Monday, May 24, 2010

Peeing Outside

Big thread on parkslopeparents recently about the permissibility of children peeing in the park. There are those who said, “Uh-uh, no way, under no circumstances,” and those who said, “A-Ok, peeing outside is fun,” and those who thought it was tolerable in cases of potty training emergencies.

I fall staunchly in the last category. Do I want to watch a kid drop trou and piss in the middle of a picnic area while I’m eating a sandwich? No. But I don’t blink an eye if I catch sight of a toddler or preschooler peeing behind a bush or next to a tree off the beaten path. I’m constantly dodging piles of dog shit on the sidewalks here and I think if I have to do that, then I’m entitled to let my not-fully-potty-trained-child relieve himself near a tree rather than wet his pants when he’s somewhere far from a bathroom/

But the thread did remind me of one time, a month or two ago, when I was in my local playground with Seconda.

We’d recently come back from a trip to Tennessee, where the backyard is literally a forest, and where Sec made a habit of letting herself out through the doggie door and peeing outside, just like the doggies.

I discovered she was doing this one day because she came up to me and said, “Mommy, I did pee-pee!”

I said, “That’s great honey, did you use the potty?”

And she said, “No, I went out to the woods.”

“Oh, OK,” I said, “But where are your panties?”

“As a matter of fact,” she replied, “they are in the woods and they are all wet.”

When we came back to New York, it was difficult to break her off this pee-outside habit. So one day we were in the playground -- not in the park, but a plyground in the middle of a busy street – and I looked over and saw a pair of little girl underwear on the pavement. Then I caught sight of Seconda next to a tree in the middle of the packed playground, about to squat down and take a piss.

“Sec!” I yelled, “What are you DOING?”

“I’m peeing in the woods,” she replied.

It was an honest mistake. Could’ve happened to anyone.

Where do you stand on the pee-in-the-park debate -- sometimes, always or maybe? Have you allowed your little one some license when it comes to emergencies?