I expect him to use a public toilet, his first question is, "Is it audomadic?" This, of course, means that I have to investigate and report. He will immediately reject any automatic toilet and his bladder will turn to steel. It's disturbing but admirable at the same time.

Several days ago we took the D.C. Metro into the city for the Christmas tree lighting at Union Station. Riding the Metro is the penultimate of existence for my boys, so this was heaven. We missed the lighting ceremony, but it didn't matter! We got to ride the Metro! We had a lovely visit and ate some delicious pizza.

On our way out of the station, we made a potty stop. I cringed at the idea that we might be doing the toilet dance. But lo and behold, the people at Union Station are traditionalists. No automatic toilets to be found. I was thrilled, the boys were thrilled, and we had a successful stop.

S was so glad to have been spared the agony of automation. As we walked away from the restroom, he turned and ran back to the doorway. He threw his arms wide, exclaiming, "I love you, bathroom!" and hugged the doorframe tightly.

I think we'll be going back to visit that restroom-- er, I mean, Union Station.

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