It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Without a tree to pee on

Earlier this summer, Emma took the tots on an outing. (So mum could have a morning off!! SUCH a lovely girl. I’m sure the ten dollars an hour had nothing to do with her enthusiasm. Well, not so very much.)

They were in a downtown park when Nigel announced an urgent need to pee. Of course. Because that is what toddlers do. That is particularly what little toddler boys will do when confronted with a whole bunch of trees.

I can understand. I cross the threshhold of the kitchen door, I’m hungry. Immediately and without any warning. I’ve learned not to go in there without a focussed purpose — a quick dart in, do the job, and get out — otherwise I find myself, vacantly, automatically, how-did-this-happen-anyway, staring into the fridge. It’s programmed into me, and it gets worse the older I get.

I know some women who are like that with shoe stores. Go into a mall, intending to make a quick trip into the drug store for a few stamps — JUST STAMPS! $5.00, tops! — pass a shoe store … and it’s all over.

Toddler males are like that with trees.

It’s a nice, largish downtown park: groomed grass, shrubbery amongst a rock garden on one side, a fountain surrounded by benches at one end, and, dotted all over the lawn, trees.

“Emma, I need to PEE!”

Of course, Emma tried to suggest that he didn’t need to pee right now, that there would be a perfectly good toilet available when they got to the museum, a whole three minutes away. Maybe five. But no. He had to pee RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE!!

And he is only three. It’s entirely possible. Even if the idea only came onto him through the power of subliminal tree suggestion, maybe the power of subliminal tree suggestion is strong enough to make him pee in another 90 seconds.

Emma balances the possible ramifications of an accident with no dry clothes on hand (what were we thinking??) and the subsequent bus trip home with a soggy, pee-stinking toddler vs the possible humiliation of a toddler taking a quick pee in a public park. Well, okay. So long as he’s discreet.

“Oh, all right. But be quick.”

It’s nearing lunch time. There are office workers with their coffee, some with their illicit cigarettes, there are elderly people sunning themselves on benches, there are joggers, there are a pile of construction workers preparing to eat. There are a lot of people. So of course, a little discretion would go a long way for poor Emma’s adolescent comfort levels.

Nigel races from one tree to another. “I’m going to pee on THIS one!”

Emma suggests that rather than a tree smack in the middle of the wide-open lawn, he choose one closer to the shrubbery at the side. Where the rummies hang out after dark. A little toddler-pee will probably improve the ambience over there…

But there is so much choice! Trees everywhere! How can a boy possibly choose?

“I’m going to pee on THIS one!”

Zip, dart, race.

“I’m going to pee on THIS one!”

Nigel’s hearty declarations have now caught the attention of the construction workers, all decked out in their grubby workin’-mens blue jeans and the yellow and orange vests with the reflective tape. They’re having lunch, coffee mugs and sandwiches set on a couple of benches. They chortle amongst themselves at the little guy, males sharing the pride of their shared manly-bits.

I have no doubt they’re checking out my daughter, too. A male bonding experience Nigel hasn’t yet attained.

Nigel races past them. “I’m going to pee on THIS one!”

“Nigel, will you just pick a stupid tree and get it over with, please?”

The chortles turn to outright laughter. The hottie is feisty, too. Better and better.

Perhaps drawn by all that fellow-manliness, or just the possibility of the attention of amiable adults, Nigel darts over to the guffawing group, and points to the tree nearest their food-bench.

“Okay, Emma. I’m going to pee on THIS one!”

Now the guys are killing themselves. This kid is a scream, he with his mini-manlybits and ready hosepipe. But hey, pee is pee. The worker-dude nearest Nigel looks down at his wee blond head.

“Not there you don’t, son.”

So he ran two metres over
dropped his drawers,
and peed.

In the very middle of the lawn,
on the grass,
not a tree in miles.

Emma thinks one of the guys may have snorted his pastrami-on-rye right out his nose.

September 9, 2008 - Posted by | manners, Nigel, our adoring public, outings, potty tales | , ,


  1. Thanks for the laugh!

    My boys are a bit older than Nigel, but I remember the lure of the trees. When we’re out hiking or camping, the 9 yo boy still feels the lure of the trees sometimes.

    You know, I honestly don’t remember my son doing this a whole lot, except when we were camping. It was a HUGE perk of camping, in his world view. But maybe all those piddling-al-fresco boys have blurred into one another…

    Comment by Katherine | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. My 5 year old still just drops trough no matter where we are, in the walmart parking lot is not too public for him. The other little cherub who will 4 in November still refuses anything but a pull-up. I’m about ready to mail him to you for help.

    I dunno. Given the choice between a son who squirts on the tires in the Wal-Mart parking lot and one who does it discreetly in a pull-up, I’m not so sure I’d want to dispense with the pullups. Maybe you could make tire-marking a perk of post-pull-up life?

    Comment by Jerri Ann | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. My neighbor let his son pee anywhere like that and since my son was always with him, he got the habit too. I always thought they were like puppies- marking their territory. There was no way they really had to pee that many times on one short walk. Finally I taught them to pull out the equipment instead of pulling down the pants to the knee. At least they’re more discreet now (five years later!).

    When they’re coordinated enough to aim the equipment so that it doesn’t soak the front of their pants, I’d be all for it. Sadly, I don’t think that generally happens till they’re out of my care…

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  4. I did the same thing with my son, “Okay, if you really can’t wait, there’s a tree over there.”

    But I don’t remember even once considering such a thing with my daughter. Not that I recall any real need to, but now that I think about, I don’t think I would have been as accomodating.

    Just can’t see myself saying, “Okay dear, just squat over here by these bushes and mind your shoes.”

    I guess it’s a boy thing.

    See now, I did. In fact, though I don’t have many clear memories of my son piddling al fresco, I do remember the girls doing it. Probably because it’s a bit more of a promotion… On occasion, a daycare girl-tot will feel the need when we’re miles from facilities. I have them sit right down (no squatting) and put their feet up on something. It just has to be elevated a couple of inches: a mid-size stick will do fine. Given their position, it’s probably more discreet that the fully upright boys!

    Girls, however, never ask to do it as often as the boys — it’s not nearly so much fun for them. So yeah, it’s a boy thing.

    Comment by Zayna | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  5. Glad I didn’t have a fizzy beverage nearby for this one. That stuff hurts coming out the nose!

    Heh. This is my evil plan. Failing fizzy, hot coffee is a reasonable substitute.

    Comment by kim | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  6. My young son is programmed to pee in the grocery store. Well, not IN the store. In the bathroom in the store. You know. So, as soon as we get into aisle 6, or wherever the biggest clump of people are blocking the entire aisle, he NEEDS to pee. And no, it cannot wait.

    You’re lucky. Our grocery store will NOT let patrons use their toilet. No matter how young the patron, no matter how desperate the case. So we’ve never HAD to pee in the grocery store. Hm. Perhaps I’M the lucky one…

    Comment by Tammy | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  7. You know Mary, 10 CAD is too less for this task, especially if little guys want to pee NOW!!

    Just a thought.

    Shhhhh! I know that, but she doesn’t. What she knows is that minimum wage is $8.25… Just as well: $10 is all mum can afford!

    Comment by Suzi | September 10, 2008 | Reply

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