Cleared for take-off, but not the bathroom

I should have predicted it. Everything was going too smoothly.

Knowing my children’s bathroom habits, I should have known. Known what, you ask? That the minute the plane started taxing down the runway, the very few minutes when no one can get up from their seat, not even the stewardess, my kids would have to go to the bathroom. Really bad. And on separate flights.

Two hours at the Palm Springs airport, with plenty of bathrooms, of course Kaya announces that she has to go when we are buckled in our seats and getting ready for take off. She looks at me with a pained look on her face, one hand holding her crotch: “Mommy, I have to go pee-pee, really bad!”

This is one of those parent moments where you just don’t know the proper protocol. Do I risk the wrath of the flight attendant and possibly injuring myself and my child, or do I risk Kaya peeing all over the airplane seat? I looked nervously around the plane. Everyone was seated with their seat belt on, even the flight attendant. We were taxing down the runway. I decided to go the safe route.

“Kaya, you have to wait. We can’t go now.”

“Mommy, I have to go, reaaaallllly bad.”

Great, she is going to wet the seat, I just know it. At least I had brought extra clothes for her. She started to cry. Swell. But we have to be taking off any minute. Then the pilots voice came on over the loud-speaker. “Well, ladies and gentlemen. We are number five for take-off. So just sit back and enjoy your flight.”

Number five???? Sit back and relax? You got to be kidding me. She was going to explode. Pee was going to come flying out of her putter and spray every passenger on the entire plane. We would be given a parachute and kicked off the plane somewhere over the desert. I would be banned from ever flying US Airways again.

My theory was: don’t look at her, then she’ll forget she has to go. After a while, I stole a furtive glance at Kaya. It looked like she was breaking out in a cold sweat. I didn’t know 3-year olds could perspire. Great, next I’ll have to buy her deodorant. Finally, we were up in the air. But it was super turbulent. The flight attendant walked by, holding on to the overhead bins for balance. I asked him if she could go to the bathroom. “Not yet,” he said. Oh my god, this was torture! For both me and Kaya.

I decided to distract myself by doing a crossword puzzle. After a few minutes, I looked at her again. Asleep. Great, now she was going to be sleeping in a pool of piss. I tried to wake her, to no avail. Screw it. Let her sleep and I can enjoy a peaceful flight. When we land, Siig and I come up with a game plan: he’ll take Kaiden and the bags, and I’ll scoop up Kaya and run off the plane to find a bathroom. Amazingly, her bottom seems dry. Or maybe I’m just in denial. We go flying into the terminal. No bathroom. I start running in the direction of the gate for our next flight, sure we’ll find a bathroom any minute. No such luck. We enter the longest stretch of LAX without a bathroom. I start to panic. She’s not going to make it.

Now I’m sweating from running through the airport while carrying a 30-lb little girl, not to mention a backpack that weighs about the same. Finally, I see it: the universal sign for a restroom – the black silhouettes of a man and woman stick figure. We run into a stall, pull down her pants and throw her on the potty. While she pees, I bend over to catch my breath. Work out for the day complete.

I think my worries are over when on our next flight to Reno, as we start heading down the runway, I hear from Kaiden: “Mommy, I have to pee, reaaaaaaaallllllllllly bad!” For reals? What kind of pee karma do I have? This time, Kaiden is sitting nex to Siig. My rule for airplanes: if you’re sitting next to the child with a problem, that’s your problem. I go back to my crossword puzzle. First clue: four letter word that starts with P. Think I’ll skip that one.

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2 thoughts on “Cleared for take-off, but not the bathroom

  1. So sorry this keeps happening to you. While it is totally unpleasant for you, it provides such hilarious material for your blog. When we were in China, having just adopted our 10- 1/2- month-old daughter, we had an in-country flight. Due to security and whoknowswhatelse we had no time to stop in the bathroom either on the plane or in the airport to change our girl’s soaked diaper and clothing. Finally, unable to stand it another second, I just laid her down on the beautiful marble floor behind a big potted plan in the main terminal and changed her. We received some dirty looks and our guide was yelling at us for holding up the group. I was beyond caring at that point (For the record: I would never change a baby’s diaper on the floor in public here-EVER.) because I could not continue to carry a soaked, crying, shivering baby. We always bring along a pull-up on the plane for our girl for just such reasons.

    • Oh my gosh, your story sounds much worse than mine! Poor little girl. For the record: I have no problem changing a baby’s diaper in a public place. A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

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