06 February 2010

Ladybug Shields: Protection You Can Count On

Mama, I have to use the potty."

"Okay, honey," I say, wiping my mouth on the napkin and grabbing my toddler's hand. We're in the middle of potty training, so any time my little girl initiates a trip to the bathroom, I'm thrilled. We weave our way through the dining room of the restaurant, and open the door to the restroom...just in time to see a cockroach scurrying across the toilet seat.

I suck my breath in, grab a wad of toilet paper, and go in for the kill: Pinch, squish, flush. As my little one watches the cockroach make its final journey, she looks up at me and announces, "I don't want to use the potty. I scared of ladybugs." All bugs are ladybugs.

"I don't blame you, sweetie, " I tell her as I vigorous scrub my hands with soap under the sink. "You can go in your diaper. I know you are a big girl."

My husband looks surprised when we return to the table. "That was quick."

"We saw a ladybug. I scared," my daughter says.

My husband looks at me quizzically.

I mouth the word "cockroach."

"Oh," he nods.

The roach sighting comes at a bad time, because at 2 1/2, my daughter is going through that I'm-scared-of-everything stage, which is coinciding with the I'm-stubborn-stage and the aforementioned anal stage. While I want to be hygienic and cautious about public restrooms, a full blown phobia is not what I had in mind. For days, she balks at using the potty citing ladybug concerns. Then, my brilliant husband taps into that magical and naive toddler imagination. He brings her into a public bathroom and plucks a disposable toilet seat cover from the dispenser.

"Do you know what this is?" he asks her.

She shakes her head.

"This is a ladybug shield. It protects you from ladybugs. Ladybugs can't get you now."

"Oh!" she grins. "Ladybugs can't get me?"

"Nope," my husband says, placing it and then our daughter on the seat.  Phew.

Now that she's using the potty again, I need to think of a way to get her to take a bath again. You see, she's afraid of the spiders...


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