I’m sending a plea to all business owners and managers.
Please, please, please place stools in your restrooms!
Let me explain. It is an exciting time when your child is officially potty trained. No more, do you have that gut sinking feeling when you realize you are out of diapers and have to run to the store. No more, will your shoulders be sore from carrying around the infamous 10-pound diaper bag. (Ok, 10 pounds is an exaggeration, but you get my point). And most importantly, the money spent on diapers each month can go towards something a little more fun.
However, once free from diapers, there are more trips to the restroom. Basically, anywhere you might go, whether to a restaurant, a grocery store, an airport, a farmer's market, a museum, a bank, or even a gas station, your child will say those famous words that send parents into a frenzy,
"I have to go potty."
When I hear this, I go into automatic pilot mode looking for that familiar sign of a stick figure wearing a 1950's A-line skirt. We walk briskly, and once we arrive and open that stall door, I breathe a sigh of relief,
"We made it!"
However, once we come out of the stall, there in front of us are porcelain sinks dropped evenly in a long piece of laminate. Each sink with its own steal faucet, and in between the faucets, up on the wall, are soap dispensers. Below each soap dispenser, there is a small crusty pastel colored clump that has dripped from its respective dispenser. Hanging on the wall is a long mirror. And in that mirror, I see my face; it is the annoyed and tired look. The look where I know I SHOULD say,
"Now, it is time to wash your hands."
But instead I say,
"Come on, let's go. We can use magic soap."
BTW, magic soap is a pseudonym for the pink, sparkly, berry scented hand sanitizer that I carry in my purse. There are a few exceptions to this last part. If we are at Whole Foods or Wal-Mart I happily say,
"OK, wash your hands and let's go!"
Whole Foods and Wal-Mart? I know they seem like two very different places that cater to two different clients. However, they both have at least one thing in common. At Wal-Mart, they have a sink that is wheelchair accessible. However, the height is also the perfect height for my 3 year old. She can wash and dry her hands all by herself. And at Whole Foods, there is a stool installed that can be raised and lowered for the person's desired height.
You see, at other places, when I am required to lift my daughter up to help her wash her hands, it is a bit awkward. I roll up our sleeves, re-situate my shoulder bag that serves as my purse, and lift her up over the sink. After shifting my grip from 2 hands to 1, I use my free hand to turn on the water and find the right temperature. While keeping my balance, I then tell my daughter to quickly put her hand under the dispenser so that when I give it two quick pumps, the soap will drop perfectly in her hand. Then, just as my back starts to ache, I loosen my grip, and she instinctively jumps down. I hear her cowboy boots slam against the tile floor. Finally, we get ready for one more lift so that her hands are high enough to reach the sensor on the hand dryer.
Ok, I know, this isn't completely terrible, but it is an inconvenience. However, for grandparents, it can be a much more difficult. I would bet that a lot of grandparents have the preschoolers skip the sink challenge.
So, back to my original plea... Please! Put stools in public bathrooms!
Out of all the public restrooms we have been to, only a handful of them catered to children. There was one airport that had a stool built in to the wall similar to Whole Foods, and one restaurant had a bench in the restroom that I pulled over to the sink and let my child use it as a stool. The mom behind me followed suit with her daughter, too. However, most of the time we simply use antibacterial soap and walk out the door. So, if at the very last, if you don't want to install a stool, maybe a sanitize dispenser at a spot low enough for a child or at a wheelchair accessible height would also suffice.
Ok, rant over, hoping that soon we will see some more hand washing accessibility for all!