Published 12:00 am Monday, September 27, 1999

Mary Ann FitzmorrisL’Observateur / September 27, 1999

My son has just remarked on the unusual speed of my husband’s bathroom visit today, and I begin to feel sorry for him. My husband, that is.It was only a few years ago that the man could go to the bathroom by himself, with no one shouting from beyond the locked door for an ETC (Estimated Time of Completion.) He still tries to cling to some shred ofprivacy in these personal matters. I wonder why he should feel himselfentitled to such a privilege.

If he were a mom, he would know it is futile. Mothers never even bother tolock the door. There is an unwritten agreement about privacy betweenmother and child. Mothers forfeit their right to privacy beginning withthose stirrups at delivery.

It happens innocently enough. A new mom, fearful for the infant’s safety,allows herself a 45-second shower with the curtain and door open, keeping one eye on the child.

Ten years later, after the bathroom floor has rotted away from the open curtains, mom’s showers have stretched to a leisurely two minutes, with a child peering in frequently to ask an emergency question, like, “Hey mom, do you know how many times I jumped rope without stopping at recess today?” And, “Would you like to see what Joseph taught me in the lunch line today?” (That one always makes me wince. . . and look.)These shower conversations start a pattern of unlimited access, and pretty soon your private bathroom has as much traffic as the highway Shell station. What’s worse, “dey all axed fo’ you!”Brief conversations don’t bother me particularly; what really bugs me is the parade of things that I need to see at just this moment. My son’s latestLego creation that falls into a million pieces at my feet, for example.

My personal favorite Irritable Bowel Movement Syndrome story has to be the time my daughter came in to show me the neatest new jump rope rhyme. She brought the rope and started jumping. I threw her out rightafter the rope stung me on the leg.

None of these things has ever bothered my husband. His penance for havinga bowel movement is incessant shouting from behind the locked door.

“Hey, Dad, you’ve been in there a long time. When are you coming out?””Gosh, mom, he sure takes forever!” “Dad, why does it take you so long?” I know the answer; though I don’t dare offer it. He’s trying to steal somereading time. A bathroom can also be a place of refuge, I hear, although itdoesn’t work when I try it.

Once I heard the phone ring while I was in the bathroom. I heard mydaughter’s end of the conversation. “She’s. . . she’s. . .Well, (nervousgiggle). . .she pooing.” Then she opened the door and handed me the phone.With dread I said hello. A soft snicker was on the other end. A friend said,”No you’re not; you’re hiding, aren’t you?” My children always go to the bathroom behind a closed door. I once askedthem why that is. They gave me a quick, patronizing reply: “Bodilyfunctions are supposed to be private, you know.”

Mary Ann Fitzmorris is a regular columnist for L’Observateur Back to Top

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