Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adventures In Potty Training

I grew up camping. It was what we considered our summer vacation. Four of us loaded into an overstuffed El Camino, me sitting on the floor board between my mom's feet (pinkie slammed in the car door before we even pulled out of the driveway on one occasion), the rear end of the vehicle sagging under the weight of all the necessary camping paraphernalia required for a family of four. Looking back, I'm not exactly sure how my mom and dad duped my brother and I into thinking these "summer vacations" were the bee's knees. On these getaways we were routinely attacked by chiggers, forced to sleep on hard, uneven, rocky ground and subjected to horrendous heat and humidity with little refuge from the blazing sun all the while our friends were jet setting to exotic, air-conditioned locations like Florida and the beaches of the Carolinas. Still, those trips to Comlara made for some great memories.

There was one exception to the general bliss of camping. I had issues with the "facilities" offered to those poor souls not equipped with the luxury of a camper sporting a flushable toilet as one of its amenities. Us tent campers were left with two options back in the day - load up the troops and drive all the way up to the beach house or walk to the nearest outhouse. My parents requested that we rough it most of the time, initially refusing to drive to the bathroom when there was a perfectly good option right over there. The thing was, though, was that I had a strong adverse reaction to these outhouses. There were bugs - huge bugs - crawling everywhere, it stunk to high heaven, and the deep, dark depths which held the waste frightened me so, threatening to swallow me up at the first opportunity. As a five, six, or seven year old child that hole was the very essence of evil. I'm traumatized by these experiences to this day, my gag reflex triggered if I dwell on those memories too long.

So for the most part, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe my parents relented their stance on appropriate bathroom facilities and drove me to the beach house when nature called. Lest you think I'm not willing to rough it, I was not above using the natural screens of a group of trees as my personal restroom as well (during one trip my Grama suggested I use an empty gallon ice cream bucket when I balked at the thought of getting pee on my leg). Luckily when we camp these days we go with my parents who have upgraded their camping essentials from a few sleeping bags, a couple of (worthless) individual pool rafts, and a six man tent to a fully equipped camper that sleep six complete with outfitted kitchen, toilet, bath/shower, and a/c. I'm a pampered camper and there's no way I'm going back now.

So where is this story going? Oh yes, I remember. The girls and I, after cleaning out the garage this afternoon, hopped in the car for a little "adventure". We ended up at Goose Lake Prairie Park and Heidecke Lake. There was a very nice picnic and playground area where we spent the better part of an hour. The girls had a blast minus one "I'm peeing!" incident ten minutes after we arrived resulting in Punkin being stripped of her underwear and shorts right there in the open prairie. About twenty minutes after Punkin had her accident, she announced that she needed to pee again. Off we ran toward the nearest facilities.

Dun, dun, DUUUUUUN

Because I'm now a pampered camper, that means I'm also raising pampered campers. As a result, Punkin and Shortcake have not been forced to use bathrooms such as these on our camping trips. However, like any child in potty training mode, Punkin often feels it necessary to check out any and every bathroom wherever she goes. Upon immediate inspection, she was not impressed with this bathroom and refused to go. Knowing first hand her apprehension, I did not press the issue.

FYI: It was not until I was composing this post that I realized just how close Punkin's head was to the hole. For God's sake she's even gripping the seat with both hands. I'm gagging as I type this. No wonder she was grossed out. Putting your face that close to human excrement will do that to a person.

Being the problem solver that she is, Shortcake didn't skip a beat and suggested we try the bathroom a located a few yards north. That one looked slightly more rustic on the outside so I was not holding my breath (actually, yes I was. I'm telling you the flashbacks to my outhouse experiences are so vivid that they have got to be a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder) and figured it would be more of the same.

As I suspected, she wasn't having any part of this one either.

I'm not sure if her hands are over her ears or eyes, but if she knew what was good for her she'd be plugging her nose right now. Please also note that these pictures are taken from the doorway. I was fearful as to how I would react had Punkin been willing to use this bathroom. You should also note Punkin's see through shorts - after she peed in them I rinsed them out in the water fountain and made her wear them while still wet. Luckily I had a spare diaper in the car so I'm not even sure why I bothered with this whole bathroom break in the first place.

Needless to say, all potty trips were put on hold until we returned home. I believe both girls were sufficiently traumatized.

4 comments:

Munchkin said...

for their bladder's sake i hope they never have to spend the day at the shed with big bad...


right drunk?

The MC said...

Those are truly the most disgusting pictures I have ever seen. Like you, I have very traumatic memories of outhouses while camping, including one with a family of snakes living in the hole. EWWWW!

Tina said...

I was always afraid that something was going to jump up and bite me in the butt in those outhouses. Ew, ew, EW! Those pictures cracked me up - I can't believe Punkin was so brave to get so close!

G. P. said...

This is too funny! I can't believe they got that close to the "toilet"!! Sounds like you had a memorable trip!

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