Today I took the younger two kids to McDonald’s while the housekeepers were here.  We haven’t gone to McDonald’s for the last six weeks because the housekeepers were coming at 10 a.m. and leaving before Elvis’s bus arrived, but today they didn’t come until 10:30 a.m., which put them right in the middle of cleaning the kitchen when Elvis’s bus arrived, so to the McDonald’s went we.  I’d forgotten how much I hate McDonald’s food.  Funny, when we were going to the McDonald’s fortnightly, I thought I loved those McNuggets, but when I ate them today, they were not so awesome.  I am either depressed or I’ve finally internalized the fact that the McNuggets are making me fat and my stomach is doing the calories-to-good calculations itself, rendering said McNuggets practically inedible.  (In theory.  In practice they were still perfectly edible, as I did eat them–I just didn’t enjoy them as much as I wanted to.)

Anyway, we were at the McDonald’s, and at some point during the meal Elvis announced that he had to visit the necessary.  (Actually, what he said was that he had to go pee.  I was just trying to clean it up for you.  You’re welcome for nothing.)  Of course he had to go, since I’d whisked him off the bus and straight into the minivan in order to avoid any unpleasant encounters with the good ladies cleaning my bathrooms.  Well, this was somewhat inconvenient, but I was sure we’d done it before–had Elvis use the toilet at the McDonald’s, that is–so I didn’t think it would be that big a deal.  I just grabbed my purse and Girlfriend, and we all headed to the restrooms together.

‘Twas simple enough, until I took Elvis into the ladies’ room and he realized there were no urinals in there.  (The child has been spoiled by outings with his father, what can I tell you?)  He wanted a urinal, so I said, fine, and pointed him to the men’s room and told him I’d wait for him.  Well, he didn’t like that option either, as Elvis insists on having an audience for all his bodily functions, and specifically he wishes that audience to be related to him.

Well, I wasn’t about to go with him into the men’s room, or any place with a urinal, which is what a men’s room is, and I told him as much.  Specifically, I said that if he wanted me to be with him, he had to pee in a regular old girlie potty in the women’s room, and if he wanted to pee in a urinal, he would have to pee alone.  Specifically, I said that about 47 times in as many ways as I could think of, and he continued to protest in precisely the exact same way that he was a) not using a regular old girlie potty and b) not peeing alone.  (Not in so many words, mind you–mostly communicating in grunts and whines, but the message was perfectly clear, I assure you.)

So we went back and forth between the two bathrooms, going inside the ladies’ room-with-no-urinal and me saying, “I will go with you IN HERE,” and going up to the door of the men’s room and me saying, “I will NOT go with you in there.”  And he would go in the ladies’ room-with-no-urinal and give his “No, no, this is all wrong!” yell, and then hold the door of the men’s room wide open while his pleading eyes invited me to experience the joys therein if only vicariously.

And I would say, “Look, go ahead, I’m not stopping you, just go in there and pee already, but I’m not going with you.  I will wait for you right here.  I’m right here, I’m not going anywhere, you can pee to your heart’s content in there, without me.  Girlfriend, don’t go in there.  Seriously, Elvis, go.  Pee.  Pee like the wind.  I will wait for you.  I will wait for you here.  Right here.  You go in there.  I’ll be right here.  Girlfriend, stay here.  Elvis, go pee.  Seriously.  Go.  Pee.  Or come with me to the other bathroom, I do not care.  Just make a choice, please.  Please.  Seriously.  No, I can’t go with you.  I’M NOT GOING WITH YOU IN THERE.  GIRLFRIEND, GET OUT OF THERE.  ELVIS, PEE ALREADY.  THE POTTY’S RIGHT THERE, I AM RIGHT HERE, AND NEITHER OF US IS GOING ANYWHERE.  FINE, I WILL STAND HERE WITH THE DOOR OPEN.  I’M NOT SURE WHAT THE DIFFERENCE IS BETWEEN STANDING HERE WITH THE DOOR WIDE OPEN AND GOING IN THERE WITH YOU, BUT HERE I AM DOING IT ANYWAY, AND JUST GO, OKAY?  SERIOUSLY!”

The whole episode could not have taken longer than ten minutes, and yet ten minutes has a way of feeling like ten million minutes when you’re standing in the doorway of the men’s room at the McDonald’s while your three-year-old daughter tries to close the door (“No, Elvis, you go by yourself!”) and your six-year-old son keeps stepping away from the urinal to make sure you don’t miss a second of the mid-day matinee performance of Elvis Pees in a Public Bathroom, and meanwhile there is a gathering group of adult males who would like to use the bathroom themselves, alone, and you wonder why more McDonald’s don’t have those unisex “family” bathrooms, except you know why they don’t because if they did, they would probably be as busy as an actual McDonald’s Playland, and PRAISE THE LORD, HE HAS FINALLY FINISHED PEEING AND IS GOING TO WASH HIS HANDS–YES, BY ALL MEANS, SIR, USE YOUR BATHROOM IN PRIVACY, I PROMISE NOT TO VISIT THIS MCDONALD’S ON MY SON’S FULL BLADDER AGAIN.

Although this particular adventure proved a little too challenging for Elvis’s receptive language skills, he did make good use of his emerging expressive language.  Complete sentences included such gems as “Mommy, come here” and “Mommy’s crying.”

And yes, the fries were cold by the time we got back to the table.  Did I eat them anyway?  You bet your sweet bippy I did.