My child was a big drooler. I kept an extra shirt in my purse until about 3 months ago. And she’s 3 1/2. When I realized that the same shirt had been in my purse for about 6 weeks and was covered in lint and other bottom-of-purse debris, I switched it out for an extra pair of pants because we were in the midst of potty training by that point. Those same pants remained for several months and I eventually took them out during one of my intensive purse-cleaning sessions. That move may have been slightly premature…
We went to the park on Sunday. And I would like to make a confession here: I do not enjoy going to the park. I really and truly would like to be a mother who enjoys the park but I am not. Parks are full of germs, weird kids (and even weirder parents), pot-smoking teenagers and wood chips. I hate wood chips. They stick to my clothes, they get into my flip-flops and they seem an ideal environment to step on an uncapped hypodermic syringe. Hate ’em. So I try to avoid trips to the park. But sometimes (while high on coffee) I say, “Maybe we’ll go to the park later!” And because elephants and 3-year olds never forget, I find myself, several hours later, picking wood chips off of my sweater while I sniff the air and scan the bushes for the teenager with the 7-Up can pipe. The trip always ends in tears or injury (or both) and I always leave saying, “Never again…”
But on Sunday we did go to the park. And here’s how it went down: It was sunny when we arrived but became cloudy and frigidly cold within moments of our arrival. A foreshadowing of what was to come? Perhaps. My daughter went down the slide about 87 times and then some really strange, older boys arrived on the scene. I tried to get her interested in the swings but she was interested in the strange, older boys. Great. I watched her like a hawk as she went up the ladder and down the slide and then suddenly she stopped. Right as the words, “Oh, no! I’m goin’ pee-pee!” were coming out of her mouth, I saw the horseshoe of urine darkening her pants. Damn! I removed her from the play structure and brought her into the creepy, concrete bathroom. It was then that I remembered my reckless decision to remove the spare pants from my purse. Oh, well. I’ll just carry her, naked-bottomed, to the car. I’ll crank the heat, put my jacket on her lap and get her home. Oh, no, no, no. The pants were removed and then she took off like a shot for the play structure. Apparently she thought she might be able to continue playing, sans pants. And she stuck to her naked guns on this for quite some time. I had to drag her out of the park, kicking and screaming, past the weird kids and a very disturbing Vietnam vet who materialized out of the bushes to see what the fuss was about. Once I got her into the car I tried to explain that it wasn’t anybody’s fault and that it was really too bad but that she didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and we needed to leave. Through huge sobs and gasping for air she managed, “But I was really close to making it in time and I want to play for 5 more minutes!” I wanted very, very badly to say, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, Kid.” But I didn’t think it would help the situation very much so I resisted the urge.
So once again, spare pants are collecting lint on the bottom of my purse and once again, I am swearing off of parks. Like the plague that I know them to be.