Sometimes I take the kids to a local elementary school playground to play after work. They like the different play structures, and it’s slightly closer than the park, good for just a quick trip after dinner.
The unfortunate thing is there are no restrooms after hours.
Combine that with a camping trip last year — and the new au naturel experiences one has while camping … and you can see where this is about to go horribly wrong. One time (at band camp), Jack had to go potty … and I was like, ugh, just go over there, nobody is here, we just got here, I don’t want to deal with the toddler meltdown so the preschooler can go … .
Look, it wasn’t my finest parenting moment, but encouraging public urination also is not my worst. It was one time, I told myself. No big deal. Plus it reminded me of our wedding, when Philip’s nephew Kevin, who was about 3, just went and pulled his pants down and peed on a tree at McKennan Park right after the ceremony. It still makes me laugh when I think about it.
Back to now …
So on Friday, I had taken the kids to the school playground. Jack told me he had to go, and before I could think twice, he ran over to the edge of the parking area. Then he climbed a retaining wall, stood against the sunset … and dropped his pants.
Put his hands on his back.
And I watched a golden arc of pee glisten in the setting sun.
He was so proud.
I was so horrified.
My daughter was so jealous, she ran over and started pulling her own pants down. This was the first of many lessons, I’m sure, in how boys and girls are just different.
That was the end of our little playground trip, and the walk home was full of talking about how yes, sometimes you pee outside, but usually that’s just when you are camping or that ONE time I let you do that there.
Fast forward to Sunday. We’re on a family bike ride — Jack riding his bike, me pulling Viv in the Burley. It was glorious. We stopped at a park for snacks and playing.
And then, of course, the juice boxes took their toll and Jack and Viv had to go potty. This particular playground has potties that are inconvenient to the bike path (but great if you’re on the ballfields).
As we trekked to them, me carrying Viv and Jack trailing behind, I hear him say, “I’m going to go in the grass.”
I thought he just meant walk in the grass.
Not, you know, GO in the grass.
But I turn and see him.
Pants down, about to let it all hang out.
But this time in front of an entire picnic table of young parents.
I got to him just before he let it go, and hustled him to the bathroom.
Thankfully, they were understanding parents. The entire group was doubled over laughing, and one mom yelled, “Don’t worry, we ALL raised boys.”
I know it’s wrong, and probably gross, but man, every time I think about Jack proudly peeing that evening, I can’t stop laughing. It reminds of a story my mom tells about my sister Kim, who marched into a neighbor’s driveway as a toddler, wearing only a diaper and high heels, and whipped her diaper off and pooped in their driveway.
I wasn’t even born for that, and it makes me laugh.
If you’re horrified, here are some fun photos of our weekend to make you happy.