I'm not a big fan of public washrooms; just the thought of all the germs lurking in there is enough to make anyone squirm. However, my sweet little Lady M has developed a fear of these restrooms not because of the germs, but because of the flush. Its been an ongoing saga for a few months now, and one that doesn't seem to be getting any better quite yet. Let me backtrack a little.
A few months ago, Cal had to go into work one day a little unexpectedly. I was getting ready to go to a wedding shower, so to help me out he took Lady M with him to work, while I got ready and looked after Lady A. Cal was working at a new hotel that day, and while there, Lady M had to use the washroom. But, in the new-age world of germ-avoidance, and touch-free everything, these new washrooms were equipped with automatic flushing toilets. Though she really had to go, the sudden, unexpected flush while she was trying to go to the washroom startled the heck out of her, and she jumped off. She returned to the washroom three times (she really had to go!), only to be faced with the same flushing fate with each visit. And thus, the fear of the public washroom began.
A few weeks later, we were heading up to northern Ontario to visit some family for Thanksgiving. On the way we stopped at a rest station to grab a bite to eat, and use the washroom. Lady M quickly noticed the automatic flush, and said she wouldn't go. As she slowly backed away from the toilet in the family washroom, she found herself standing immediately underneath an automatic hand dryer. Not just your average dryer, nope, an Xcelerator one. The extremely loud noise, coupled with the shock of being blown by the strong air, scared my poor little girl so much that she refused to go to the washroom (again), and actually held it all the way up north (a 6-hour journey, when all was said and done). We went to Canadian Tire and bought a new potty seat for her, and with a little coaxing, she finally gave in to using the washroom at the house for the rest of our stay.
Later that week, we were heading to the airport to pick my mum and dad up after a trip they had been on. Once again, my little sweetie had to use the restroom in public, but by this point she was so fearful of the toilet that she got into the family restroom and SCREAMED. I was certain that by the time we got out of the washroom, authorities would be waiting to see who was stealing children at the airport, naturally concerned by the blood-curdling screams coming from beyond the door. This time took another three visits to the washroom before she finally went, and thankfully nobody was waiting to pull me into a scary interrogation room when we came out.
Then yesterday we were out at a store, rather close to our house, but she suddenly told me she REALLY had to go. So, into the public washroom we went, only to be met with the now usual cries and screams, though I assured her this one didn't have an automatic flush. Another woman came into the stall next door, so I explained to Lady M that the toilet beside her would flush, and not to be afraid. I then heard the nice woman kindly say "I can come back and flush in a few minutes if you'd like, she's breaking my heart"! Though very kind, I said not to worry, and Lady M dealt with the flush next door without much concern.
Having not gone to the washroom, we exited the stall and ended up chatting with the nice lady 'next door'. She told me that when her son was little he refused to go in public too, so they actually carried a full potty for him everywhere they went until he was four years old! If he had to go, they'd head out to the car, pull out the potty and deal with it. I must say, it was nice to hear that someone else had struggled with this too. She also told me that her son is now 26, and they still make fun of him for having to take that potty everywhere!
So, the saga continues, without any resolution as of yet. Hopefully one day soon my little Lady M will settle into using a public washroom. But for now, we'll just carry a little travel potty seat with us, and try to get her used to going in public when necessary! Hopefully before long, she'll stop fearing the flush.