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.
“I’M GOING. TO. GO. PEE-PEE. I NEED. TO. GO POTTY! HELP ME MOMMY!”
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.
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.