Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Open Letter to the Parents of Pittsburgh

I have seen just about every abhorrent parental behavior whilst out and about with my children.  Chances are, so have you.  I've also probably perpetrated a couple of transgressions myself here or there.  I don't claim to be blameless.  Sometimes, I am that Mom dragging her kid screaming through a store on the way to the exit.

But, seriously, people, bathroom stuff belongs in the bathroom.

A couple of months ago I witnessed something that left my jaw on the floor.  I was at the local mall with the kids and I'd taken them to the mall playground to run out some of their beans.  I was keeping an eye on them from the sidelines when I noticed a couple with their approximately 3 year old girl child.  They played for a bit, ran around with the other kids, and then called their kid over to a corner of the play ground (located smack dab in the middle of the Mall) because they felt she must surely have to pee by this point.

They then whipped out a potty chair, lined it with a plastic bag, and had their kid pop a squat right there in the middle of the Mall.

Hand to God, I swear on a stack of Bibles that I witnessed this first hand.

This little girl finished up her business, pulled up her pants, and then headed back out to play.  Meanwhile, her parents tied up the plastic bag lining the potty chair and threw it in the trash.  Don't get me wrong, I understand that urine is sterile.  But damn, that is the very definition of GROSS.

I was horrified at the time but thought that, perhaps, I was witnessing an aberration.  A set of parents that just didn't realize how gross what they'd just done was.  That, just maybe, they were so focused on potty training they forgot where they were.

This week I was proven wrong.  Parents everywhere seem to have no care at all for their fellow human beings whilst out with their children.  Particularly when it comes to bathrooms, potty training, diapers, and the gross things contained therein.

On Monday we took the kids to the library.  We headed up to the children's section and the kids started looking at books and playing with the toys.  Another parent was there with his two children.  The younger of the two was probably approaching three and still in diapers (no judgment, there - Liam sure wasn't ready to start potty training until well after three).  He starts going on about how the kid has a poopy diaper and needs to be changed.  I figured he'd chase the kid down, carry him off to the bathroom, and deal with the problem.

Oh no.  He chose an alternative option.

Let me digress for a moment on the subject of toddler poo.  Any parent will tell you it's gross.  The second your kid is completely on table foods, you start changing the most disgusting diapers known to God and man.  Imagine having to have intimate knowledge of another adult's bowels.  That's what it's like.  It smells awful.  I could go on, but let's all try to keep our suppers down here.

Back to Dad and his little Dude.

He chased the kid down and changed his diaper RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIBRARY.  My kids were running around while he was exposing the children's section to his kid's shit.  He got the kid's dirty, shit-covered diaper off and set it aside while he put the clean diaper on.  HE LEFT THE DIAPER OPEN.

I did my best to hold my breath and avert my eyes while I chased my toddler around and not to appear like I was trying to keep the kids away from some other kid's poop.  The diaper stunk up the whole area and made me want to gag.  My own kid's diapers make me want to gag.  This was some random stranger and that made it all the more disgusting.

Finally, this guy gets his kid back in his pants and shoes and deals with the nasty diaper.  And we all act like the egregious affront to polite society that just took place didn't really happen.

So, a little tip:  No one else wants to see that.  Family bathrooms  exist.  Take your kid there and deal with it.  If that grosses you out, try the back of your car.  There are options that don't include having your kid squat to piss in public or leaving a shitty diaper lying around for all to see and smell.

Thank you and Good Night.


  1. Oh. Em. Gee. There are just so many levels of wrong in those situations! It blows me away that kids that age are OK with being exposed in public like that...though I don't have kids that age yet so what do I know?

  2. Urp. That is 87 kinds of disgusting. *shudder*