There was a time in my life when I thought all these automatic inventions in public restrooms were fancy and sanitary. I loved that you didn't have to touch those germy surfaces and I proudly watched my skin get blown around under the excel-dryer in awe at our clean society.
Now I'd like to have the designers of these contraptions, the people who decided to purchase them, the workers who installed them, and the visitors using them thrown in a jail cell where they are forced to listen to loud, overwhelming bouts of noise sent at random intervals while they are peed on by a young, screaming child. This especially applies to the people who decide to use the dryer right as my sensitive two year old in potty training daughter sits on the potty. The sudden sound of a hand dryer/helicopter about to bomb our bathroom stall causes her to jump mid-stream, which in turn triggers the automatic flush, resulting in a screeching two year old holding onto the infested public toilet for dear life, and tinkling everywhere.
There is nothing clean about those automatic gadgets. They inspire far more touching of surroundings and scaring the pee out of my daughter than they keep anyone clean. The urine soaked floor at the fancy new rest stop? Yep, that was us. Just be glad we made it to the stall.
Then there is when I am actually trying to take my turn and the auto hand dryers/death machines start. The panic causes her to race for the stall door and open it, exposing me to the general hand drying public.
As I carry a damp, urine and tear streaked child out of the restroom, avoiding the judgemental eyes of childless twenty-somethings on their way to their relaxing beach vacay I can't help but think of the parents of my students. My daughter is sensitive to the noise, but not nearly as sensitive as students I've taught in the past with autism. I can't imagine the horror those parents go through in trying to cajole their child into the sensory hell of a public restroom.
There is so much in our everyday life we take for granted. Things that don't over stimulate us, overwhelm us, or make meeting our daily needs a challenge. We're lucky to be neuro-typical and to be able to effortlessly use a bathroom, go to a movie theater, a grocery store, a fast food restaurant without putting our senses into chaos.
So, from one urine splattered mother to another I give you a virtual hug. Not everyone can understand how hard it is. And don't worry- those childless twenty somethings rolling their eyes at the puddle on the floor will have their day too.
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