Parenting is full of a lot of questions and doubts and self-criticism. It's full of drive-bys from other people (a la "Where are your shoes, little boy?" said to Rohan as I carried him in a store at 13 months old....), advice you don't want/need/like/agree with/care to hear even though it's probably right, and moments of pure humiliation and "Oh my god what the fuck was I thinking creating life????"-ness.
And then, every once in awhile, something happens and the stars align and you have a moment of Parenting Success.
And, new moms? Here is where I break this down to you: 7 out of 10 times, your parenting success will revolve around a bodily function. Breastfeeding. Baby poop. Diaper changing without getting a stream of pee in your eye at 3 a.m.. Potty training. You get the idea.
So there we were, at the Greek Festival at Tempe Town Lake, and after eating lunch I noticed the telltale holding of the pee from Luca. Every kid does the same damn thing, so anyone with any experience ever being around, or even previously BEING a kid, knows when a potty trained kid needs to 'go'. She also is almost 3, which means the quickest way to get her to NOT use the potty is to say, "Luca, do you need to go potty?" It usually goes a little something like this:
Me: "Luca, do you need to go potty?"
Me: "Are you sure, sweetie?"
Luca: "I don't hafta go potty, Mama."
Me: "Ok. If you change your mind and need to go potty, please let Mama know."
Luca: "Please stop asking if I hafta go potty, Mama." (yeah, dude...my almost-3-year-old talks like an almost-13-year-old)
:::14 seconds elapse:::
Luca: "I hafta go potty, Mama!!!" :::grabs self:::
Me: "Oh, you do? :::stifles sarcasm which would surely be lost on an almost-3-year-old::: Well, let's go!"
So it went at the Greek Festival, and in the end I put her on my hip and away we went in search of the potty. And the potty, it turns out, was a line of purple port-a-johns. Don't EVEN get me started on how they USED to have a real restroom but it was closed because of the budget cuts in our state. But nevermind that...here we had multiple potties from which to choose and each one was PURPLE! PURPLE, which also happens to be a favorite color of a certain little girl. So I walked confidently over, swung open a door, and asked her to stand next to me and not touch a thing.
(Have you ever noticed in a public restroom every mom is telling every kid Not To Touch Anything? And every kid will, at some point, touch not just 'anything' but the filthiest spot on the filthiest potty ever and you will only be alerted that he or she did this while you were looking the other way getting out your purse-sized hand sanitizer because he or she will say, "Icky. It's WET!")
Anyhow, I got the toilet seat lined in 4 layers of toilet paper and turned to pick her up, and her eyes were big as saucers.She flat our refused to sit on the potty, citing its 'scary' factor. And, you know, I couldn't fault her that so I walked out of the port-a-john with her and stood there, facing down this newfound nemesis. I needed a different approach and I needed it fast since I knew her bladder wouldn't hold much longer. Already she was starting to cross one knee in front of the other.
With a brave face on, I took her hand and we walked down to stand in front of a different potty. Smiling at her, I said, "Here's what we'll do. We'll go in and....YOU can sit on ME...yes. Yes. I will sit and you sit on my lap and then you can go. Ok?" (Nevermind the logistical nightmare I'd just created for myself...the girl HAD TO GO.) She agreed, so I swung the door open and steeled myself to undertake this task which I was sure would result in a mess on me. But it was a small price to pay for a toddler who would use the port-a-john and not have an accident in her carseat later.
But before I could turn us around and shut the door, she was shaking from head to toe and repeating, "No. No. No. No." So out we went again, leaving the vision of someone's turn floating in blue water behind.
So here we were, two potty missions aborted, a toddler still in need of 'going', and our options exhausted. And then I remembered: I have two kids! (Ok, I mean, I didn't literally JUST THEN remember that....I know it all the time...but you know what I mean.) And one of those kids...the one not currently facing her own personal 7th level of hell...is still in diapers.
So I did what I had to do. I took her by the hand and we marched over to my waiting husband and son. I grabbed a diaper from the bag and, knowing that it would be hopeless to carry out my mission anywhere within 30 yards of the devil potties, I walked Luca behind a group of bushes and crouched down to her level.
"Luca, you need to pee, right?"
"Here's what we will do. You lay down. I will put this diaper on you. You pee in the diaper. I will take it off and put your undies back on. Deal?"
So that is what we did. I had her lie down, I snuck the diaper on under her panties, and I sat her up so she could pee. She smiled at me while we did this, my co-conspirator in the plot to avoid the pot. And when she was done she told me so, and I snuck the diaper off and the undies back up and Viola! A Parenting Success!