GRANDPARENTS: Forget the American Express card, just don’t leave home without at least two spare diapers or underwear changes if you take the little cuties on an outing, even with parental assurance of potty training graduation. (Think of it like menopause; you can never be sure that a hot flash won’t suddenly reassert itself. ) Personally, after one harrowing experience, I plan to continue this cautionary practice until they have drivers’ licenses and can drive themselves home to change their own poopy pants.
I am the voice of experience.
One of our grandsons has always had a “cigarettes and whiskey” voice, as his momma calls it. Small for his size, this little guy babbled in a voice deeper than my own. Once, on a visit to Indiana, Dearly Beloved and I took him and his older brother to the children’s museum. We planned to make a day of it, starting on the third floor of the Slinky-like building with its spiral ramps. We didn’t want to miss a single exhibit. We started out together, but when their interests proved to be for different areas, DB took Older Brother into the space exhibit and Little Brother pulled me toward the carousel.
Lifting him onto the horse put his bottom at (my) nose level with irrefutable evidence (although he argued the point) we needed to be somewhere else. I pulled him off the horse and toward the bathroom in what I thought was a precautionary gesture. I was mistaken. Precaution had left the building.
For one thing, this potty-trained, mommy-certified 2 1/2 year old was, suspiciously, wearing a diaper under his shorts. That wasn’t gas assaulting my nostrils. Houston, we’d had lift-off.
Crisis at 10:30 am: no spare diaper.
I cleaned him with wet tissues and redressed him with his little shorts, commando-style. Without the diaper to hold them up, the pants kept sliding down his skinny little behind and made walking difficult. I picked him up to carry him just in time for a fresh nasal assault which sent ice water through my veins. Red alert! Red alert!
We rushed over to a crowded seating area in search of a mommy with a large stroller and a kid larger than infant size. Spotting a live one, I shoved a dollar in her face and asked to buy a diaper. She pulled one out of her stash and Little Bro Grandson and I were soon in the restroom to re-arm or, more accurately, re-butt, then. . . back in the saddle again.
Even with a diaper padding his pants, they simply wouldn’t stay up. The shorts were his favorites, his mommy had told me, in apology for their appearance. She hadn’t mentioned the spent elastic in the waistband.
Back to the area with benches, this time for a grandmotherly type with a large purse. There is always one around. Sometimes I AM that person, but that day I had only a small shoulder bag. The grandmother I zeroed in on did indeed have a large safety pin and wouldn’t accept payment after handing over a pin large enough to hold an amorous Scottsman’s kilt closed.
The pin worked well and we resumed our tour of the exhibits. Once again, there were warnings of other movements on the horizon. Now this kid has a voice like a fog horn. . . he could have evacuated that entire building with a good shriek. . . but he was decidedly mute about needing to use the bathroom. No doubt he didn’t want to miss anything. We headed back to our old stomping grounds for some serious stall time; I didn’t want to miss anything either.
This looked to be an ongoing situation, so it seemed prudent to find Dearly Beloved and Older Brother. I needed backup. No luck at the space exhibit. Thirty minutes of cruising, hanging over the circuitous ramps, and trolling exhibition rooms before a sighting. . . .
Finally we joined Granddad and Older Brother in the archaeological exhibit for a rootin’, tootin’ adventure, if you get my drift. Or his, to be more precise. Dearly Beloved and I sat on a rock and watched the two boys brush sand off plastic dinosaur bones in the Egyptian “dig”. I began to relax. In a pinch, that giant sand box might be useful.
I’ve got to go to the bathroom, I told DB after a few minutes. Can you watch both of them?
He looked insulted at the question. I reminded him that Little Brother was quick and didn’t seem to have an Off switch, then hurried to my home away from home. In less than five minutes I was back at the archaeological dig.
I looked for my guys. . . one. . . two. Someone was missing. My sidekick, the little stinker, was nowhere around.
Where is he? I hissed at DB.
He was unruffled and looked around casually. He has to be in this room. He was here a second ago.
But he wasn’t. Not in the sand box, the cave maze, nor any of the digs. My panic rose.
Stay here and look for him. I’ll start searching the other rooms.
It had taken me thirty minutes to spot DB and he was a grown man. How was I going to find one small little boy in droopy, poopy pants?
Just outside the “dig” was a glassed wall with a popular train exhibit. I looked for a little blond head as I dashed past. Nope. I hurried on up the ramp, my mind flashing with terrifying scenarios of where this dear child might be. But wait! Sniff, sniff. I turned on my heels to re-examine that crowd of children in front of the train case. Sniff, sniff. I recognized that smell; he had to be in there somewhere. Sure enough, at the very front, hidden by the taller children, stood Little Brother, nose pressed against the glass, watching the trains go by. Toot, toot, indeed.
After a sixth bathroom visit which once again left LB in commando mode, we decided we’d had enough adventure at the museum and finished off our excursion with a visit to McDonald’s.
Sure, you can have french fries and squirty catsup, Sweetie. We’re going home to Mommy.
PS: Fellow granny, when you’re packing that plastic bag and the underwear changes in your handbag, throw in an extra pair for yourself. Sometimes things happen that practically scare the crap out of us.