The Auto-Flush

Just about two weeks ago my brother and his family came to visit California. They drove from Colorado, van packed with wife, three children and all the necessary DVDs and distractions to get across 4 states. They have taken this trip a few times over the past couple years to visit family from both sides. This particular trip was going to be very exciting. They were to stay at my moms home for several nights, then move into my sisters home for 3 nights, then move down to Anaheim for 4 nights for a 3 day extravaganza in Disneyland. Both my sister and mother were bubbling with excitment and joy from them to arrive. My sister was ultra excited to have them stay with her for the first time new air mattresses and all! She was excited that her kids would get to have a lot of quality time with the cousins plus - it would be Sophie's first trip to Disney. Yes, this was a big trip.

Before they arrived, I had a discussion with my mom. She wanted to go to Disney for one of the days that all the kids would be there. My sister had been asking me to join the crew as well. But, as it was, my grandmother could not be left alone at my mother's house for the day. I volunteered to senior sit while my mom could enjoy all of the kids at Disney. So, my challenge was to now find some time where I could spend with my brother and the family.

The opportunity arose when my sister called me on Sunday morning crying that she was really sick with some sort of food virus/bacteria diarea, nausea thing. She was bummed. Contemplating cancelling Disney on Tuesday, sad that my brother and the family were all at her house and she just didn't feel well. I told her that there are great drugs for this sort of thing and not to cancel anything. She would be fine after a day of rest and lots of fluid. She said they had plans to go to the Getty on Monday. I voluteered to take care of sophie (my sister's daughter) and meet my bro's family there for the day. That way, I get time with them and Julie gets to rest before the big Disney trip. Perfect.

Monday morning arrived and the planned Getty trip was cancelled due to the fact that it was closed (I checked the website). I suggested a trip to the Science Center in downtown Los Angeles and we agreed to meet there. It was good. The boys (ages 10 and 7) were excited and the girls too (both ages 3.5). We went to the second floor to the cylce of life hall. We were all huddled around a display that had hatching chicken eggs. We wanted to watch one crack out of its shell, so we stood and waited. Sophie got a little distracted, wandered around and then let me know she had 'to go potty.' I said, 'okay. i will take you.' We walked out of the exhibit hall and found the nearest bathroom. We got inside, opened the door, got to the stall, and sophie froze. I said, "come on." She put her hands up and covered her ears, frightened eyes widened. "Is it an automatic one?" I responded without thinking, "Yes, but I will cover it, it won't go off. It's okay, come on." "No, No, NO, NO! AUNT KAREN, NO!!"

Jesus. There was no going forward with going potty. We left the bathroom, got back to the hatching egg case. The hatchling hadn't quite hatched yet. I pulled my sister-in-law aside. "She is scared of the auto-flush. Can you help me out?" She said, "oh, my. Okay. Let's do this." I found another bathroom one floor up. We went in, said there was a magic toilet etc, etc. When we got into the handicap stall I covered the sensor and Auntie Dena tried to talk Sophie down, letting her know that she was safe and we weren't going to let the flush get her. NOPE. This was not going to work, Sophie burst out in BIG tears and we had to leave promptly. I think the bathroom janitor was suspiscious of some sort of abuse. UHGGG. We got outside the bathroom, I offered her a hersheys kiss if she went potty and she just cried, "I want to go home!!" (So I gave her the chocolate treat anyway.) Finally, I called 'mommy,' my sister on the phone. After a recap and Sophie's refusal to talk to her, Julie said, "can you take her outside and let her pee in the bush like she does when we are in the pool?" I said, "I can try."

Three flights down escalators and then outside, down a path. We find a nice shrub and strip sophie down so she can squat and pee. Success. 40 minutes to pee. We got back to the incubator - the hatchling still hadn't hatched.


  1. thank god for aunties and trees to pee under when all of the public world seems to be an auto flush toilet.


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