Subourbon Mom

Big Girl Bathrooms

Working at my Big Girl’s job has brought to my attention the fact that preschool bathroom rules are not the same as Grown-Up Office Bathroom rules. While we recently moved offices and now have private bathrooms, our previously public bathrooms illuminated several differences (and some creepy similarities):

  1. In a Grown-Up Office Bathroom, you don’t need to worry about someone who is 3-feet-high squatting down, looking under the stall door and talking to you about her Hello Kitty Halloween costume.images-3
  2. Grown-Up Office Bathrooms do not have step stools tucked under the sinks so you can reach the soap.
  3. It’s not cool in Grown-Up Office Bathrooms to chat with your co-workers while you pee; in preschool bathrooms, this is usually the ONLY time you can chat with your co-workers about what’s going on.images-1
  4. Grown-Up Office Bathrooms do not have signs reminding you to sing the Happy Birthday Song the entire time you wash your hands—weirdly (and often incorrectly), it’s assumed people will wash their hands without reminders.
  5. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms, it is assumed that everyone knows what the little wastebaskets on the side of womens’ stalls are for. In preschool bathrooms, many things can be found in these baskets: Legos, Tinker Toys, Barbie heads, and pretend cell phones, to name a few)…
  6. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms, no one will ask you to help them wipe—if they do, it’s definitely time to get to know your HR Department.
  7. In Grown-Up Office Bathrooms it’s also not cool to take the stall immediately next door to the person who’s already in there—apparently not everyone is comfortable with the knowledge that the person next to them is probably evaluating how badly they had to go. (You can’t un-think it, can you? You’re always going to wonder now if that’s what they’re thinking as you let it go.) In preschool bathrooms, you rarely get to leave the room, so when you pee like you’re a miniature Niagra Falls, everybody knows why.
  8. Which leads me to similarities: all public bathrooms have the thinnest toilet paper on the planet, that breaks off square by square. After several frustrating tugs, you’re left holding what looks like handful of lottery tickets with the consistency of peeled skin, instead of a satisfying and reassuring wad of toilet paper.images-4
  9. Sometimes, your body is kind enough to forewarn you that things are about to get pretty nasty. Most workplaces, whether it’s for adults or children, have at least one bathroom that is far enough away from the others that you can go (run) to when that unfortunate day happens; however, re-entering the world often involves a walk-of-shame, especially if the hidden bathroom had someone else waiting to use it.
  10. All women’s public bathrooms, no matter what the median age of the users, seem to have at least one toilet that all of the women use who can’t aim when they squat.

Whether you’re five or fifty-five, bathroom rules are simple:

Clean up your own mess (that includes the seat);

Give others their space; and

Provide and/or properly use the right tools for the job.

If we all do this, no one will have to put up signs like these:


My “Big Girl” Job

Hey? Did you hear that flapping sound? That’s me, flailing around in my new job. Yep, I did it—I stopped teaching 5-year-olds so I can work with much taller 5-year-olds in the grown-up world of business.

I won’t go into all the boring details, but suffice it to say (who says “suffice it to say” anymore?), I am having to re-work some of my mental processes as I make the transition from teaching to having a “big girl job,” as my teacher friends like to call it. One of the things I decided would help me through, is to make a list of things to remember while I’m sitting in my cube:

  1. Do not talk about poop at work….or pee, or green boogers or vomit.
  2. You don’t have to get someone to stand over your cube and make sure nothing happens while you go to the bathroom.
  3. Crayon and markers are not acceptable modes of communication.
  4. Do not display your finished work on the board outside your cube.
  5. People can hear you if you’re whispering on a conference call (found that one out yesterday).
  6. You cannot tell irritating people to take a time out.
  7. Do not send back edits with smiley faces on them.
  8. There is no “Question of the Day;” there hundreds of questions (usually asked by me) every day, and the answer usually involves three emails and trying to figure out how to work the phone that has no labels.
  9. You don’t have to write everything in words of one syllable for the beginner readers…usually.
  10. Don’t expect the supply closet to be very inviting—there are no paints, stickers, glitter or construction paper, even though every office in the working world desperately needs these things.
  11. Sitting on the carpet to sort out your papers just looks…odd. Sit in the chair whenever possible.
  12. Do not spin in the chair just because it’s fun. People will look at you funny.
  13. Relax—no one is going to look under the bathroom stall door to see which teacher is in there with them.
  14. It is now safe to talk about The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy without the fear of damaging a child’s imagination—but Santa’s still real, right? (In our house the rule is, “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive.”)
  15. Seriously, don’t talk about poop at work…ever.

Prison Break–Diary of a Snowed-In 5-Year-Old
January 17, 2013, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In light of the coming Snow-Mageddon, I thought you might enjoy the following diary, apparently written by a five-year-old “cellmate” during a snow/ice storm that kept him out of school for a week.

Day 1: Snow and ice storms have suspended the education-release programs until further notice, and have shut off all possibilities of tunneling out–the ground is too hard. The Day Warden, an attractive woman who smells like coffee and flowers, emerged as the Night Warden left in what is the only vehicle available for transporting us prisoners in snow. She has begun spending all hours with the television on, waiting for news of a break in the weather.
My younger cellmate and I are edgy and excited. During the storm, the Day Warden allowed us to put on our outside uniforms (puffy jacket, mittens and boots) and go into the exercise yard. I tried tunneling to escape, but broke one shovel before the Day Warden declared it was too cold and returned us to our cell. It took twenty minutes for her to change us back into our regular uniforms (Garanimal pants and shirt, designed to humiliate us and keep us from desiring to go out in public). She broke the rule about using foul language, but I guess for Wardens there isn’t any punishment. Good behavior (she didn’t see me tunneling) was rewarded with hot chocolate.

Day 2: The Night Warden returned last evening and brought with him dire predictions of more snow and ice. I try to keep my hopes up for an opportunity to escape, but it’s looking less likely each day. The Day Warden now alternates the news on television with mind-altering shows to mentally break us down. A small, yellow sponge and a pink starfish are especially effective. I can’t think or move when they are on. My cellmate has created his own indoor skating rink and glides on it in his socks. He has been to the infirmary twice for an ice pack after falling on the hardwood floors.

Day 3: The walls are getting closer. Made three shivs out of a pick-up-stick, a toothpick and a broken tinker toy. Left them in the couch cushions for the Day Warden to sit/step on. Results better than hoped for. Sent to solitary confinement, but totally worth it. Hoping Night Warden will bring in more opportunities for weapons. Star Wars and Transformer brands are preferred.

Day 4: My cellmate and I are climbing the walls. Literally. And the bookcase, the counters and all the squishy furniture. The walls also display prisoner artwork depicting our captivity—showing Harold and the Purple Crayon movie was not a smart idea on part of the Day Warden. Her response was “art therapy,” but making the gingerbread house was a colossal failure. The Day Warden didn’t know regular icing won’t hold the walls or roof together. My cellmate ran in circles after consuming fistfuls of “mortar.”

Solitary confinement again for giving cellmate “prison cut” with Day Warden’s sewing scissors.

Day 5: Food running low. Spent two hours in solitary for stealing food from cellmate. Meals now consisting of only canned vegetables, crackers and toast. Pretty sure mind-altering drugs are being given to us under the guise of “Benadryl.” Having trouble staying awake. Day Warden has begun carrying around a sippy cup filled with something she calls “Mommy Juice.”

Day 6: Beginning to fear for Day Warden’s sanity. She has begun to smell, and has changed from her normal uniform of jeans and a shirt with buttons to a Garanimals outfit similar to ours, but without the animals. The Day Warden also sent herself to solitary confinement. Heard the television blaring, but got no answer when I knocked. The Night Warden started his shift and tried to talk the Day Warden into coming out, but she locked her door and shouted “I can’t do this anymore! Shovel the damned driveway so I can get my car out, or there’s going to be less people in The House.” I hope she didn’t keep the shivs.

Day 7: The Night Warden announced that mind-altering television and drugs would be suspended until further notice. The exercise yard was cleared this morning, and the Night Warden stayed for day shift; the Day Warden took the specialized vehicle for the day. While she was gone, the Night Warden instituted a work release program. We worked in the laundry, the exercise yard (shoveling), and the kitchen. Sent to infirmary and solitary again after testing knives. Kitchen duty suspended. Mind-altering drugs and television resumed.

Day 8: Education-release program resumed today. The Day Warden sang as she drove.

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