Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We Are Not Heathens
I love this photo. Every time I see it, I will be reminded of the first time I pushed my son on a swing, and of the time I tried to teach my daughter to go potty outside, and of the first time I have ever ran across a park with a baby and pee-soaked panties and shorts in one hand, baby carrier in the other, next to a four year-old girl, naked from the waist down, except for sandals.
"Daddy, I have to pee."
"Okay, let's go."
The bathroom at this park is among my favorites. It is huge and always clean- as bathrooms go, this is a safe one in which to set down baby in his carrier and a pleasant enough place to stand around and wait for a kid to go potty. We were going to be the only people in there; the park was empty but for us.
"Oh, nothing. How bad do you have to go? The bathroom is locked."
"I don't have to go."
This didn't surprise me. She always wants to go to the bathroom when we're in public. She is something of a bathroom critic. She loves to check them out and, if we are alone, direct me where to stand, what to do, what NOT to touch, and, if neccessary, what not to smell. "Okay, daddy, put baby brother there. You stand here. Don't touch that daddy potty. It's dirty. I'm going in that room. You wait, okay daddy? It's stinky in here, close your nose."
"Are you sure? We could run home, go potty, and come right back to the park."
"I don't have to go."
Ten minutes later, the pee-pee shuffle is impossible to miss. We are not going to make it home. Okay, think fast dad. We're alone. There are good trees here for her to lean against. And, it doesn't matter anyway. She is going to pee. And soon.
"Okay, here's what we're going to do. We're going to go potty outside! Won't that be fun!"
"Yes. Well, sort of. Over by that tree."
"I love that tree, daddy!"
"I know you do sweetie. That's perfect."
"Now. Here's what you do. Pull down your shorts. And bend down. I'll hold your shoulders. Okay, bend your knees. No! More! Bend your knees more. MORE! Uh oh. Well it's okay, honey. We'll practice more, on our neighbors deck. Allright, well, let's go home and change. Pull up your shorts, honey."
"No, daddy. They're all wet. Eew, my shoes are wet, too."
"Yeah, I see that."
I could probably get her to pull those shorts up. But it'll be a fight. Will someone show up before I win it? The park is empty now. I think we could make the truck.
"Fine. We're going to run to the truck. Put on your shoes, at least."
"NO. They're all wet."
"Honey, here, give me your panties and shorts. Thank you. Now, Put...on...your...shoes. Put...on...your...shoes. PUT...on...your...shoes. We Morgans are not heathens!"
Now, as we ran across the park, were my gym shorts, pockets weighed down with keys and wallet and phone and hands too full to pull them up, creeping towards the ground with every step? Boy that would be a memory.