Or, otherwise entitled…
This may end up being a bit ranty (sorry!)
I’m feeling overwhelmingly anxious right now. I’ll probably share this with you in my next post. But for the purposes of maintaining a modicum of sanity, I’m feeling the need to write something to take my mind off that stuff, so please try and bear with me. This might get a bit ‘ranty’…it may be a bit funny too (that’s all subjective though)…but, as always, I’ll hopefully, eventually, get to the point.
(Warning for the squeamish/easily offended: this post discusses poo)
So, if you’re not squeamish or easily offended, get comfy, here goes…
We love going to the seaside and a few weeks ago we had some sunshine – yippee! – so we packed up the car and set off for the beach.
On arrival, we decided to make an impromptu visit to our favourite hotel for lunch…a treat…and, whilst it’s a bit posh and we usually rock up looking like the Beverley Hillbillies, the staff are always very accommodating and the food is scrumptious. Oh, and a big bonus is they have an EXTREMELY clean disabled loo…AND Molton Brown hand cream!
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
(Well, when I say ‘disabled loo’, it’s not got a changing place or similar, but at least the floor is immaculately clean for a nappy change…with no risk of Hannah or I catching anything dodgy!).
Anyway, we had a really lovely lunch and I was SO proud of Hannah sitting in a ‘grown up’ chair to eat whilst not making attempts to push herself backwards/launch herself off it or throw food on the floor *sigh*.
Lunch done, tummy’s full, it was time for a mooch on the beach.
However, shortly after leaving the hotel, I could’ve kicked myself.
“Oh, flippin’ ‘eck! I probably should’ve checked Hannah’s nappy whilst we were in there” I said to her daddy.
But whilst the hotel staff wouldn’t have minded, I didn’t feel I could’ve gone back in. I KNOW! stupid, huh?
So, next stop was a visit to the public loos and the only one we knew in the area with a disabled one.
So, off we trotted.
(…and here’s where you need to use your imagination…apologies…this may get a bit graphic!)
Imagine about five or six vacant outdoor public loos in a row, all unisex, but only one marked ‘Disabled’. We needed the one with space (the disabled one) so we could get Hannah and her special buggy in there.
Other than the three of us, there was no-one around at this point. So we stood facing the disabled loo and I mooched around in Hannah’s changing bag for the RADAR key.
The RADAR scheme (according to the internet) was designed to aid access to suitable toilet facilities for disabled people. The aim of the key being to prevent damage and misuse – as apparently people were using disabled toilets to use drugs….or engage in a bit of *coughs* rumpy-pumpy.
Whilst I rustled around the paraphernalia in Hannah’s bag, a lady approached and entered one of the regular toilets.
…then Sharon (29) arrived with her two son’s Josh (7) and Ben (5).
(Granted, I’ve absolutely no idea what Sharon was actually called or everyone’s ages…that’s just a guesstimate…but we’ll leave it at that just for ease of reading and assume the rest)
Sharon proceeds to open the disabled loo with ease. There was no RADAR key required, apparently. The thing was open all along!
Doh! *slaps forehead*
Seemingly, someone had left the lock locked and closed the door on exiting, so it didn’t shut and lock (if that makes sense).
…and hereby follows the narrative…
“Ben, you stand there” said Sharon firmly, gesturing to a spot outside the disabled loo. “I’ll stand here, Josh. Go on, have a wee” She said, ushering Josh inside and holding the door ajar so she could watch over both kids.
Now, before anyone even THINKS about jumping on the keyboard trying to tell me off, I am NOT employed by ‘The Disabled Loo Police’. Furthermore, I know there are thousands of people out there with invisible disabilities who’re just as entitled to use the disabled loo as Hannah is. It’s dead easy to make an assumption…however, in this instance, Josh, thankfully, wasn’t really in need of any disabled facilities.
Sharon couldn’t see us standing there. It appears we must’ve been wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak that day!
It’s my own fault. I should’ve drawn that RADAR key out as swift as a cowboy (or girl!) drawing a gun out of its holster instead of faffing about.
I snoozed, I losed!
Despite us standing right in front of the disabled toilet, Sharon was in that loo as quick as a rat up a drain pipe.
So, I did a bit of an internal sigh, smiled wearily at Hannah’s daddy and placated Hannah whilst we waited.
“Come on, Josh. Have a wee” said Sharon sternly.
Remember the lady who entered the non-disabled loo’s on our arrival? Well, at this point she exited and, holding the door open, asked whether we wanted to use that one. How kind.
“No. Thanks ever so much, though. We need the disabled one” I said.
We smiled at each other and she went on her way.
“You should’ve said!” Said Sharon, who was now looking in our direction.
Luckily, I was in a relatively good mood….so I just said…
“Oh” (feeble, I know)
“Come on Josh, someone needs the toilet” Sharon hastily urged – now looking a bit flushed after FINALLY grasping why we were stood RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DISABLED TOILET.
“I think I need a poo, mummy” said Josh, his little voice resonating from within.
(“Oh JUST great”)
“Sorry” said Sharon looking at me “He needs a poo”.
(No shit, Sherlock! – now, excusez mon francais here…and attempts at a pun…however, I couldn’t help but hear Josh, plus Sharon was entering into the type of running commentary that I REALLY didn’t desire!)
I did another silent sigh in my head, gave a half-hearted, semi-understanding ‘mummy smile’ at Sharon and said “Well, it’d be rude not to”.
It’d be rude not to? IT’D BE RUDE NOT TO? WHAT WAS I SAYING?!!!
Seconds passed. “COME ON, JOSH” said an increasingly irritable and tutty Sharon, whilst trying to put on her best ‘I’m out in public so I’d better not speak to my kids the way I do at home’ mums tone.
“It won’t come out” whimpered poor, constipated Josh.
“Well, just pull your pants up then!” said a tetchy Sharon.
“Oh, it’s coming now” said Josh.
“Have you done?” asked Sharon
“No, there’s more coming” Josh said.
“Sorry” said Sharon, looking more and more embarrassed as the clock ticked.
(No! Stop right there Sharon! Don’t tell me “there’s more coming”. I heard him. Kill me. Kill me now. Just chuck me in the sea and let’s have done with it! Thought I)
“Done it!” Said a jubilant Josh
(Thank you, God!)
We were then subjected to the running commentary inside the toilet whilst Sharon did what mothers (and fathers) need to do ‘post dump’. I’ve put you through enough already, I’ll spare you that. You’re welcome.
Sharon, head down, then ushered her children away, without giving me eye contact, a leave or goodbye.
…and we were then left to enter the gates of hell (i.e. the disabled lavatory).
It was filthy (understatement). The floor was wet through and, by this stage, even more malodorous than prior to little Josh’s visitation.
There was absolutely NO WAY I was lying Hannah down on a floor like that. So, Hannah’s daddy and I (whilst trying to hold our breath) utilised our creativity and did a bit of shimmying and dangling of our precious (and wiggly) child in order to sort the nappy situation out.
Job done and we were outta there. Pronto!
So, let’s rewind a little. According to Sharon, I should’ve said.
But what should I have said, then?
Wasn’t this child, sat in her massive special needs buggy, intermittently chewing on her hand and singing something completely unrecognisable, enough of a giveaway that we may’ve needed to use a disabled loo? That this kid had pretty obvious significant additional needs? That maybe, just maybe, given we were standing right in front of the door, we may’ve needed TO USE THE DISABLED TOILET?
We weren’t stood there just for the fun of it! We weren’t out for a jolly, going disabled toilet spotting!
There are enough plonkers in this world who, when approached, (no matter how civil you are) would fly off the handle. Who could potentially be aggressive – verbally or physically or both.
I’d never met Sharon before, so how was I to know how she’d react if I’d said something? and whilst I’ve managed some pretty tricky situations in my past, I really don’t want to have to do so whilst Hannah’s present…although, if pushed, I would!
Life’s challenging enough as it is. It’s by FAR more challenging when you have a child with additional needs. Trust me on that! So, should I really have needed to say anything? Really?
…but in the grand scheme of things, whilst I wasn’t particularly enamoured at listening to the running commentary of Josh’s bowels, it wasn’t a big deal. We weren’t in a rush. It wasn’t raining. Seemingly, Sharon was in a rush though. Sharon was having a nice day out at the seaside. We were just loitering around the toilets!
Sharon’s “you should’ve said” comment DOESN’T excuse ignorance and this happens in numerous situations which we and, I’m sure, countless other families may face on a daily/weekly basis.
…People SO wrapped up in their own little worlds, that they can’t be bothered to see the bigger picture. They seemingly possess no foresight. People in so much of a rush that nothing and no-one else matters.
And it seems to me that disabled signs, whether in parking bays or on doors or wherever are becoming increasingly pointless. So perhaps we should get rid of them all and have done with it?
Oh, there are some incredibly kind, thoughtful people out there, don’t get me wrong on that. But it’d be REALLY lovely if more people were just that little bit more vigilant; If people gave more thought to their actions. If maybe more people walked through a door and checked behind them – just in case someone with a buggy or wheelchair or an older person or someone with limited mobility were following behind – so that door didn’t swing back on someone. It’d be great if people were more aware of their shopping baskets and how they could easily clonk a child in the face whilst sat in their pram or little wheelchair. It’d be absolutely AMAZING if those people who go to collect kids from schools DIDN’T PARK IN THE SODDING DISABLED BAYS DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAMNED DAY!!!!!!!!!!! – even if it’s just for a few minutes…because someone MIGHT ACTUALLY NEED to use that bay.
They REALLY ought to consider themselves INCREDIBLY lucky that they, or their children or grandchildren, DON’T ACTUALLY qualify to use those bays….OR ACTUALLY NEED to use those disabled toilets.
Should we (parents of kids with disabilities or, indeed, adults with disabilities) need to say something? To everyone? Repeatedly?
It seems so.
But I’m not going to. I have enough to deal with.
Maybe, just to appease or enlighten the Sharon’s of this world though, I should have something tattooed on my forehead instead. Maybe I should walk around carrying a great big whopping placard when I’m out with Hannah…or even a megaphone…or, yeah, maybe I should go the whole hog and just do the lot! Why not, eh?
I think there’s a learning curve in many situations. In this instance, I have learned that, in future, should I ever forget to check Hannah’s nappy, I will not think twice about returning to the hotel restaurant and using their swanky, clean, fresh-smelling, disabled toilet!
…Oh, and here’s a tiny piece of advice for the Sharon’s (and Shane’s) of this world too…maybe TRY and think (I know it must be hard) before using a disabled toilet or a parking bay or anywhere else with a disabled sign on it – even if you’re only using it for a few minutes. If you don’t use them, then you won’t need to feel embarrassed (that is, assuming you possessed a conscience!) if families just like ours turn up. It’s kinda simple, really. Just a thought!
Right, mini-rant over, methinks.
So, my lovelies, you’ll probably be relieved to know that’s all for now.
Sorry it all got a bit ranty…and longwinded. It did me the world of good though! 🙂
Thanks, as always, for stopping by
Until next time