Here’s a great selection of stories from back in the day when I was still funny. Sadly, I’m a better parent now and things like this don’t happen anymore.
The greatest store in the world to do market basket analysis, hands down is Fleet Farm. Fleet Farm is a store where I can spend hours. And hours. And hours. Their T-Shirts say it all, the “mans” departments store. It is the one stop shop for fishing equipment, hunting decoys, tools, home improvement supplies, Carhart clothes, bulk candy, automotive supplies (in bulk), and cattle remedies. They got it all.
That’s where I was last week. The manly candy store. I don’t even remember what it was that I originally went in there for. Needless to say I had a full cart. A battery for the lawn tractor, some lower unit oil to winterize the boat, a bird feeder, (not just any birdfeeder my friends but a John Deere bird feeder with a green body and logo and a yellow roof, talk about sweet) some shotgun shells and a couple bags of maple nut goodies. Typical Fleet Farm basket for me.
As I wandered the sporting goods department shopping for a shotgun, my shopping companion, my 8 year old daughter, tapped me on the arm. “Dad, I gotta go to the bathroom”. Now 9 times out of 10, especially when we are in sporting goods store, she really doesn’t have to go potty, she just wants to get the heck out of there and this bathroom tour is a quick way out. “O.K. dear just a second, I’m looking at something”. I engage the clerk and ask about a 20 gauge that I’m looking for, for my son. We’re talking.
Now those of you who are parents know exactly where this is going. I’m in discussions, she’s hopping around the cart grabbing her crotch and skipping from one foot to the other singing, “I gotta go, I gotta go, I gotta go go go”. I look at her. “OK just a second we’ll walk over the bathroom”.
Turning back to the guy I excuse myself. Looking down at my daughter, she’s now rolling up the pant legs on her jeans so they look like shorts. “What are you doing?”
She looks up, smiles and says “my pants
“What! Come on lets run to the potty.”
In a calm voice which in 20 years will chill the spine of my future son-in-law, she looks at me and says “I don’t have to go anymore, YOU took to long. The pee pee has come out.”
OY, is about all I can say. I’m now thinking that I could be the worst parent in the world.
This could be worse than the time the oldest broke his hand and I told him to quite crying it’s not that bad. The next morning when the top of his hand looked like a baseball, it was his Mother, my Life Partner and first wife, and coincidently my current wife, although after that it was close, who took him to the Urgent Care, had the X-Ray taken, reviewed the results WITH the doc-in-the-box on staff and then proceeded to come home, stopping in the garage for a hammer and then burst into the house with I believe, every intention of demonstrating on my person exactly what the symptoms of a broken hand are so that in the future I would not mistake that diagnosis and “brush it off because YOU didn’t want to go to Urgent Care”.
Yup, I sure ain’t no good at doctoring. There was an incident, of which I am reminded of every summer, by my wife and the daughter, that incident where I let my daughter walk in grass on 4th of July. She stepped on a hot sparkler, burned a small hole in her foot, which by the time we arrived in Hawaii three days later was infected, mandating a trip to the Hawaiian ER and causing her to not be allowed to swim in Grandmas pool with all the other grandkids and her siblings and her parents for the rest of the trip, there by ruining the only fun that we could have had that summer and once again demonstrating that I am just short of a monster…
Honestly you couldn’t even see where it was when it happened and she didn’t even cry, and she cries at EVERYTHING. Gimmie a break. BUT every summer I get “do you remember when I stepped on that sparkler and had to go the Doctor?” Followed by wife saying “Yes dear I’ll ALWAYS remember when you, while being watched by your Father because I was with the Scouts, stepped on that hot sparkler because he didn’t have you put on shoes and as a result ruined your very special vacation.…”
You know, it’s not even a fair fight.
Back to Fleet Farm.
So there we are, an 8 year old, who 10 seconds ago was hopping around, in my defense she does this all the time with no need to go potty, now telling me her pants are wet. And, they were. You could see it in the back. Also, there was a small accumulation of liquid, immediately below her left foot, i.e. a little puddle.
It was the sight of that puddle where for the second time in my life I had an elimination related panic attack. Fight or flight kicked in and, frankly, I ran, got three feet, dropped my merchandise and went back grabbed the girl and ran for it. Apologizing and at the same time telling her to be a little more assertive next time. I will report that at no time was I angry with her.
Reminds me of another tale, with a similar outcome, and one where the flight response was overwhelming.
Breakfast went well and we were off to playland. I grab a paper and prepare to ignore my children for half an hour while they play on the tubes and slides. The youngest boy was still in diapers. The oldest boy is in Ninja Turtle Big Boy undies, I’m in boxer briefs. Just in case you were wondering.
After about 10 minutes of revelry, I’m done with the front section of the newspaper and just turning to the sports page when I get the creepy feeling that something is wrong. I look up. My eyes meet the gaze of the precious 6 year old. He looks determined.
“Daaaaaad” he whispers.
Again with the whisper, “Daaaaaaaaaaad”, the curling index finger indicating that I’m to bend forward and allow him to speak into my ear.
I do. “What, son?”
“Daaaad, it’s Eric”
Panic, I look up, he’s smiling and riding down the slide. Whew
“what about him?” I ask, calming down and thinking, how cute this is, caring about your little brother.
“What? What is it son, what about him?”
“He uh…. Pooped in the slide.”.
“He pooped in the slide, there’s a poopie streak in there and came from him!”
I jump, and I mean jump up and as nonchalantly as I can I look up the slide tube. There, to my horror is in fact a 3 or 4 foot long brown streak, from the sitting area at the top of the slide down about a third of the way down. Then the olfactory confirmation that there was in fact somewhere in this play structure a toddler who was, as I used to like to say “packin”, and that kid was mine.
Panic, and I mean MAN PANIC. I admit it I flee. In hindsight I should have notified the manger and offered to help sterilize the thing. But, alas, I am weak. I ran for it. 20 minutes later my bride comes driving along where she finds her husband and two boys (in case you were wondering I did change him, and did not leave the dirty diaper in the parking lot like apparently everyone else does) waiting on the curb, in the snow, about a half block up for the where she left us.
“What are you doing over here?”
“It’s long story….”