Dear Disney/Pixar animators/executives/overlords,
I must first tell you how much I appreciate your films. They are charming. They make me laugh. They make me ugly cry. (“Up” and “Toy Story 3”? Mascara and nose running – every time. Every. Time.) My three-year old is also a big fan, and has already developed several Pixar obsessions including, but not limited to, “Cars,” “Incredibles,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Monsters University,” the “Toy Story” trilogy and “Nemo.” Which is odd because I honestly don’t think he has ever seen “Nemo.” It matters not to him. He knows Dory exists and loves her. THAT is the power of Disney Pixar. Just the mere suggestion of Ellen DeGeneres as sea life and my son is sold. Hook, line and sinker. (See what I did there?) The force is strong with Pixar. (Now even more so, since Disney bought Lucasfilm.) I am on board with the Pixar party line in most cases. “Toy Story” teaches friendship and loyalty. “Nemo” teaches that we never give up on those we love.” Cars” teaches that maybe we aren’t the most important person we know and that things are better shared with friends. “Up,” ah “Up.” There is so much about “Up” to love. I could go on and on about the wonderful lessons my child has learned from me allowing the television to babysit him on those kinds of days. And I thank you for every single one of those lessons, overlords.
But I must appeal to you as the mother of a fairly new public restroom user. Let me explain. I heard about the horrors of potty training from other moms and dads, and quite honestly, I found them to be greatly exaggerated. We were pleasantly surprised when our son showed interest and just kind of started going to the potty without a huge amount of fanfare or pressure from us. Charts and targets and special songs? Please. Clearly, my child is a professional pottier and needs no such motivation. (Fellow parents, please do not think I am being a smug mother about this. Vaught has consistently done the “hard” stuff like teething and potty training without much fuss, yet continues to do things other parents think are “easy” and even “enjoyable” with a maximum amount of tears and gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. Both ours and his. It’s just God’s way of having a little fun with us, I think.) So, while potty training was not the Stephen King novel I thought it would be (both in terms of length and horror), I quickly discovered something much, much worse than potty training, and that is a toddler in a public restroom.
I swear to you, there are days I long for the disgusting koala bear changing table where I could lay down a changing pad to be thoroughly cleaned at home later. Now, my son climbs on to the public potty using both hands. BOTH. HANDS. I don’t care if you Clorox the entire seat for 20 minutes, watching your child hold on to the seat using his bare hands will make you want to vomit. I don’t care if you are a germaphobe or not. This will easily make you one and test your gag reflex all at once. Then, once he is on the potty, he wants to play with the little trashcan featured in most ladies rooms. Also, Walmart is apparently a blooming laxative for my child.
See what I’ve got going on here, Disney? Quite frankly, I’ve got enough potty problems to handle without you adding to the ever-growing list of Things That Make Mommy Gag. And don’t sit there looking all innocent, like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know.
I’m talking about this:
And now, this:
How resourceful of Woody to escape Sunny Side by climbing on to the toilet paper holder and out of the bathroom window. Guess what my child tries to do now in public restrooms? Go on, just guess. If you guessed that he attempts to stand on the metal holder with his pants still around his ankles to escape like Woody then you would be correct. It’s fun for both of us.
And since it was sooooo hilarious for Mike Wazowski to accidentally drop his foot into the toilet, guess what is equally hilarious (in his mind) for my son to pretend to do?
Oh, and now that “Nina Needs to Go” is on the air? Gosh, mommy won’t it be absolutely the best thing in the world EVER for me to wait to go until the last possible second to tell you I need to go and then expect you to perform all sorts of acrobatics and high jinx a la Nina’s grandmother to get me to the potty in time? Won’t it? Won’t it?
Guess what again, Disney? It won’t. It really, really won’t.
So, please Disney and Disney Pixar, please, for the love of the CDC, stop including “cute” little scenes like these in your movies and animation shorts. I am already trying to figure out how to help my son, um, clean up while dodging the stuff that shoots up when I accidentally trigger the autoflush function. It’s too much. On behalf of myself and mothers of toddlers and preschools everywhere, might I suggest a nice scene in your next film where the main character thoroughly washes his or her hands/flippers/tires and doesn’t touch ANYTHING until they get home? Or maybe a sidekick who thinks about putting that toy they just dropped on the bathroom floor in their mouth and then decides that would be disgusting and then maybe he just chucks the toy in the trash can on the way out? Just a thought. I would pay $8 a ticket to see that.
April Lollar, mother of one and rotavirus activist