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Goodbye bathroom privacy

I am a fairly private person when it comes to nudity or bathroom habits. Some families have an “open door urination policy” (thank you, Seinfeld) but that is not the case with me. I prefer a closed door.

Then I had a baby. I still maintain my privacy when it comes to my husband, however, standing my ground with my two-year-old is an entirely different story.

It began when she would yell through the bathroom door. “Mom. Mom? Mommmmm! Pee! PEEEE!” While it is nice to have a small cheerleader following you around, chanting encouragement, it doesn’t make the bathroom process happen any faster.

Soon after this stage, my kiddo went through an “if-I’m-not-with-my-mom-I-will-scream-bloody-murder” stage. This meant that closed bathroom door was left slightly ajar. I usually didn’t have time to pull my pants down before the door would come flying open to reveal my daughter standing in front of me, saying, “Pee.”

She can handle the closed door now, but has moved onto something new. The other day, feeling slightly gross from the humidity, I told my husband I was going for a quick shower. My daughter turned to me and said, “Eleanor in?” I asked her, “You want to have a shower? Like, actually go IN the shower with Mommy?” “Yes,” she replied.

This was new. So we headed up the stairs with my husband following, just in case the kiddo decided a shower wasn’t a good idea. I guessed she would last about eight seconds, considering she doesn’t like water poured over her head during hair washing, and refuses to run through the sprinkler.

But, to my surprise, Eleanor loved the shower. The two of us jumped in and she sat on the floor of the tub, washing herself with her foam soap, wiping the water from her eyes every so often. After realizing my daughter was just fine, I dove into my shower routine. As I put shampoo in my hair, I faced the shower and felt two little hands on my calves. I turned to see my kiddo’s soapy hands rubbing my legs. She looked up at me, squinting to keep the water out of her eyes, “Mommy…clean.”

For some reason, that moment was so special for me. She was taking care of me. I smiled and turned back to the spray of the water. In only a few seconds, I felt her hands again – this time on my bum. I burst out laughing and told her I was already clean, but thank you for the help.

I left the shower with unshaven legs and slightly soapy hair. My husband asked, “So, how was it?” I replied, “It was the worst, and yet the best, shower I have ever had.”

Eleanor now asks to come in the shower from time to time and, if I’m not in a big rush, I don’t mind. My question now is this: when does this ritual become “inappropriate” for mother and daughter? For now, I feel like we are fine, but when should I draw the line?

I changed in front of Eleanor the other day and she giggled. I asked her why she was laughing. Pointing, she says, “Mommy’s boobies.” Having someone point and laugh at you while you are naked isn’t exactly a boost to the ego. Perhaps I should end the showering sooner rather than later.

Nutrition (per serving): 151 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 333 mg sodium

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, April 2014.

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