Now she was telling me?
MJ and I had just left school and crossed the busy avenue outside. We had nearly reached our car. We were steps away. It was then that she informed me that she had to pee. Of course she did–I’d forgotten to check before we’d left. But now here we were–hot, overburdened (at least me), and exhausted. Were we really going to go all the way back to use the potties inside?
It looked like it. MJ couldn’t wait. “I need to go now,” she declared firmly.
Crap. “OK,” I said. “Let’s go back–”
“No!” she yelled. “I want a patch to pee on.”
My daughter, you see, is part dog. She’ll urinate on any parcel of land that’s got a bit of lawn. She prefers it. When away from home she’ll take astroturf over a strange toilet any day. And, like a dog, she’s selective about her grass. It has to be lush and green–no brown patches for her. Unless she creates them, of course.
Problem was, there was no grass where we were standing. Only concrete, litter, and chain link fences, with little tufts of weeds poking out from beneath. I pointed to the cleanest of such spots.
“Um, there?” I said doubtfully?
Myra-Jean looked at me like I was insane. “Mommy.”
“OK, honey, look. Can’t you just wait ’til we get –”
“NO! I want to pee on the median.”
I cocked my head at her. “The–”
She pointed behind me, to the center of the street we’d just crossed. The busy, car-whizzing, major artery, that is. There, in the middle, was a wide, green expanse. All lovely, well irrigated grass. Beautifully kempt. Green as the Aegean sea. And in plain view of pretty much everyone in Eagle Rock.
“Oh, sweetie,” I said, “I don’t think so. That’s too public.”
“What’s public? ” she whined, crossing her legs.
Before I could answer she grabbed my hand and started to pull me to the curb. “I have to pee! Now, Mommy!”
Sighing, I looked up and down the street. No cars. Maybe if we raced.
I picked her up and sped across the pavement to the grass. Plopping her down, I pulled her skirt and leggings around her ankles and barked “you’re going to have to be quick.”
She squatted, naked extremities exposed for all of L.A. to see. Pee started coming. Cars, too. Lots of them. A light must have changed. Great.
I glanced back down. She was peeing all over her skirt. Shit. Shitshitshit.
“Mama!” MJ wailed. “It got on my clothes!”
“I know. It’s OK.”
“No!” She stopped urinating. “Take my skirt off!”
“Take all of my clothes off! Except for my shirt! And my sweater!”
“All of them?” Jesus. I shot a look up and down the road again. Cars everywhere. This was not good. “Can’t we just –”
Groaning, I stripped her down. Leggings, then skirt, then sneakers. In that utterly impractical order. She was now almost completely naked. On either side of us, the river of cars seemed to slow to a trickle, dammed by the visual logjam of my daughter’s pale butt. Not to mention mine. Because it was hanging out as well. This happens when you’re bending over a squatting child. In too small jeans. That are low-rise. I know. I haven’t had time to shop in years…
Anyway. MJ squatted, finally unencumbered, and went back to relieving herself.
And immediately peed on her bare feet. She shrieked.
“Forget it!” I snapped. “They’ll dry in the breeze.”
MJ glanced up at me, considered my expression, and went quiet. This seemed to improve her aim some. Thank God.
When she finally finished I stood her up, blocking her as best I could from the eyes of passing voyeurs. Singing “let’s get you to the car now!” I gathered her into my arms.
Too late, I realized that my own shirt was now wet. Medians these days. No toilet paper. Ugh.
And so we drove home, me in my damp sleeves and her in…nothing much at all. As we sped up the hill to get to my house, I prayed only that we wouldn’t meet the same cop I’d been ticketed by the week before. I really didn’t want to have to explain this one.
Needless to say, I stopped at every sign.