poor sparrow (age 3 1/2) had the oddest experience yesterday, the kind that could stick in your memory and make you fearful of certain places/ people.
we were at stowe grove park around lunch time, when sparrow told me that she had to go #2. there is only a port-a-potty there, so i was hoping she could wait til we got home, but she had to go SO badly that she had to sit down in the sand while i went off to fetch her shoes across the playground. we had to remove her puffy princess dress before we went in, too, as i did not want potty germs smearing themselves on that mass of fabric... i left her dress outside on the bike rack.
the port-a-potty was out of seat covers, of course, but there was no way i could hold her hovering over the seat for that long, so she had to sit down on the seat. i had her hold on to me, though, instead of grabbing the seat with her hands, as there was no soap/water to wash with after. there we sat in that potty for AGES! it was a bountiful load, it kept on coming!
i stood there and listened to the sounds outside. birds chirping, golden playing with thomas, etc. then some new people were arriving at the park. i could hear talking, firm footsteps, and a strange shouting. i was wondering what these newcomers would think of the dress outside, when all of a sudden, someone tried the door. it was locked, but the door was RIPPED open, and there stood a very tall, red-haired, red-moustached man with a horrible, scary, angry expression on his face! he was shocked/disappointed to see us, made a disappointed sound, and then made the most horrifying angry grunt/shout as he SLAMMED the door back shut and proceeded to grunt and shout irately and unintelligibly outside the potty. he would not stop! i reached over and slid the lock back in place, realizing this was not a normally developed person. a woman's voice from outside said "sorry," and i tried to say "that's ok," but the damage was done. when i looked down at sparrow she was weeping in utter fear. i wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, but it was hard trying to calm her down enough to get her to respond to my question of "are you all done?" i had to soothe her by telling her it was just an accident and that he just needed to go to the bathroom really bad. "it's alright. mommy's here. daddy's here. he didn't know you were in here." meanwhile the scary sounds kept coming from outside. finally she was able to tell me she was done, and we quickly finished. but by the time we emerged, the group had decided to go to the restrooms across the other side of the park, and were walking away at quite a distance now. i wished sparrow could have gotten a bit more closure. thomas wished so too, and took her to follow them, so that she could say hi at least, and i think he wanted to talk to the care giver too, to see if she could not have prevented her charge from ripping open a public restroom door... but they were already too far away for them to catch up easily. we talked about it with sparrow a little more, telling her that that man was just a little boy inside that could not express himself and was mad only because he had to go potty so badly. we prayed. thankfully the group came walking by again, and we encouraged sparrow to say hello, which she did. none of them heard her, but i was proud of her chipper voice and attitude.
i really hope this does not traumatize her experience of port-a-potties for the rest of her life, or makes her fearful of strangers, alone times, or interacting in public. i know my own skittish imagination could have run wild with that when i was younger, and the fear could have haunted me for years. so far we have not referred to the occurrence again, nor has she, thankfully.
when i got home, i decided to wash her bottom before her nap, just in case. there were blue splatters from the port-a-potty liquid chemicals ALL over her bottom and legs. gross! which is worse, getting traumatized for life, or getting some weird disease from port-a-potty juice?