Who Needs to Sit on Elmo?

I bought my final pack of diapers last week. We now have panties sporting either stars or puppies on next week’s shopping list because our littlest big girl decided she agrees that panties are just more comfortable than diapers. Everyone is quite proud of her, and she is feeling pretty good about herself as well.

The first time I took her out with no diaper we were both a little nervous, but I needed a few things at the hardware store and we are never more than 5 minutes from home if we stay in town. Days before, I had promised her I would take her out for a doughnut as soon as she showed me she could keep her pants dry. After half a week’s success, she felt she was ready to hold me to that promise as well. I assumed we would be safe with a precautionary toilet break just before we left; we were going out for less than an hour after all, and you have to start somewhere.

Oriel is the most reserved, although not always the most quiet of my children; unlike her bigger sister who loves all attention, she prefers that people don’t pester her. The problem is, she is exceptionally cute, and speaks in complex sentences in her little sing-song voice making her quite irresistible to many. We rarely get through a public excursion without being approached by someone who wants her attention. She will usually shuffle around behind me if anyone addresses her directly, which I can understand because I too feel shy when singled out as the recipient of the unabashed adoration of strangers… Or teasing, that is just weird too. I have yet to decide if people are dumb-struck by our beauty and forget how to have manners, or if they think that because we look pretty, and/or young we are stupid.

On this day, however, she was entirely focused on the fact that she was not wearing her diaper which left her oblivious to the reality that we were in a store full of strangers. Well, not for long. Although I had a three item list I hoped to conquer which admittedly is a tall order in a town this size, we were buckling back in the car and headed home with no purchases after less than five minutes shopping.

Half of that time was spent locating the area where I might find a small hasp, the first item on my list. I then wasted precious moments walking up and down the aisle several times studying each hanging package, still hoping to find what I need even though the area with the small brass hinges and other clasp closures was void of hasps. Surely other people want to put a lock on a box? Or have so many people simultaneously decided to lock up their stuff that stores are unable keep up stock on this can’t-live-without item?

I simply don’t have time for conjecture regarding why it is so hard to find a simple or decorative, small, hasp in any finish; I’m not particular on anything but the size because it is a very little box. After a year of casual browsing I cannot get my hands on one locally but I can purchase 100 on the internet, only 99 more than I need… Another mystery I don’t have time to unravel.

I moved on to the next item on the list inviting Oriel to come along to find some drain cleaner. She had been chitter-chattering her dissatisfaction with my choice of store to hang out in because she clearly stated before we left home that she wanted to go DOUGHNUT SHOPPING and this was obviously not the doughnut shop. I take a moment to quietly remind her that the deal was we had to locate the things we need to fix the house before we go to the bakery and it was time to follow me so we could get on to the fun stuff.

Before we could make it to the plumbing section, she obstinately turned up an aisle and kept walking after I called to her and told her we have to go the other way. She turned and demanded,

“Mommy, you come with Ori! I want to go home and sit on Elmo™. I don’t want to use the big potty in the store.”

I laughed and wondered about how clearly she was able to express to me that though she was totally cool with using her little potty, there was no way she wanted to use a public restroom yet. Not that I thought she would, or even offered. I was completely thrown off guard that she had been thinking about previous visits to public restrooms with her sisters.

We immediately quickened our pace to the front door.

My mini shot-caller noticing she instantly had all my attention, rushing to do her bidding, and laughing out loud in bewilderment, all with one declaration couldn’t resist repeating her demands in her chirpity little bird song voice after I swooped her up to weave through the snickering crowd while they comment and giggle at the entertainment we were providing as they wait to check out.

Before we reached the door she demanded that I stop directly so she can check out the “Santa Clause™! Santa Clause™! Santa Clause™!” she had been eyeing since we walked in the store. She spots that guy everywhere we go and this one was within reach. I told her we would look at him before we left; she had not forgotten in spite of her other concerns. She slowly inched up to his four foot animatronic self and timidly poked his rubbery hand before quickly deciding that he was either too creepy or not that important and again went back to requesting to sit on Elmo™ as though I was the one who had been distracted.

It is a strange world where they will slap a character on any product to make it more appealing to children. When it was time to purchase a training potty for my daughters, the local choices were Cars™, Princess™, or Elmo™. I would prefer something plain and easy to clean, but that simply isn’t an option around here. The girls have always been fond of Elmo™ and do not seem to be negatively affected even though the potty with his likeness shouts instructions and encouragement in English and Spanish if they brush against the large, high-five hand shaped button positioned exactly where their legs rest so they get a muffled, electronic-Elmo™- voiced, foreign language lesson while they try to urinate which would annoy the piss out of me, but not in a literal, helpful way.

Who thought it was a good idea to make a talking toilet? I was thankful when the batteries gave out and have no intention of replacing them.

It didn’t occur to me when I made the purchase that, “I need to sit on Elmo™,” would become our family code for: “I need to use the restroom.” I wonder if there are other families experiencing this phenomenon. In ten years’ time, “sitting on Elmo™” could be common slang like “dropping the deuce.”

Luckily we made it home to Elmo™ without incident; and were back on the road in no time. I’m pretty sure I could have finished my shopping at no risk to her dry pants record but I will get back to that eventually and then projects can be finished and problems solved… or not. Perhaps I will need to take up smelting and forge my own hasp. Right now it seems far more important to help my daughter feel confident about her body and celebrate her new independence with activities she can handle, like doughnut shopping.

One thought on “Who Needs to Sit on Elmo?

Comments are closed.