The Rookie Mistake

I now have a 3 year old.  This past Monday was her birthday, one she entered a bit reluctantly insisting she wasn’t going to be 3, she was staying 2.  When I told her the day before her birthday “Yay! Tomorrow is you’re birthday, you’re going to be 3!” She scowled at me and said “No, I’m going to be Evangeline.  I like 2, I’m not going to be 3.”  As a friend put it, if anybody could stop aging it would be her.

But yesterday she did in fact turn 3 and decided after chocolate cupcakes and a few presents maybe being 3 years old wasn’t so bad.

Three of Squiggle Bug’s favorite things are suckers, stickers and swinging.  Constantly asking to go to the playground there is little else she enjoys quite so much.  And so it was after a busy day of homeschooling, writing, working, house work, phone calls (including an interview in New Zealand) and other miscellaneous activities I decided to brave the Houston cold (hey, the high was only 46 and with wind chill 42, don’t make too much fun of me) and bundle us all up to play on the playground.  I thought of everything, fruit for snacks, a blanket to sit on, my knitting, warm cozy hats I made on everyone’s head, layers, the camera, etc.  Feeling successful at juggling all my different hats today I set out confident and ready to enjoy this time with my children.  We’d play in the cold, I’d knit and keep an eye on Smunchie and then we’d all come home for something hot to drink and soup and soup and homemade bread for dinner.  I was like freakin’ Caroline Ingals.

I felt proud of myself getting us all to the park even after dealing with drama about who was riding in the stroller or the Beco, what hat was on what head, and who got the purple water bottle.  It was cold for Houston but that didn’t stop us, we bounded energetically to the park collecting seed pods, leaves, interesting sticks and rocks along the way.  I had opted out of the Beco after drama had ensued so I was carrying Smunchie while Squiggle Bug road in the stroller.  Should have gotten the carrier.

Finding a patch of sun at the park I set about taking pictures of Smunchie as the big girls dashed off to climb the kiddie rock wall, hit the slides and swing.  Colder than I expected I figured we’d last maybe a half hour and I would knit with frozen fingers.

It was then that Squiggle Bug appeared by my side, eyes wide, her agitated feet dancing.

“Mommy, I need to go potty!”

Uh-oh.  We didn’t go before we left the house!  I should know better!  I’m experienced.  This was a rookie mistake!  (In my defense I haven’t had a 3YO in 5 years.)

“Mommy, I need to go potty NOW!”

Wildly I looked around.  No bathrooms at this park and no place to duck behind a bush to tinkle, it would take us at least 10 minutes to get home.  Dread filled my stomach.

“Can you hold it?” I asked her, already knowing the answer.

Twisting and turning, her feet pounding the ground as she ran in place, her hands clutching desperately to keep it all in, an anguished expression on her face she looked at me as although I had just spoken to her Russian.  There was no way she could hold it, she didn’t even understand the concept.  As though we were in fact speaking different languages she slowly and loudly expressed her desperation.


Behind me I heard some laughter and a quick glance back revealed lines of kids for school pick up at the elementary school that shared our park.  The first group of kids, all about 3rd grade were staring our direction, some laughing.  Lolie and The Storyteller were ducking behind some bushes, embarrassed by the unwanted attention at our situation and Smunchie was happily munching a piece of mulch.

Suddenly, Squiggle Bug froze.  Her face morphed from anguish and desperation to shock and horror.

“I pee-pee” she barely whispered her hands up in the air.

I dropped to my knees in front of her, followed her gaze down and saw little streams running out of her pant leg.  Her bottom lip trembled and I wrapped my arms around her as she stood there.  And she peed.  And peed.  And peed.

And peed.

Like a damn breaking, there was a pee flood down her legs.  I swear, she must have held it all day because I started to worry I was going to be kneeling in a rather large puddle of urine.

Cowboy stance assumed she looked up at me when it was all over.

“I go on the slide now?”

Our park trip lasted all of 5 minutes, once home and cleaned up we warmed up with hot chocolate, snuggled and read a book and ate apples.  Nodding off against me holding her mostly eaten apple loosely in her hand as I nursed Smunchie, I heard Squiggle Bug whisper.

“I had fun at the playground mommy.  Can we do it again tomorrow?”

Uh, I hope not.  I really, really hope not.  Not without going potty first, that’s for sure.



  1. Hilarious! Gotta love those mommy moments!

  2. Aw poor kid! Poor you!! Better luck tomorrow.

  3. dohiyimama says

    Aw poor Squiggle Bug… this is so funny though… 🙂

  4. Lmao -oh the memories! Yes they DO open absolute floodgates when they pee in their clothes dont they!
    I love having my boys now- boys come with this handy pee directional system! I was lucky when potty training my dd; we lived in London (UK) near one of those parks with the HUGE trees- plenty of peeing space behind them….although I did bring a potty with me in the early days…only to be followed round a shop by a security man wondering what I was holding onto so carefully in a plastic bag…I showed him a full potty and he didnt ask again!

    • Yes, boys do make this whole peeing thing a whole lot easier! We were out and about with my just turned 4 year old, doing a huge bike ride in downtown Los Angeles. (took over an hour to get there, biked for over and hour) Got back to the car, hot and sweaty and my son suddenly had to go. I didn’t have a potty and who knew where the nearest public bathroom was, at least a good 15 mins from wherever we were. Thankfully I had a wipes container in the car I quickly dumped out and we snuck behind the car and he peed in it! In the potty learning days I would have just had the little potty in the back of my car but that was 2 years ago!

  5. Oh the joys of a potty-training child! I feel you pain. My first child is a boy and that has, in certain physical ways, made our potty-training easier. Our next is a girl and I immediately have flash backs of squatting on the sides of roads, sheltered by two open car doors. (Hey, at least with a boy you can pull over on the side of the road to let a little boy pee in a cup inside the car when it’s 20 outside. I’ll have to remember the potty in in the car trick when we get to potty-training this second one.) Sigh….fun times.

  6. Oh do I feel your pain! Had this happen on a few occasions out with my 2yr old! The joys of mommyhood!

  7. The same sort of thing happened to us the other day, only my husband and I had stopped by the grocery store and decided he would run in while I sat in the car with our 3.5-year-old and 16-month-old. The 3-year-old had to pee and I was faced with dashing into the store and just hoping to find a bathroom in time. Luckily we thought of plan B, which was the Baby Bjorn Little Potty we keep in the van for the little one. I wedged it and my daughter between the front passenger seat and glove compartment, doors closed and everything. Her knees were up by her chin but it worked. I seriously do think she held it all day until about 3:00, because this was an Austin Powers pee! I still can’t believe we dodged that bullet without having all that pee spill in the floor of our van. My husband and I both felt like jerks for not noticing she hadn’t been, but she sometimes just goes to the bathroom and comes out without saying anything so it’s hard to tell.

  8. Awww…poor little punkin. She is a real sweetie. I will try to learn from your experience….thanks.

  9. LOL. I can so relate! We’ve taken to keeping an empty cup in the car, just in case.

  10. This is hilarious! And so sweet that u just hugged her as she did it…

  11. Oh! those are the kinds of things that as a mom we hope only happen once…but accidents do happen!! Here’s what we use when we are at a park or for emergencies on the road. It can also go on top of a public toliet too..:) We used it for such a short time period, but when we did use it~it was a LIFE SAVER! Just a thought! Yay for adventures of mommyhood!

  12. I have worse. Last week we got all ready and had *just* enough time to only be marginally late for school run. Baby in sling, Tiny (same age as yours) ready to jump in stroller, all layered up, bags loaded onto the stroller and about to leave the gardens (small plots a short walk and a flight of stairs away from the house). Tiny goes to jump in and the realises she needs to go potty. We DO NOT have time for this. I ask if she can hold it till we get to school. No way. I look around…no neighbours visible outdoors or at the windows. I weigh up the peeing by a bush habit against her removing every item of clothing and being wrestled back into them indoors while the baby screams and we get later and later for school, miss our bus to dance class, miss the start of the lesson…and I whisper to her ‘go to the back of the garden and wee by the composter’. She giggles, runs off and performs. Then climbs back into the stroller and I turn to leave, only just late. And glance back at the composter. Let’s just say she didn’t need to PEE…

  13. This made me laugh. You handled it well. I am now mentally preparing myself for this situation with my 2 kids.