Lateral thinking

So I was in a public restroom, on the toilet, and I hear a man and a kid walk in. The kid is a chatterbox, talking a mile a minute, simple words but forming complete sentences, amply coherent. They’re talking about aunt so-and-so, going to her house, hanging out with the cousins, mundane stuff. Just a man taking his son to the toilet… until I realize they’re not using a toilet.

I’m in the first stall with the disabled stall to the right and urinals to the left. They’re not in either of those places. Their voices are coming from more or less straight ahead on the other side of the door. Could be at the sinks except the water hasn’t been running. Only remaining spot is the diaper changing station. Sure enough, I peek through the door gap, and the changing table is down. Okay, so he’s changing his son’s diaper, but now I’m wondering: how old is this kid?

Man in restroom with chatty son, I assume he’s helping him with the toilet, but instead he’s changing his diaper. I know kids mature at different ages and not everything develops at the same pace, but this kid is forming full sentences, speaking coherently. How could he still be in diapers?

I think back to my own childhood. My memories go back as far as two years old. I remember messing myself, but not being in diapers or being changed on a table. Maybe this kid was just changing shorts, but why couldn’t he do that on his own, and why does nothing in their conversation hint at that? Maybe the kid is disabled, and this was just routine for them, not noteworthy in anyway? Or maybe the kid is a really smart baby whose language faculties are way ahead of everything else?

I’m running through all these theories in my head while I finish up in the stall, getting a little excited for my brainiac baby idea. I don’t recall having ever been this interested in seeing what’s on the other side of a toilet stall door (at least in a positive way). It’s like this big mystery just cropped up in front of me. I know it was just a guy changing his son’s diaper, but when you have only some pieces of a puzzle and they don’t fit together, a mundane situation becomes intriguing.

I pull open the door for the big reveal. There, as expected, was the man changing his kid’s diaper. Less expected was his other child standing isolated in a corner by the sinks talking to him. Oh, and she was a girl (possibly the baby was too; I didn’t look to check). Lateral thinking.

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