I keep a couple of empty water bottles in the Suburban in case one of the boys (or girls, if the have magnificent aim) has to pee. My sweet friend and mother of 4 boys, Mary Carter, gave me that little piece of advice and it’s been invaluable. I cannot not tell you how many times our boys have peed in an empty bottle but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say close to a million. It’s so simple and convenient and you’re totally reusing the bottle so that also makes it environmentally friendly, no?
I took the littlest kids to a park recently. When we pulled up, there was a daycare bus in the parking lot. As we approached the playground, I counted about 15 excited kids and their lunchboxes neatly lined up on a bench. There was a 20-something teacher, an older man and an older woman all there chaperoning.
“Hey! We’re on a field trip- you can’t play here” one of the kids said to me as Ronan took off toward the slide. The older woman heard him and said “No sir, Noah, they are welcome to play here!” She then turned to me and explained “You’ll have to excuse him- he must think he owns the place.” “That’s okay- we’ll try to stay out of their way” I replied.
Within a few minutes, I noticed Ronan’s tell-tale “I have to pee very soon” behavior. I looked around and didn’t see a restroom but remembered the empty water bottles in the car. The Suburban was maybe 25 feet away so I let Norah keep playing and took Ronan’s hand and led him to the car to discreetly pee in a bottle.
The older lady saw us walking off and said “Oh, I hope we’re not running you off?”
Me: “No, M’am. He needs to pee pee and there’s not a bathroom here- I have an empty water bottle in my car, though. We’ll be right back.”
She had a look of horror and repulsion all up on her face. I didn’t understand what the big deal was and kept walking to the car. Ronan peed in the bottle with laser-like accuracy, I replaced the top and we headed back to the playground.
He ran back to the slides while I helped Norah climb the rock wall. I didn’t give a second thought to what had just happened- when you’re a parent, you have to be resourceful and work with what you’ve got, you know? Personally, I find it ridiculous that a city’s parks department wouldn’t provide a restroom near a playground. What options do children and parents have? I’ll tell you… that little bitty tree over there or a water bottle in the privacy of your car. I chose what I thought was the most discreet option.
While following Norah all over the playground, I found myself near the older woman and she had some questions, y’all.
Older woman: “Excuse me, did you just take your son to use the restroom in your car? Is that you all were doing?”
Me: “Well, he peed in an empty water bottle, yes.”
Older woman (crossing her arms and looking down her nose at me): “Humph. I have never heard of such- don’t you think that’s a little, crass?”
Me: “Crass? No. As you can see, there’s no restroom here, so it was that or I suppose I could’ve let him pee right here in front of all these kids…”
Older woman: “Or you could’ve had him use the restroom before you left home.”
Me: “Oh, I did. I always do. The thing is that we live about 20 minutes away but he loves this playground so we come here when we can. Again, unfortunately, there is no restroom here so I did what I thought was the next best thing. I’m sorry if you find it offensive…I find it genius.”
Older woman: “I’ve just never heard of such.”
Me: “And now you have.”
I shrugged my shoulders and continued watching our little kids play without the burden of a full bladder. She didn’t speak to me again.
As we left, I considered leaving the water bottle, half full of a certain 3-year-old’s yellow pee on the steps of their daycare bus but I’m a lady and I try to take the high road. Instead, I chose to flip her off once I was in the Suburban…she didn’t see it so that makes it okay and ladylike.