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My friend's blog yesterday reminded me of a debate/parenting-issue that my sister has been struggling with for years. Now that we have a little boy.. I know the time will come when we're faced with the same dilemna.

My question to you all is simple. How old is a child "old enough" to go into a male restroom by himself. For our family, unless we're with friends.. he's got two moms.. so we're not allowed in there.. although I might consider finding a hat and fake mustache at some point to sneak in. The concern? Stranger Danger.

My sister's son has been pushing to go into the men's room by himself when his dad isn't around for years (he's 8 now).. my sister still drags him kicking and screaming (not quite) into the ladies room where she can keep a close watch on him. One time, she was at a family restaurant and he BEGGED to go into the men's room by himself. So she gulped and said "ok" and then sat about 8 feet from the door with her heart in her throat while he walked through the door. What are the odds that a freaky perv is in that particular bathroom at that particular time? who knows. Shortly after he went in.. a man came out.. looked around for my sister and came over and said something to the effect of "how dare you allow such a young child in the men's room alone.. don't you know what can happen?". Of course, my sister was ready to smack the guy but he also confirmed all of her fears and she was ready to charge in there and pull her son out. He came out a second later with wide eyes and came over to my sister, so she knew that something had "happened". He said that the guy had told him that it was "just wrong" that he was there and for a good kid like my nephew.. this flabergasted him. Becky explained that it was no business of this guy to talk to him and that things like that were the reason why she always insisted that he follow her into the ladies room.

I've watched other parents of even much younger children just let their boys romp into the men's room by themselves.. peeing over god knows what and falling over themselves as they come back out. I do believe (at least to save my sanity) that most people in this world are not pervs.. but it's the chance that there's just that one that will have me bringing Ben into the ladies room until he's taller than me.. i think that will be my criteria.. when you're taller than I am.. THEN you can go in without me.

That may backfire on me since the kid is already gaining on me.

We're no where near potty training.. so this is WAY premature for me to even be thinking about.. but I am curious how mom's address this.

On the flip side.. we went to the movies with my brother in law and 4 of his 5 kids.. ranging in age at that time from 4 to 9 i believe.. the youngest needed to pee halfway through the movie so he sent the 9 year old out with him. I was pregnant at the time and had a hard time not following but this went against every mothering instinct I had.. they walked out of the movie theater.. down the hall.. to the bathroom.. and all the way back all by themselves. I was practically in tears by the time they got back from relief and then I was mad at myself for not just getting up and following them.

One thing I'm thankful for? Family restroooms.. they are starting to catch on here in the northeast and hopefully will be the norm across the country so we can avoid this all together. IKEA has a great one.. it's big enough to get a whole brood of children in there, change diapers, nurse, and for everyone to go potty in a place where the only people in there are the mom(s)/dad(s) and the kids.

I'm going to have to rely on Ben's grampas and older male cousin's and some of our male friends to show him how a urinal works. I just can't imagine saying "pee into that troff on the floor..." at red sox games.. oh well!

1 Comment:

  1. What A Card said...
    This is a rough one. With two boys of my own, I don't know the answer. I'm a bit worried. At the Y, the boys can only come into the girl's locker room until they are 4 years old. After that, they get booted. But obviously at 4 they're not old enough to go into the locker room alone. So we'd have to wait hours to get into one of the three "family" changing rooms. It's a conundrum!

    PS~~Ben's haircut is adorable!

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