I have often referred to our many and various bathroom adventures over the years. I think I’m finally ready to discuss the great Craptastrophe of 2010. This all went down during a time when La Principessa was toileting on her own but very stubborn about the how, why, when and where. And the more she sensed I wanted her to try, the harder her heels dug in.
She was begging to hang out at her favorite park at the Massad Y. It was early spring and still a little chilly so the outdoor restrooms had not yet been unlocked. not a port-a-potty in sight. Before we set out I sat her on the toilet where we engaged in an angry staring contest for 5 minutes. She narrowed her eyes defiantly -- not a drop or drip escaped. Heavy sigh. I thought, well, it's possible her tank is actually empty for once.
We were alone at the playground – but that was ok. We played tag and swung on swings – she climbed and tumbled. She dashed away from me and I saw the telltale butt clench and limping gait that forecasted trouble -- probably in the not too distant future.
I kept my cool and inquired, "Are you OK? Let's go inside to the bathroom."
“No, I ok.” Apparently she felt a reprieve because she sped off like a rocket.
When I caught up to her, she was barely holding back the floodgates. Face, beet red in concentration, she could barely squeak out, "No. I. OK."
I did my best to convince her we'd come right back outside. I threatened that if she messed her pants, we'd have to go right home.
I chased her some more, trying to get within reach to grab her. She scampered up a ladder to the highest slide there -- one she knew would buy her enough time to race down while I was still midway between top and bottom.
"Get down here. Now."
She stood her ground. “No. I OK.
“I'm warning you....”
"No, I. OK.” Foot stomp. She pantomimed starting down the slide, taunting me.
“I mean it, if you....”
Uh oh.all that effort tweaking me must have drained her resolve. She spun around, as if someone had tapped her on the shoulder -- like a dog looking at its tail. And by now, she did indeed have a tail. A big stinky tail wrapped in underwear and leggings.
It took a second for me to snap out of my horror. I swear it was one of those slo-mo movie moments as I hurled myself up the slide the wrong way to keep her standing. Stay there.STAY THERE. She made a break for the ladder, so I jumped to head her off. Which merely led her to take a flying leap onto her butt and skid all the way down the slide. Hmm, how can I be delicate here? Literally skid. Like left a wide landing strip skid mark down the length of the slide. Now horror really sank in. We were still alone -- she clearly had to go home, the damage was way too extensive to do a dainty clean up inside. But the slide, the slide! So we had our own version of Amazing Race. I grabbed her by the hand and ran to the car, where I retrieved a bottle of water, Starbucks napkins and hand sanitizer. Deathgripping her hand nearly the whole time, I wiped, rinsed, wiped again and then sanitized that slide. I looked around guiltily hoping 1) that we were still alone and 2) this wasn’t a secret camera reality show.
She was squirming and plotting escape from my grip. But now, it looked like the playground was actually cleaner than when we arrived,
She whined, “Let’s go. Now. I messy. Take off.” And of course, ticked off at me because she was uncomfortable. That’s the deal when you’re Major Duomo in La Principessa’s court. I turned to the task of building a small throne of old beach towels as her perch for the ride home.