photo Untitled-1_edited-1_zpsqkwzi3gd.jpg

April 12, 2012

Why I Will Never be Able to Show My Face in REI Again

Last night, we had the whole REI experience. Given that we're in the midst of planning several man v. wild-style trips this summer (in a tent, with two kids under three years of age, because we enjoy this particular level of insanity), getting some heavy-duty hiking boots for the hubs was a necessity that couldn't be overlooked.

After dinner, we packed the whole family up into the car and headed out to our local store for some good, old-fashioned fun. And after our toddler had thrown a pretty epic tantrum over not being able to play "fix-it" on the display bicycles, we eventually made it back to the footwear section of the store... which just so happened to be right next to the child-friendly play area. Hallelujah.

While my husband was searching for boots that would withstand the apocalypse, I took the toddler over into the play area and joined the throng of parents sitting on a bench, refereeing their offspring as they terrorized a plastic tree. Sitting there, I watched Nathaniel play happily, mentally congratulating myself on finding the one place in the store where my child could expend the kind of energy that I only wish that I had. And while sitting there in the midst of my reverie, it happened.

Nathaniel walked up to the top of the play stairs- directly in front of the gaggle of parents- and yelled out, MAMA! PEE-PEE IN UNDIES! At which point he proceeded to stand in front of the crowd and pee on the plastic tree.

Mortified that my quasi-potty trained toddler had gone rogue in public, I dashed up the stairs faster than you could say disinfectant and snatched up the little dude, quietly begging him to stop peeing so we could make it to the bathroom. We exited the play area as fast as humanly possible and made a beeline for the bathroom, pausing only to notify an REI employee that there was a slight problem with the plastic tree. Poor guy. I had to feel for him because he had no idea what I was saying until I spelled it out:

Employee: Can I help you?

Me: Yes, um... I'm so sorry, but my son just had an accident in the play area.

Employee: Oh no! You mean he fell?

Me: No. He had an accident... like urine.

Employee: Oh...

Me: Yeah, there's a puddle of pee at the top of the stairs.

My pronouncement of a "puddle" of urine was generally the point where the employee started to look really thrilled about the rest of his shift (which I later discovered was his first day on the job). My heart goes out to the employees wrangled into sopping my kids' pee from the floor of the tree. Ten points to the kid with wet shorts. Zero points to the tree.

So we rushed our way into the bathroom and sat on the potty where the little guy finished doing his business. The cleanup itself was even an adventure as it involved my toddler standing naked from the waist down as I washed out his pee-laden shorts and dried them enough to wear on the way home, though I seriously debated the merits of public nudity at that point.

And as we walked through the store after the toddler had been peed-out, I desperately tried not to make eye contact with any of the other parents who had been in the play area... you know, before my kid single-handedly closed it down. But despite it all, we were successful in our quest to find the hubs a new pair of boots, even if the experience itself means that I will never be able to show my face in that store again... at least until my son is potty trained, has his license, and no longer lives under my roof. And even then, I may have to go incognito.


  1. Clearly the employee is someone who doesn't have a child. Pee is for amateurs - now, had Nathaniel vomited goldfish crackers all over - THAT would be something for the employee to fear. Isn't it funny how your "gross out" threshold shifts when you become a parent?

    1. Beth, you're so right. It's amazing what doesn't gross me out anymore.

  2. Oh my goodness! I had to chuckle when I started reading this. What an adventure, and now you'll have a good story about Nataniel that he'll hear his whole life!

  3. O.M.G.... how funny! Similar thing happened to my cousin- while working outside, her husband peed on a tree. Their son also peed on said tree, and no one thought it was a big deal. Until they were in the pediatrician's office, which is decorated in a jungle theme. Her son peed on one of the "trees" painted on the walls!

    1. Oh boy... I could totally see that happening to us in the future, especially with all the camping trips that will undoubtedly involve some "tree peeing" this summer!

  4. Welcome to the club! You know those rides at the mall - little rocket ship, motor boat, bull, etc? At the same basic stage, my little Richard peed right there (fortunately on the floor, not IN a ride). I was mortified. Of course, no one is around in the Miller Hill Mall to help, so I mopped it up with some extra clothes I had in the diaper bag!
    I'm sure the REI people will be relating the tale for years to come. : )

    1. Oh I'm sure you're right... what a way to start that guy's first day, huh?