It started out smoothly enough, when I picked up Caroline from school and she requested stick-on earrings from the mall. Having nothing better to do, I decided I might as well sniffle my way through the mall as to sniffle my way through a boring afternoon at home. We parked near the food court and indulged in some Chick-Fil-A goodness before setting off to find Claire’s.
Naturally I got side-tracked by the Loft, where I found a pair of pants calling my name. I decided to splurge. We finally made our way to Claire’s, and it took us a few minutes to find the adhesive earrings Caroline desired. I paid for them and handed them to her, just in time to notice the “potty dance” she was performing in the middle of the store.
This is when I realized that she hadn’t gone potty since I picked her up from school, and since then she had drunk an entire 12-oz. Sprite. I asked the salesgirl for the nearest bathroom, and she pointed towards the JCPenny across the way.
If I’d had any idea how desperate we were for that potty, I would have begged on bended knee for the girl at Claire’s to let us use her employees-only potty. But no. Being me, I didn’t want to ask for special favors, so I gritted my teeth and started pushing the stroller towards Penny’s with my diddling daughter in tow, who informed me several times along the way that, “This is the way you wait. You keep moving.”
I absolutely despise department stores, and my experience today just confirms my contempt. You can never find anyone to help you, and they hide the bathrooms in the remotest corner of the store. I knew the need at hand was extremely urgent, so I desperately asked the first salesperson I could find to point out the bathroom. She told me I had to go upstairs. Of course! Because having a bathroom on both levels would make too much sense.
She pointed to the elevator, telling me to go “straight ahead” when I got off. I jogged towards the elevator, imploring the diddling Caroline to keep up. When we stepped off the elevator, I started going straight without seeing anything remotely resembling a restroom or a restroom sign.
I flagged down another reluctant salesperson, who pointed me to the right, towards Customer Service, so off we went. I got to the customer service area, looked right and left and STILL could not see the restroom.
At this moment, I had a vision of myself standing in the middle of the store, with my fists raised toward the sky, yelling at the top of my lungs, “WHEEEEEEEEEEERE IIIIIIIIIIIIS THE DAGGUMMMMMMMMMMM BATHROOOOOOOOOOM!!!???”
Instead, I spoke in a quiet but desperate voice to the customer service representative, and she pointed to a narrow hallway in the corner. I called Caroline to follow me and took off, just as she let out the tell-tale wail.
I turned around to see her running behind me, straddle-legged, tears streaming down her face, and a wetness of an entirely different sort streaming down her pantlegs. I stopped and sighed in resignation and defeat, the elusive restroom finally within sight, but mere seconds too late to be of use to us.
After comforting her and helping her finish her business on the potty, we started making our way towards the car. It took some convincing to get her to pull up those soggy pants and wear them. (She was mortified to be seen in wet pants, but for some reason didn’t think she would mind walking through the mall buck-nekkid. Four-year-old reasoning at its finest.)
At any rate, I insisted upon the soggy pants, although I’m sure that a nicer mommy would probably have purchased a clean, dry set of clothes for her to wear home. I actually made a half-hearted attempt when I saw the Limited Too, but I found that they don’t carry her size, and I didn’t see another option on our way out of the mall. At that point, I just wanted to get the heck out of there and get on home. So that’s exactly what we did.
Ahhh… the joys of motherhood.