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Privacy 101

I know there are plenty of families with kids Mikey’s age that still bathe together or get dressed in front of their little ones, but in our household, that ship sailed a long time ago.

I remember the day.

Mikey had to be younger than 2, and at that point I was getting in the bath with him. In the condo we had a glass sliding door on the tub with a metal lip that was uncomfortable when you were trying to lean in and keep your toddler from drowning. It was just easier to get in with him.

Anway… We would get in together. We played. We washed. We passed the time. It worked well.

Until one day I simply saw his eyes roaming differently and it was like flicking the light switch in his little brain, and I could see him thinking, “Oh, wait, that’s different.” When he reached out like he was going to touch I immediately called for my husband.

“Mike! Mike, come get your son. NOW!”

From that point on I pulled a chair up to the tub to give the child a bath.

Again, I know many moms who just bring all the kids into the shower with them and they all wash together, and they let the kids see that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and genders – and with multiple kids I’m sure it’s a big time-saver.

No judgement here. It just isn’t for me.

The concept of privacy is also something we apply to using the restroom – that you close the door when you’re going to the bathroom and you knock when someone else is in there. And you don’t look when someone else is doing something private like using the toilet or getting dressed, and no one should look at you when you’re doing it, either.

This is a bit of a gray area right now because Mikey still obviously needs help taking a bath, and, since we’re being transparent here, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that my husband and I still hear the “I need a wipe!” call from the bathroom on a nightly basis.

Fortunately for me, my husband hasn’t quite nailed down Mikey’s “schedule.” But I have – so I conveniently find myself occupied when that call comes in.

We also haven’t quite crossed the threshold into allowing the 6-year-old to go into public bathrooms on his own. Again, when he was little, he just came into the women’s restroom with me, which I always called the “family” bathroom, because I knew what was coming down the pike – him saying he wants to go into the bathroom for boys, not girls.

Folks, we have arrived.

So, when we are at the grocery, McDonalds, the library – wherever – and he says he needs to go to the bathroom, we end up doing the pee-pee dance outside the facilities while we negotiate which room he’s going to enter.

If it’s a single-occupancy room – boys’ bathroom, girls’ bathroom, litterbox – he can go in on his own. Fine. Whatever. Knock yourself out.

If it’s got multiple stalls, and – gulp – urinals, no way. And, gentlemen, I’m not just looking out for my own child. According to my husband, who takes Mikey into the men’s room and lets him use the urinal if he wants to, the kid stares.

I mean, he’s 6… What do you expect?

So, recently I took Mikey to the pediatrician’s office for his 6-year-old wellness check. While we were waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for the doctor to come into the exam room, Mikey said he had to go to the bathroom. We stepped out and found the restroom a few doors down. It was single occupancy, so he said he wanted to go in alone.

He was relatively quick, and afterward I dipped in real quick like I normally do, to make sure he didn’t leave a mess behind. I came out and Mikey said, “Momma, did you get a coffee?”

“What? A coffee? Where?”

“In there,” he says, and pointed to the bathroom.

“Where would I get coffee in there, bud?”

Mikey brushed past me and headed right for the little table holding the pee sample cups. He picked one up and brought it over to me. “Look, they have coffee cups. You must take it to the front desk to pay. Look – they even have lids!”

I don’t know what’s more upsetting: that he thinks I can’t go an hour without a coffee, or that he thinks they serve it in the doctor’s office restroom.

Until next time …

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mom of a 6-year-old. She can be reached at


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