You gotta know when it's time to go

I'm warning you now. This post is about bladders. You have one, but you are grown up and you use it wisely.

We have two restrooms for our students, but no locks on the doors. Anyone who has ever had to talk a small child into unlocking a bathroom door knows why. The restrooms are not gender designated. Any woman who has ever stood in the line during halftime at the University of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium knows why.

Our restrooms have this door sign:

"Look, it's a drive-through!," one preschooler tells another while pointing at the sign.

Older students have signs to hang on the doorknobs that read "Vacant" or "In Use". One six year-old reports, "The bathroom is vagrant." Another says it is "violent". It's usually only violent when kids flush paper towels down the toilet.

We encourage a Knock Before Entering approach. I advocate knocking and hollering, "Little Pig, Little Pig, let me come in!" Anybody in the potty had better holler back in a loud and timely fashion, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!," if they want to retain their privacy.

Bladders are on my brain for several reasons, but I'll refrain from writing in stream of consciousness! This week I have a three year-old student who wears a velcro wristwatch that beeps loudly every hour. When it begins to beep, all her little friends holler at her to run, run as fast as she can to the restroom. What is this about?

"Timed voiding" is the urological behavior-modification term for this, I learn by Googling. We frown on prolonged googling in the restrooms, and also on squirting all the liquid soap out of the dispenser. Three years-old seems really young to use this potty-training beeper-alert extreme to me.

When does the occasional accident become a situation requiring medical or technological intervention? As a parent fifteen-twenty years ago, I believed "accidents" were a problem once a child entered kindergarten, and "bedwetting" became a real issue a couple years later. Pediatricians told me to relax, and my kids would outgrow it before they went to college. They did, and we only had to read a few books together about a magic camel taking a boy to Dryland.

I have to wonder about the long-term consequences of using beeping potty reminders with a three year-old. When she is fifty will she only be able to urinate when trucks back up?

While my sister and I were visiting the old homestead earlier this month, we had to learn to hold down the handle while the toilet flushed. Talk about teaching old dogs new tricks! We finally mastered the trick the day our visit ended. It's been two weeks since we departed Finicky Flusher Land, but both of us are still trying to unlearn the technique.

Recently read Rick Reilly's Sports Illustrated story about the strap-on Beer Belly device for carrying eighty ounces of beer into sporting events. A personal beer supply dispensed from one's fly is pretty scary, although Reilly's story is hilarious. Reilly also reports on Stadium Pal (from BioRelief.com!), a complementary device that allows sports fans with full bladders to never miss a down. The drainage valve goes right into your Dallas Cowboys boot. Reilly's review goes, "The irony was, I couldn't go. You don't undo 46 years of training in two hours. I had to close my eyes and think of the Trevi Fountain."

One of the most harrowing experiences of my thirteenish babysitting career was an evening of duelling elimination--two preschool boys and their beloved dog. Trouble was, the dog had been banished to the garage after an overdose of an anti-canine constipation remedy. The four year-old let the dog back into the house (with its lovely new powder blue wall-to-wall carpet), then barricaded himself in the bathroom, while the two year-old climbed up on top of the refrigerator and growled at me.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

Kenny Rodgers
The Gambler

Did you flush and wash????

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