One day when Tre was seven years old, he stopped dead in his tracks outside a McDonald’s restroom.
“Go on, honey,” I urged. I had Raphi on one hip and Max was dancing ahead in imminent need of the facilities. I glanced back at Tre, who was unmoving.
“No, Mama,” he said evenly, “I think I need to go in the BOY’S room. I’m JUST TOO OLD to go in that GIRL’S room.” I stood there for a moment, looking at my little man. He was right; he WAS too old for the women’s bathroom. I heaved a sigh of defeat and nodded in assent. Tre pushed through the door and strode into the land of men alone, his shoulders back and his face aglow. I shuddered and proceeded to spend the next two minutes with my ear pressed to the McDonald’s men’s room door, glaring at men who would have otherwise entered.
When Max was five he tried one day to follow Tre into a men’s room (again at McDonald’s – no interpretation of our eating habits needed, thankyouverymuch). I put a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey, buddy, where are you going?” He looked at me, brows knit in anxiety. “Can’t I go with HIM? Do I HAVE to go pee with all those MOMS? I looked at him and sighed, but I knew it was hopeless. He had that look, that stubborn, oh-please-let-her-listen-to-me-and-by-the-way-I-think-I’ll-get-a-little-mad-just-in-case look. He was five and there was no stopping this train. Besides, I was older and wiser and calmer, so I waved him on.
And stood outside the bathroom with my ear pressed to the door, glaring at men who would have otherwise entered.
Last week I was in Wal-Mart with the boys and on the way out we stopped at the bathrooms. I gave Max and Tre exit orders (“Don’t talk to anyone, don’t forget to wash your hands, and meet me RIGHT HERE!”) and turned to walk into the women’s room with Raphael. He planted his feet. The child can turn the soles of perfectly normal shoes into some sort of linoleum Velcro device. He was unmovable.
“Come on, let’s go in so you can pee,” I urged him. He shook his head.
“Ah wanna go in there with my brothers. Ah am a BIG BOY and GIRLS go in there.” I looked at him…then shook my head and scooped him up. I carried him into the bathroom and set him down. He stood in the corner, glaring at me, and refused to pee in there. Tough, kid. I’m not sending my three year old, who is fabulous BUT HAS NO SENSE, into the men’s room.
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have that fourth boy I wanted. He’d be the newborn in the nursery, agitating to have the girl babies removed before he allowed his diaper to be changed. HONESTLY! Boys!