Lest the other contributors to this blog raise the intellectual and cultural standards too high, I offer the following:
On our recent airport adventure, it became all too clear that the 3 yr. old needed to take care of some serious business before boarding the next flight. His fearless father set off with him in search of the necessary facilities.
Let it be duly noted that this child has previously encountered, and intensely disliked, automatic-flush toilets. (Really, who can blame him?)
Here's what transpired, as reported to me when they finally reappeared, exhausted but triumphant, 20 minutes later:
Dad: OK, time to go the bathroom before we get on the plane.
3 yr. old(noting the red, blinking "evil eye" and backing out of the stall): No No NOOOOOOO!
Dad: (Producing coveted, sugary snack food) Look, you get a special treat today for using this bathroom.
3 (completely uncharacteristically): NO! I don't want a special treat!
Dad: If you don't go now, your stomach might hurt.
3: I WANT my stomach to hurt!
Dad: Well, if you don't go now, you might go in your underwear. You really wouldn't like that.
3: I WANT to poop in my underwear!
Dad (checking his watch and getting desperate): Well, I might have to spank you if you don't get on that toilet!
3: I WANT YOU TO SPANK ME!!
(Meanwhile, due to all the frantic motion, the toilet is flushing repeatedly and furiously, adding to the panic.)
Now, what we parents all know but try desperately to keep from our children for as long as possible is that we really have limited options when it comes to achieving compliance from them. We've got bribes/rewards and threats/discipline. When those fail, we're kind of left out to dry. (I know, there's this whole "shepherding your child's heart" thing, but I have yet to figure out exactly how that applies to airport bathroom phobias).
So Dad moved on to the option 3: brute force, applied as reassuringly as possible, of course. He somehow managed to hold 40+ lbs of preschooler on the toilet while covering that red evil flushing eye with the other, and, peristalsis being on his side, the battle was finally won just in time to board the plane.
Our return trip went much more smoothly, as Dad cleverly packed duct tape to cover the sensor.
Moral of the story: Don't leave home without duct tape.
Rebekah blogs Bach; I blog bathrooms. Huh.