Thursday, August 13, 2009

Not my #1 parenting moment

From my vantage point on the shady park bench I noticed the unmistakable half-squat stance indicating that Madelyn needed to use the bathroom. My eyes scanned one end of the park to the other and noticed no free-standing restroom facilities. In small, neighborhood parks where we might be the only family present, I haven't hesitated to take Madelyn nonchalantly beside a tree or large rock and allow her to relieve herself as nature intended. Sometimes I even bring our tiny portable IKEA potty seat when I know there won't be a bathroom at a park. But I hadn't brought that seat today, and we happened to be at this large city park to check out a summer youth program, meaning we were not the only people here by a long shot.

My daughter has developed respectable bladder control in her 8 months of being potty trained, so I wasn't especially worried about an accident. I approached one of the volunteers in the craft area to inquire of the whereabouts of the nearest restroom. Through various hand gestures and descriptive directions, I realized we'd be hiking to the library at the end of the field and across a parking lot. I turned to gather up Madelyn and her friend who I was babysitting, and noticed that Madelyn was now modeling a full-squat variation on the pee-pee dance.

Because she was facing me, a moment passed before I realized that Madelyn's pants were around her ankles; her squat not intended for orifice constriction, but release.

"Crap," I thought as I raced beside her, scanning the area for parents' eyes wide with shock and disdain. Kneeling in front of her, I urgently and firmly told Madelyn that we need to go pee in toilets and not on the ground, hearing the words laden with the weight of hypocrisy. While practically rolling my eyes at myself for creating such ridiculous confusion, I quickly leaned over her backside for a status evaluation. Scrutinizing the damp ground, no definite puddle was recognizable--perhaps I wasn't too late and could pull up her pants and whisk her to the socially appropriate facility.

I suddenly realized why there was no puddle, and the reality of the situation suddenly struck me. That was no pee-pee dance. It was a poo-poo dance. I've never facilitated a #2 outside, so I was surprised that she would drop her pants to do so right in the middle of a crowded park. But sometimes you just gotta go, and she knows she shouldn't do it in her pants.

This situation held the potential to be high on my embarrassment scale, so I swiftly helped Madelyn down onto her bum in the grass. My glimpse was enough to establish full awareness that we were past the point of no return, but I hoped to at least cover our shame until a reasonable solution could be determined. As far as unexpected ghastly disasters go, I was relatively prepared. From inside my purse I retrieved the small Ziploc bag that I'd stuffed all of our snack trash into. I attempted to use this little baggie in the way I would scoop dog poop to
pick up the two brown turds on the grass between Madelyn's legs. But my foolish attempt to keep the trash contained as well as scoop poop backfired and, well, let's just say it wasn't the most sanitary of methods. I also happened to have a few hand wipes in my purse, which not only rescued my fingers, but also worked nicely as bum wipes in a pinch. Hopefully anybody who noticed me wiping my daughter's cute little crack didn't put "two and two" together.

I tried to look casual dropping my bag of poop in the trash can. Nobody in the vicinity appeared the least bit concerned with what had just transpired, and as I furtively examined nearby faces, I grew more confident that the debacle had gone unnoticed. Of course there may have been some very understanding mothers who simply turned away to allow me to b
e mortified in peace while they simply chuckled on the inside. That's what I would have done as a witness, anyway.

I let the oblivious little girls under my care play for just a few minutes longer. When the thought of being without hand sanitizer became too much to bear, we all hurried to the car where retrieving it from its handy place in the glove compartment became first priority.

How far did you read before appreciating the pun in the title?


Bridget said...

Personally, if I had seen this, I would have thought "no big deal," or even been impressed with Madelyn's ability to follow her urges, as it were. I think it's good when kids are in touch with their body's needs. That doesn't mean they need to poo in the park all the time but once or twice surely won't hurt :).

(Also, PS, this probably won't be the last time this happens. Miriam has just up and peed in the lawn a few times in recent months. Oh joy.)

Laura AC said...

ok, THAT laugh was just a bonus!


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