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Taking kids into a public restroom is hell on earth!

"Does anyone need to use the bathroom?"

"No." Of course, it is a "no". That's how it goes right before we leave the house. So, we usually tell them to "at least try" - that's our method. We all have our ways.

Even if all 3 boys "go" before we leave, we have one kid (whom shall remain nameless) that will have to go at the first site of a public restroom. And by "go", I mean #2.

"Can you hold it?"

He can't. He is my "wait until the last second" kid. Or in this case, he is both that and the "wait until I see a gas station restroom" kid.

There is nothing more in this world that I hate than a public restroom. Nothing. I cringe at the sight of them and I cringe while in them. I have no issue with bodily fluids, garbage dumps, or animal feces. But, if you put me in a public restroom with my kid, all hell breaks loose.

I glance at Aimee. She knows how much I hate these restrooms. I give her the look of, "I got this one. I'm ready for battle." She knows the procedure for those on the outside: Ignore the screaming that will come through these restroom walls.

I taught him how to build a "nest" on the toilet seat with toilet paper. Naturally, when he goes to sit on it, it all comes crashing down into the toilet and he ends up bare bummed on the seat.

I want to cry.

He asks if he should get up so we can build the nest again.

"NO! Just stay there don't move. The damage is done!"

"Hands on your legs. I said HANDS ON YOUR LEGS."

I turn around to give him privacy, as if there is any.

He's done going.

He reaches for the handle.

Lord, God, no.

"Don't touch that!"

"But Dad, I have to flush."

"Don't you dare touch it. That's why God gave us feet!"

I'm a foot flusher in there, that's for sure.

I do everything in my power to ignore the fact that his shorts were touching the floor and now he is pulling them up with his bare hands, over his bare legs. It's pure love at this point that I will even let him back in the mini-van.

Then, the great debate of all: Do we skip the hand washing?

Let me set the record straight: I am an avid hand washer and we all ALWAYS wash our hands after using the restroom.

I stare at the sink and plot my move.

Which handle is cleaner, hot or cold? Whichever one it is, that's what we're doing.

What's the soap situation? Is it an auto-dispenser? Why aren't they all?!

How are we drying these hands?

"Just wipe them on my shirt!"

"Dad, are you serious?"

"Yes. On the shirt. Right now."

I don't want to touch the button for the air dryer.

He reaches for the door, then thinks better of it. He knows me.

I remember I have a tissue. I reach into my back pocket and grab it. This is nothing short of hero work. I use it and we are set free.

My wife lets me decompress. There is to be no talking.

The mini-van is silent.

I want to shower.

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