No one in their right mind would deny a privacy-deprived mom a few minutes on the pot to do her business and scroll through her newsfeed. No one except her baby, that is. Those adorable assholes do not approve of your absence for any period of time, and even though they can't say it in words, you can be sure they have some strong feelings about the situation. If you could tune into their innermost thoughts, I have some ideas of what your baby's thinking when you go to the bathroom without them.
I guess I should have known that peeing would not longer be a solo act once I became a mother. I mean, I still don't let my own mom go alone. ("Hey, why is this door locked?") As a first-time mom to a newborn, I felt bad strapping my baby into the infant seat so I could have a few moments to myself, but I had to go. I just knew I was traumatizing her for all time. These days, I have a toddler, and I've given up on potty-time solitude. We're toilet training, and not only is it good to normalize bathroom behavior, I also know what kind of havoc a 2-year-old can wreak in the time it takes for me to tinkle. At least babies stay where they're put.
If you find yourself feeling a little guilty for taking two minutes to yourself to answer the call of nature, chances are you know as well as I do that your baby is thinking the following:
"What Is This 'Privacy' You Speak Of?"
According to Psychology Today, babies are designed to be physically connected to their caregivers. They cannot understand why they are suddenly by themselves, much less why you might want some time to yourself. Babies are all about the companionship, so your clandestine retreat to the lavatory gets a big, "I don't get it."
"Look What You Made Me Do"
Kids are notorious for getting up to no good when mom isn't looking. Although they aren't yet quite as mobile, babies will find a suitable consequence for your absence, usually in the form of an epic spit-up or blow-out. That, or they'll Houdini themselves out of whatever container you've placed them in. Straps and buckles, people!
"Don't Get Used To It"
If you manage to duck into the powder room without an infant in tow, savor it. I promise it won't last long. Once they're walking, they will find you. No matter what occurs! They will find you. Find you and serenade you with their rendition of "The Alphabet Song" on xylophone.
According to Child Development Institute of the Redwoods, as your baby develops a sense of self, they start to be aware that they are alone. That's scary for a little one, and they understandably become more clingy. Separation anxiety is a normal part of development for babies, but it doesn't mean they have to like it. It is, however, why many moms just end up dragging the activity mat into the bathroom.
"You Should Really Try This Diaper Business"
For your baby's entire existence, they've been putting their pee and poop in the handy dandy diaper that's always attached to them. Bonus: someone else takes care of it! Babies would like to know just why in the hell anyone would use that giant porcelain bowl instead of a cozy diaper (which, incidentally, makes potty training a toddler that much more difficult).
"I Don't Remember Giving You Permission"
If you return from a quick trip to the loo, I'm willing to bet the look on your kid's face reads something to the effect of, "And where have you been?" You baby is likely concerned that you don't understand the power dynamics of your relationship. (Hint: you're not the boss.)
"Karma's A Bitch"
Are babies vengeful? Speaking as someone who has been personally victimized by a 6-month-old, I'm going to go ahead and give that an affirmative. Retaliation is coming, people. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it's coming. (Just kidding, but when they bite your nipple or give your hair a good yank, it will probably feel personal.)
"So This Is How It Ends"
A big problem here is that young babies haven't yet developed object permanence. (That's why peekaboo is so fun, you guys.) You being gone can feel like the sky is falling, and babies are (dare I say?) dramatic. Just as likely, however, it will be an "out of sight, out of mind" situation. Here's hoping it's the latter!
"Moooooooom! What Are You Doooooooing?"
OK, so they don't have object permanence, but this whole article is predicated on your willful suspension of disbelief, so work with me here. Who's to say they're not practicing for a lifetime of requesting your undivided attention only to tell you "never mind" once they have it? And only when you're in the WC or on the phone, naturally.
"But Do You Still Love Me?"
This was my manipulative phrase of choice when I was 4-year-old. I used it right after I got in trouble, so I know I'm going to get it from my own kid. However, it's hard to look at those crocodile tears and pouty lips and not imagine that your baby missed you. Go ahead and give them a big snuggle because, in their minds, that was the longest two minutes of their life.
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