Toddler obsessions can be strange and mysterious. Like lately, Brontë has been consumed by the significance of the bathroom in which you choose to pee.
So, for example, if Brontë is out somewhere with her dad, she will absolutely flip out about him taking her to the bathroom. Because that would mean peeing in a boy’s bathroom, which is NOT OKAY.
If he won’t take her to the girl’s room, she won’t want to go at all… no matter how many times we’ve explained that she’s allowed in the men’s room with her dad, while grown men aren’t allowed in the women’s bathroom.
Well, she’s not buying it and furthermore, she’s not happy about the whole unisex deal we have going on at home. She’s taken ownership of the bathroom closest to her room and keeps piling dresses and princess toys in there like some kind of feminine territorial display.
She’s okay with baby sister Bridget using it and actually seems flattered when I do. She’ll wander in after me, asking if I like her bathroom, checking to make sure there’s still toilet paper and pointing out her fancy-smelling soap. She seems to take pride in the place.
And every single time, she’ll make pleasant small talk with me before requesting I put a girl’s bathroom sign on the door–one of those public restroom stick figures with a dress on–so daddy will quit going in there. Because it’s a GIRL bathroom.
Her peeing obsessions have worked their way into her humor lately too, what with her asking me last week if I wanted to go to China with her someday. I told her I’d love to and asked what she wanted to do there. She plans to eat rice with chopsticks, drink tea, and “PEE IN A CHINESE BATHROOM IF THE POLICE WOULD LET US,” she told me while wiping tears from her eyes and breaking into uncontrollable laughter.
“Pee in a Chinese bathroom,” she kept saying again and again, laughing harder every time. I have no idea what kinds of hilarious shenanigans she envisions taking place in Chinese bathrooms, or why she would imagine the Chinese police wouldn’t prefer people peeing inside the bathroom, but she found the idea hysterical, just the same.
This weekend, we were driving through Sacramento when we went past the coffee shop where John and I first met. John pointed it out to Brontë, telling her how we had cafe lattes and a seven-hour conversation at that table, right over there…
Brontë was fascinated. She loves to hear about her parents’ early relationship and likes to talk about what our wedding was like. She found a picture of us on our wedding day at her grandparents’ house which she stared at for ages before begging for a copy in her room. “You wore a white dress,” she reminds me sometimes, “And had white earrings and pink flowers. Can I see your ring?”
We decided to stop there for coffee. Brontë begged us to drink it there and found a nice table on the patio. Chewing on some lemon pound cake, she pointed out the men with strange beards playing chess in the corners before saying she needed to use the bathroom. I got up to take her.
We grabbed the long key next to the coffee bar and went into the single, unisex bathroom with long open windows. Brontë crawled up onto the toilet and relaxed, her little feet dangling over the bowl.
Suddenly she froze, her eyes enormous. “WAIT,” she said, staring me hard. “Wait wait wait… Hold on: Did you PEE IN THIS VERY SAME BATHROOM on the day you met my dad?”
“Umm… I don’t remember, but maybe… I probably did.”
Brontë stared in amazement for a few moments before heaving a deep sigh.
“Whoa, ” she said. “Just… wow.”