Tuesday, December 16, 2008

(Port-a-)Potty Conversations

Last night, we spent a delightful evening with my in-laws. They live in South Carolina near an animal park that must have an astronomically high electric bill at Christmas time, because they have lights numbering in the millions. Every tree, building, fence, animal enclosure, and gate is draped with swags of multicolored little starlights.

I thought MayDay might have a little baby heart attack. Each time he said, "More (breath) Ti-tas (breath) wights!", his voice increased in pitch, timbre and intensity. "More. Mooore! MOOOORE! Ti-tas! Wights! MOOOOOOOORRRRRE!!!!!!!!!" I have never seen him so excited about anything.

Towards the middle of the Christmas light driving tour, you enter a fenced enclosure filled with some small European breed of deer (I'm not sure exactly which breed -- it was hard to see the sign in the dark). You can buy a bag of grain for a dollar, and the deer will come right up to your car and eat out of your hand. Oh, the fun of it all.

The deer were a little skittish -- who wouldn't be? Something just felt wrong about a disorganized group of cars, headlights blazing, slowly stalking these relatively defenseless creatures haphazardly through a big field from which they can't possibly escape, even if we were just trying to feed them. Eventually we coaxed a few up to the car and each child had some creature eat something out of his hand.

But the funniest part was how each kid best thought to call the deer over to our vehicle. Since we were driving so slowly, we let them get out of their car seats. We wound down the windows and they half hung out, one each with Nana & Papa in the back seats, and one with me in the front. As soon as we saw the deer, G-Dog started doing the little clicking noise my dad makes to call his dog. ConMan just started randomly throwing grain to catch their attention -- I must say, this seemed to be the most effective method. And Lil' MayDay -- well, he just started yelling, "Dude!" Because we all know that in secret deer language, dude is exactly how they refer to themselves.

The highlight of my evening came after the driving tour. At the end, there is a petting zoo. You can buy a bottle for $1 and feed it to one of the many baby goats. They have camels and bison and reindeer and oxen and lots of sheep and goats and donkeys. And a big bouncy slide. And Santa Claus. Loads of fun all around.

The boys had a great time. Daddy took them all on the bouncy slide, and, of course, while he was up there with no shoes on, G-Dog had to use the potty. The Port-a-Potty.

I have found that one of the singular pleasures of being a mother of boys is that I never have potty duty when we're out in public. But Porta-Johns are gender-neutral. I swallowed all my indignant protestations and herded my little man over to the nice row of disgusting toilets behind the bison house.

I say disgusting, but I can only assume, because it was so dark we couldn't really see anything. (Thank heaven for small favors, right?) This is how the conversation went:

ME
(very firmly, as we enter said potty): G-Dog, don't touch anything.

G-Dog: Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything.

ME: Okay, G-Dog, I'm gonna stand you up on the side here and you just pee into that big hole. Do you know what's down there?

G-Dog: Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything.

ME: It's a big disgusting pit full of all the things that come out into the potty and you can't flush it, it just all stays down there being gross and stinky.

G-Dog: Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything. Don't touch anything.

ME: Good job, G-Dog. Let's zip you up and then we're done!

G-Dog: Mommy, I was gonna touch something and then I didn't.

ME: G-Dog, you are awesome. Almost done here. Don't touch anything!

G-Dog: Mommy, can I touch you?

ME: G-Dog, you rock, and you can touch me any time you want. Done!

Can I emphasize here how much I DON'T do Port-a-Pottys? I know, what a mom, right? I was really tempted to just take him out in the trees and let him pee out there . . . but I didn't.

And the bonus for G-Dog? He didn't touch anything. He spends his potty-time trying to devise new reasons he shouldn't have to wash his hands. This kid doesn't flush. He doesn't put the toilet seat down. He doesn't even turn off the light in the bathroom. He only touches the sides of his pants. And he has developed this method of standing just right so he literally doesn't have to touch anything.

This isn't so good for the cleanliness of the boys' bathroom, but G-Dog is thrilled when he keeps himself from being contaminated, and thus, avoids the decontamination process. Or so he thinks.

For now, hand sanitizer tops my list of most useful, miraculous and indispensable modern inventions.

5 comments:

  1. The last time one of my kids used a portapotty, it was Lucy, and I sent her to go with her Uncle Cpod. :)

    I would rather hold it for three days than use one my self. You're brave for going in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have such a way of getting your point across and making me laugh. Really hard. I am so very with you when it comes to portapotties. I don't do them. If one of the children was actually going to pee their pants, Maybe. Maybe not. My hand sanitizer comes from Sam's- it's as big as my torso, but it keeps little hands clean!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have laughed to the point of tears ... I love the dialogue "don't touch anything ..." I can hear my son saying something like that as he slowly goes and touch it (mine is 2).

    I've been reading your blog for a while now and I love it, I got to you through Mommy J (I'm a friend of her friend Kelly B.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Who ever invented the port-a-potty was a very twisted individual. Convenient? Yes. Desirable? NOT A CHANCE!
    I have driven 15 minutes in the worst-needing-to-go condition, 8 months pregnant to avoid an indescribably disgusting port-a-potty.
    Kudos to you Mom for braving the event!
    "Don't touch anything" Amen and Amen!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I should have added to the post that my children are absolutely OBSESSED with port-a-johns. Every time we pass one, they feel compelled to comment on the color and even express a desire to see what's inside. In fact, part of the reason they eventually potty trained is because their father told them that only big boys could pee in the little blue/green/red/insert your color of choice house. Which is why he should have been the one to take G-Dog in the first place.

    ReplyDelete

Sock it to me!