The Day My Son Didn't Poop on the Playground

Monday, May 6, 2013

John Paul has been participating in a local league's U-4 soccer program - they don't play actual soccer, but they learn soccer skills while playing lots of fun games.  He has varying degrees of success with the games, mainly because he refuses to follow instructions.  But it's a really good program for him because he's doing a better job respecting authority.
Photo: First "organized" sports...
Blah blah, all that aside, Saturday was his 5th practice.  We had hit up the Farmer's Market beforehand, and it had been a while since the kids had been to the bathroom.  So when, halfway through the practice, I noticed him holding himself in that special way that only means one thing, I called him off the field.
Now, there's something truly wonderful about Saturday soccer at a closed elementary school: 
No bathrooms.
Not even a Porta-Potty.
Thankfully, John Paul's a boy.  No problem!  I wanted to hold off on teaching him that peeing outside is acceptable for as long as possible, but this was an emergency.  I did NOT want us to be "The Parents Whose Son Peed His Pants on the Soccer Field."
So I took him behind a trailer, then realized that people on the field AND on the playground could still see us if they looked.  Went to the next trailer and instructed him, "Okay John Paul, this is THE ONLY TIME YOU CAN DO THIS, but you need to pull down just the front of your shorts and underwear and you're allowed to pee in the grass.  But ONLY this one time."
He looked dubious.  "No?"  He disagreed with me.  I assumed he was being shy, so we went down one more trailer.
"John Paul," I said, "Nobody can see you, you're just going to pee on the grass and go back to soccer.  You don't even need to pull down your pants all the way!"
He continued to look skeptical, but started tugging on his pants, ever the obedient and trusting child...
"No, not that far down!  Just far enough to pee!"
He started crouching over some empty planters beside the steps...
"NO!  STOP!!!  DON'T DO ANYTHING!!!"  I stood there, horrified, watching as my son was about to defecate in public.
"Do you need to poop?"  I asked him, knowing the answer already.
He nodded his head.
For half a second I considered grabbing a wet bag from the diaper bag and having him poop in it.  Then I decided this was worth missing the rest of practice for.
"Okay, pull up your pants, we'll go home and you can poop there."
"YAY!"  He exclaimed, straightening up and pulling his pants back into place.  "1-2-3 WE LOVE SOCCER!" (the cheer they say at the end of every "practice")
I ran to the playground (all the while carrying Elizabeth) and shouted to Andrew, "WE NEED TO GO HOME NOW!"
"WHAT?"  He shouted back at me.
"WHY?"  He asked.
So Andrew scooped Cecilia off the swing, came rushing over with Mary Claire asleep on his back, and started taking 3 out of our 4 children to the car.  I strapped Elizabeth on, grabbed John Paul's soccer ball from the field, and followed after with our enormous diaper bag.  15 minutes later we were home, accident-free, having narrowly escaped public defecation.  Let's hope we can avoid a close call like this one next week!


  1. LOL! My sister was just telling me that she keeps a little potty in the back of her van for events just like this one. I'm glad he was able to make it home in time. :-)

    1. I might have to start if we have more incidents like this one!

  2. Hi Rosie,
    We had his happen so many times when our kids were little and I was so happy to find the Potette when my third was small. It's legs fold down when not in use and it has super absorbent liners that mask the smell. We got ours at Toys r Us but here's a link to it on Amazon:
    I just kept it in the van and it came in handy so many times.
    Have a great week, Cathy

    1. Brilliant! I wonder if they have reusable or flushable liners?

  3. Hilarious! My boys has done an emergency number 1 on public property, but never a number 2. You did good, Mama!

  4. This is a good lesson in taking all things in stride. So often I lose my cool when things are "interrupted" by the inevitable. Humor is the best answer. Good job.

  5. Parenthood teaches many skills that potential employers should recognize. One of these is "thinking fast in a crisis." It is too bad that one cannot tell stories such as yours when an interviewer asks you, "Tell me about when you thought fast in a crisis."

  6. We were stuck on the interstate for three hours because of a fatal traffic accident. Someone in our car (who shall remain nameless for the sake of privacy) had to go to the bathroom. We ended up using a diaper because that was the only solution we could come up with. Parenting certainly helps you think on your feet!

    1. I've totally had that thought before! It's never come to that, but there have definitely been times while pregnant that I've been stuck in traffic in desperate need of a bathroom and a diaper sounds mighty nice!


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