In the fast food restaurant, the princess tells several people on line about her Tinkerbell underpants. They act fascinated. After we eat, she immediately has to use the restroom. I bring her and her two brothers into the Women's Room, having to first convince big brother that it's okay to go in a door marked "Ladies" even though he isn't one.
Once inside, from the corner of my eye, I see myself doing a nervous, crazy dance in the mirror, shouting, "Don't touch the seat! Don't put your mouth on that dirty wall! GET UP OFF THE FLOOR NOW!" I have a toddler in one arm, I'm pulling up the princess' underpants with the other, and holding big brother against the wall with my "mommy glare." When we finally exit the restroom, princess is beaming and I'm exhausted. "That was FUN," she shouts.
We go through the same routine at Barnes & Noble, only this time she has broken the bookstore golden rule. She brings a book in the bathroom. "You read this to me, Mommy?" Princess shoves a paperback in my face as I sit her on the seat that I've meticulously covered with toilet paper. It's titled: Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes. I put it down on the counter. "Let's save this one for when you're interning with Jane Goodall," I joke. Big brother and the baby laugh hard at my quip that they did not get. The baby drops my cell phone in the toilet just as the princess flushes. Without thinking, I stick my hand in the water to retrieve it. Then my brain realizes where my hand is and I scream. I think, "This is why I had kids, to be challenged."