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The uttery loo-nacy of restaurant meals

Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.

It never fails; you can wait 20 minutes for a meal, and when it arrives kiddie wants to go to the bathroom. I haven’t had a hot meal in a restaurant since the day she was born.

I take a frantic bite and pretend not to hear the whine.

My husband leans over and taps my shoulder.

“Honey, she has to go to the bathroom.”

Now I’m shoving the food in so that I’ll at least have some idea of what it was supposed to taste like hot.

“Can’t you go on your own?” I suggest desperately with my mouth full.

Kiddie says the bathroom door is too heavy to push open.

I march her to the bathroom grumbling all the way. If I was the perfect mother, I would graciously give up my dinner to stand outside the bathroom door listening to her pee.

But I’m not the perfect mother, and I suspect she wants to go out of sheer curiosity.

Sure enough, when we reach the bathroom she starts her evaluation. “This one is so outdated!” she exclaims.

“This wallpaper looks like it’s from the 1990s. That needs to go. And that trash tin doesn’t match anything. The bathroom in the other restaurant was much nicer. They should take out this wall.”

“That’s enough renovation television for you,” I grumble.

For the next ten minutes I stand guard outside the stall door, because she doesn’t like to lock it. Some ladies come in to freshen up their make-up; to make room for them, I have to squeeze between the door and the trash tin.

I talk to my daughter in the stall.

“How’s it going in there?”

“Fine,” she says, “but the toilet roll holder is ugly.”

Really, I’m just talking to her so the ladies know I’m a mom, not a freaky bathroom pervert. It takes another five minutes for her to wash her hands and thoroughly, very thoroughly, dry them.

When we finally get back to the table, my meal is gone. “Oh,” my husband says, “were you still eating that? It was starting to congeal.”