Two, Maybe Three, Questions



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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50 Responses

  1. Avatar Boegiboe says:

    I’ll answer 3 as the answer to all three questions: Definitely no gap. The reason for taking her in with you, assuming she doesn’t need to go (but they always do), is because she wouldn’t be safe alone outside the restroom. As soon as she’d be safe outside alone, she can stay outside if she wants to. My daughter isn’t old enough to stay outside alone, yet, in most cases. Still, some situations look safe enough (local restaurant we frequent, for example), so I ask if she wants to come in with me. Since she’s 4, she never wants me to leave her alone, so she always comes in with me anyway.Report

  2. Avatar Cascadian says:

    Wow, this is a tough one. I had such a problem with this. If I had to use the urinal, starting at about six, I’d have her stand someplace near the entrance where I could keep an eye or ear on her. It wasn’t until she was about eight that I loosened my safety standards to let her just stand outside the door. I’m a pretty protective parent so I imagine I’ll be on the late side of curve.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    I pretty much hate the idea of ‘gendered’ bathrooms. For reasons like this. Though not sharing a bath with men who pee all over the seat is nice, too. But truth be told, if you have a daughter and you know a men’s room is really, really skanky, I’d take her into the ladies room, announcing myself first. No open urinals in there.

    I’d prefer to see restrooms that are a stall/changing table, wash stand, perhaps a urinal to avoid that pee all over the seat. (Are you noticing how polite I’m being, DUDES? Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you.)

    Because there’s also the point where your son doesn’t want to use the ladies room, and you have to send him into the men’s room on his own. There’s a whole lot of points along the way where the standard hims and hers facilities don’t work, including the discrimination against women, who tend to take longer because they can’t just stand there and pee on the seat. . . or they need to tend to their hygene. . . so the lines for the facilities are always longer for ladies.

    Not to mention the troubles and discomforts of those who transition.

    Gender-neutral facilities mean there’s a whole host of discomforts done away with.

    And awesome topic; something polite society should spend more time discussing.Report

    • Avatar Reformed Republican says:

      In men’s bathrooms with urinals, you do not usually get much pee on the seat.

      In women’s bathrooms, where they like to hover, it sprays all over.

      At least, that is how it went when I was cleaning bathrooms at the grocery store in my high school days.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Yes, gendered bathrooms are a problem.
      But women pee on the seat too (increasingly more so, apparently).
      Some lady killed herself squatting on the toilet (her feet on the seat).

      People need to learn what a toilet is for.
      (Men, if you’re going to pee someplace that isn’t the actual toilet, clean it up).

      Also, wash your hands!Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      Non-gendered washrooms (which my university has just moved to) are deeply aggravating; I much prefer for washrooms to be gendered. I don’t want to walk into a washroom and see a bunch of guys peeing. Now that they’re non-gendered, I can’t know which ones have the urinals in them.

      This is why having male, female, and family washrooms is a good way to manage things. Or male and female ones with a couple individual washrooms for anyone.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I often wonder about this, and will acknowledge that as a man I have to listen more than tell…

        But I’m curious about the objection to a non-gendered bathroom which is all stalls. Would this still be an issue for you, @katherinemw ? I mean, I never really think about who is in the stall next to me if/when I have occasion to use one. Besides immature silliness about girls farting (teehee!), I can’t imagine objecting. However, I can totally understand a woman being uncomfortable with having men in the room when they are in a vulnerable state, even if all parties are in lockable stalls.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I would say non-gendered should be all-stall, except that men have been so trained by urinals to not really care where it goes that it could basically be the end of the world for women, I imagine. I suppose there could be men’s stalls and womens’ stalls (perhaps as a suggestion that can be disregarded at high-volume times), but at some point are we just going to a de facto more complicated system in the name of simplifying?

        Not to minimize the what-do-I-do-with-my-daughter problem at all. That’s absolutely dicey (I say being fully childless at 35). Maybe the family restroom (i.e. locked for one family at a time) in addition to men’s & women’s rooms needs to become standard, fast.

        BTW, is this a problem at all for moms out alone with their sons? Is there just no side-eye issue taking them in the ladies’ room? Less of a judgement issue leaving them outside or sending them in the men’s room alone at younger ages? Or are moms just more practiced at holding it? What’s the flip-side like, moms?Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Not being a mom, I will say that there is significantly less public nudity within a women’s restroom. let the boy stand just outside your stall.

        Also, sexism in gendering predators ensures that people will assume that if there is a small boy running about the women’s restroom, that the nice ladies will help him find his mum.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I definitely share that sense about what the nice ladies in the ladies room are likely to do (which is totally unfounded), and I get that people don’t think the same thing about the louts in the men’s room, but I’m honestly not clear what they do think they’re likely to do. Maybe they don’t; they just don’t like to think about it at all.

        Good point about the partial nudity, though. It’s partial, but it’s the part that counts. That’s a real difference.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Also, Mike, there’s a whole lot of pee on women’s seats.
        There have been documented cases of rashes.
        (Yes, yes, I know someone who does bloody everything.
        This research wasn’t for the CDC, I don’t believe.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        My anecdotal experience tells me it is the presumed-too-old boy in the ladis room who sometimes gets a side-eyed glance. But I’m sure some women might get some grief, but I’d be shocked if it even approaches what men must deal with.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        Kazzy – I still prefer gendered washrooms. You hear a lot about guys’ washrooms being disgusting, and most of the women’s washrooms I’ve been in have been decently clean. And it would still be uncomfortable, though removing the urinals would make it less so. And I think removing urinals entirely would be inconvenient for guys who prefer to have them, and create longer lines for everyone. So why not just stick with what works, and provide family or individual washrooms to get around the issues of parents with kids?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Thanks, @katherinemw

        I think the status quo plus more family restrooms is likely the ideal. Not necessarily because we shouldn’t let men take their daughters into men’s rooms… Just because a family has needs that aren’t often met in a traditional gendered bathroom. I’ve heard of diversity conferences that challenged the sex binary (a laudible goal) by going with neutral bathrooms, but wondered what issues this risked creating. You outlined some quite well here.

        Re: family bathrooms… I’ve been to at least one establishment that had a diaper station in the woman’s bathroom but not the men’s. Had I been alone with Mayo there, I would have found the place they woud have least liked me to change him and done it there.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        My undergrad had ungendered washrooms in the dorms. I think the parents were more upset about this than the students.Report

      • Avatar Miss Mary says:

        I have never appreciated sharing the restroom in my own home with my significant other (close the door!), much less using the toilet next to a strange man. Gendered restrooms or not, can I just have two minutes of privacy please!!! I share the world the world with people all day long; I would just request that I have the restroom to myself.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Just to be clear here: my vision of non-gendered rest rooms is not a row of stalls. It’s a row of rooms with doors. Stalls are not cool to relaxing to do one’s business. Now I’m not particularly shy that way, I actually lived in a place and era as a child where people still used two and three hole outhouses. But many people are, and for some, it’s actually a health issue.

      Having run a coffee shop with only one restroom, I do find that rest rooms that are for both sexes tend to be better respected, on the cleanliness front, than rest rooms that are gendered. Women are better at taking care of the trash they generate, men more respectful of their aim.

      And yes, the hovering lady is a problem, too.

      And Kazzy, I totally agree with the problem father’s face when they’re out with their children. Some of the comments my husband got while out with ours were outrageous; mostly the presumption that he was ‘giving the little woman a break,’ instead of out doing something he loved with his kids. And the bathroom bit is the hardest of all, particularly for fathers of daughters.

      Again, men need their own feminist movement. They need to be able to embrace these things called womanly proudly. Much of these problems root in this lack.Report

      • I tend to be very shy about (ahem) certain bathroom related things, and for me, the stall provides more anonymity than the one or two private rooms. With the private room, there’s always the possibility of someone knocking and me having to shout and admit I’m in there. With the stall, there’s almost never any confusion and there’s less guilt because 1) there’s another stall available or 2) if all the stalls are taken, the lack of availability is not my fault alone.

        I won’t go into any more details, but for me, it can in some circumstances be almost a health issue.

        A *row* of private rooms, however (which you suggested) might be a different matter.Report

  4. Avatar Reformed Republican says:

    1) When you are no longer comfortable with it.
    2) When you are comfortable with it, which may depend on the location.
    3) Try to avoid taking the daughter to places where 2 applies after 1 applies.Report

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    Americans are real prudes, aren’t they?
    A child should at minimum NEVER be left alone if they’re likely to wander off/get lost/get picked up by strangers (without protest).

    Say, um… 7-10? I’d say by the age of ten, you’ve reached the “probably wont break glass on head” stage.

    Standard America says that girls shouldn’t be exposed to penises (well, of the adult sort) past the age where they’ll remember them. So, um, 4.

    So, um, yeah, I’d say bring the kid in. If you must be prudish, make the kid face the wall.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      I was walking to school on my own by age seven (granted not a very long walk or across very busy streets). I can’t imagine not being thought able to wait near a washroom for a couple of minutes at that age.Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I should note I ask because after getting a strange look from a woman when I took my 5-month-old son into a private family restroom in his car seat, I wondered about the people who’d think I was a pervert when I take my 6-year-old daughter into the men’s room with me and the people who’d think I was an irresponsible lush when I leave my 8-year-old daughter outside the men’s room and how there is a weird gender aspect at play that seems to work against fathers and how awful that shit is.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I think the real problem is people /judge/.
      they don’t think “what else can he do??”
      they think “there she is, standing outside a men’s restroom. Bad Parent!”
      or “there she is, inside a men’s restroom. Bad Parent!”Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Just sounds like the woman was nuts Kazzy.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        That woman? Yes. But many people think just about anything a grown man does with children who aren’t tiny babies is weird and inappropriate.

        It sucks.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican says:

        As a single father, I just learned to do what was best for me and mine, and fish anyone who had an issue. Their problem, not mine.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Trouble is, nowadays, some folks won’t hesitate to call the cops on an unattended 8-year-old. Oi.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Kazzy speaks truth. These things can have consequences. Especially if you’re non-white, “trashy white”, male, and/or anything else that can lose you the benefit of the doubt.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @will-truman I’m on my phone so can’t access your link. It was shit like this that lead me to grow out my hair and beard. Little one looks so much like me I’ve never had an issue with “are you the dad”. But it worked out better to look intimidating enough that you discourage the bittys from hassling youReport

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @cascadian The link is a video of a separated father being badgered by the CPS for taking his kid to McDonald’s periodically and letting her drink Diet Coke, among other similarly egregious failings. He was charged with constitute neglect and his child removed, though he later prevailed.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I can’t help but doubt how often this kind of CPS over reach happens. Does it happen, obviously yes, but it seems more like a freaky outlier or that there is a ton more to the story.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican says:

        People will not get used to seeing guys doing things with their kids unless they see guys doing things with their kids. I figured I could either hide in fear, or try to make the world more like it should be. I wanted to live in a world where a kid can take his kid to the playground. I also helped other kids on the monkey bars and things like that, picking them up and everything. If their own parents were so worried about their kids, they should be there helping as well. Granted, I am a very conservative looking white male. That makes it safer for me.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican says:

        @cascadian I cannot see the link either. Was he being picked on at random, or was there an angry ex involved?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        RR: “Anonymous complaint.” (I’d guess from the ex.)

        Greg: They’re law enforcement, basically, except with a more vague mission and a lower standard of proof. No, I don’t think this sort of thing goes on all the time. As an upstanding married white guy with resources, I’m pretty safe. Go me. But as Sheila (my coblogger, a family services lawyer says) the way to deal with the CPS is to never, ever catch their notice.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Will- CPS reports are anonymous to protect the identity of the caller. They don’t want the person who reported the incident to face retaliation or not call out of fear. Does that lead to false reports: yes, but its probably the better option. It very well could have a been a nosy person or an ex. The problem is some nosy neighbors and bitter ex’s call about real abuse.

        Yes it is much better to avoid CPS notice, but that really doesn’t say much. Its better to avoid the cops notice also. I’ve had a ton of professional contact with a couple different CPS systems and i can assure you i’ve seen plenty of screw ups by them. Some of them were for being over zelous some for being way under zealousReport

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        “I wanted to live in a world where a kid can take his kid to the playground.”

        Well, I’d rather live in a world where kids don’t have kids, but I get your drift. :-p

        I actually think you make really valuable points here. As an early childhood educator, one of few males in the field, it is really frustrating. There has been research done on the dwindling numbers of males in early and elementary ed. What they find is that the stigma drives them away. So there are fewer men doing it. Feeding the stigma. Rinse and repeat. Self-perpetuating nonsense that does real harm to our children.

        Good on you for doing what you do/did.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Greg, I mentioned the fact that it was an anonymous caller to answer RR’s question. It seems logical that they should follow up on even anonymous calls. What happened to this dude was pretty uncalled for. I honestly don’t know how rare or common it is, though I don’t think it’s common-common.

        The CPS has a lot of the problematic incentives that a lot of agencies do. When something terrible happens to a kid that the CPS doesn’t remove from their home, everyone is angry and irate. Everybody blames the CPS. The CPS says they need more leeway to intervene. When a kid is needlessly taken from his parents and put into foster care, though, who notices? When a kid dies in foster care, we’re still unlikely to notice.

        All of which puts the incentives on the CPS doing as much as they can. I suspect that most of the time their intentions are good. As is the case with cops. And most people. And, you know, some people are just suspicious. Combine the incentives with that, as well as the vaguaries of the demonstration of harm, there are a lot of reasons to be concerned.

        I will say this, though: We’re not remotely as screwed up as Britain. That’s a worst-case scenario. All for the good of the children.Report

      • I can’t help but doubt how often this kind of CPS over reach happens. Does it happen, obviously yes, but it seems more like a freaky outlier or that there is a ton more to the story.

        Not to comment specifically on the CPS issue, but I have a very similar skepticism every time I hear a story of some police officer issuing a ticket to an 8-year old girl trying to run a lemonade stand. It probably happens, but doesn’t necessarily demolish the case for business licensing.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Will- I agree. The problem every CPS runs into is being driven by the most recent horror show. If that was an over reach than they are told to back off to the point where they don’t intervene when they should have and vice versa. I don’t know much about CPS in the UK. I read CPS records regularly,most of what i see here are pretty reasonable and defensible.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Greg, I don’t think the publicity runs symmetrically, which is a part of the problem. This is Do Something on steroids, because it involves children. We often hear about the cases where the CPS didn’t take a child away and I don’t think we hear about them when kids are needlessly taken away unless they die in Foster Care, in which case we are more likely to talk about the inadequacy of foster care resources than we are whether they should have been taken away to begin with. I don’t think the cycle of reaction really evens itself out.

        Even accepting that the abuse that took place in the above video is rare*, that they had the power to do this – and felt comfortable doing so – is quite alarming.

        I will grant that in large part because of Sheila, I am biased. And she’s in California, which I hear is among the more aggressive states. But I hear about these stories a lot, juxtaposed with demands that the CPS do more because a kid that was on the CPS’s radar died that might have been saved**.

        I dunno. I have a bias towards non-intervention. And a sensitivity towards giving governments the kind of sweeping authority that CPS agents (in California, at least) have. Any my usual thing about not letting ourselves become a worst case scenario like Britain.

        * – Which I assume it is, but then again would we even know about this – or believe the guy – if he hadn’t had a video camera that would have been illegal in some states?)

        ** – Which, given the particulars of the case in question, absolutely should have happened. But it’s not obvious cases like that where they spend most of their time. And a demand for greater inteventionism, I fear, leads towards cases not as obvious as that one getting pursued. Sort of, I guess, how people will argue that if we focus too much on cases of CPS abuse, we’ll let too many negligent parents off the hook.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        “Do Something on Steroids” Meh. Generic phrase is generic.
        I’m coming at this from a different place given i’ve worked in mental health/social service type jobs my entire career. CPS serves a vital function that only government can do. While many CPS’s screw up, and i’ve pondered where i could bury a CPS worker i was so angry with them, they do a job that is guaranteed to make people very unhappy. If there is a comparison to cops it is that if they do their job well they will still have at least one person and very likely an entire family pissed at them.

        I could go into stories but most people have no idea how many abused or neglected or abandoned kids are out there. The “do something” or “do gooder” lines always fall flat with me, even though they can be accurate, perceptive critiques, they also miss the boat largely on the jobs lots of social service workers do. To many of the critics don’t really have any experience in what they are criticizing. I’ve haven’t read your co-blogger and i don’t know much about the situation in cali so she certainly might have a valid view. She is of course also an advocate for one side which is a bias.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Greg, I’m not arguing that the CPS shouldn’t exist. The only question is how aggressive it should be. How bad should a situation have to be for them to get involved? How much should we let them investigate? How much should the judges take their word that a kid needs to be removed?

        Right now, the answer seems to be on a sliding scale depending in good part on how much resources the parent has. Which is a problem.

        Sometimes a phrase is used frequently enough to become irritating because a problem is, you know, real. Pointing to cases where the police failed to stop a crime when people point out cases where the police not only overstep but have the explicit power to do so, comes across as treating things these as roughly equivalent (“two sides of the same coin”) when they are not. This applies also to the CPS.

        Just as when someone criticizes the police they are not criticizing the existence of the police, I am not criticizing the existence of the CPS by wondering exactly how much authority we should give them. In California, at least, it’s a whole lot. And people are demanding more. Because kids are dying, and there is a natural impetus to do something, and if they die in foster care, at least we tried.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      That is one fancy car seat.Report

  7. Avatar Cascadian says:

    I’ve had a few run ins with mums of the past generation that thought they’d be able to give me the shit they gladly dish out to young moms. Guess they didn’t count on a dad that would get that in their face. The mom wars are brutall. I recommend loud profanity and shaming until they literally runReport

  8. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    Being a single mom of an almost four year old boy, he’s coming in with me as long as possible. You wouldn’t believe the crazy things he gets into when I take a shower at home. If I leave him alone in public while I use the restroom… I seriously believe I may be banned from the location for life. I kid, he’s a good boy. He’s just also a curious boy.Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    I can’t understand this question. We are all supposed to be moving to a new transgender status when sex is fluid, so how can this be an issue?Report