I knew it would probably happen at some point, which is why we were prepared.
And then I knew it did happen, because one day I picked up a child from camp who was wearing a pair of green and orange neon plaid shorts with a bright red Angry Birds t-shirt.
“Ummm, that’s an interesting outfit,” I said as nonchalantly as I could as he climbed into the car.
“Yeah, I had to change because I had an accident,” he mumbled under his breath before excitedly launching into a detailed retelling of the conversation that he and his friend had on their banana phones at snack time.
But all I heard was the accident part.
In the past when this had happened, I’d tried different approaches. I’d most often been Comforting Mom (hugs and kisses will fix this!). Occasionally, I was Scientific Mom (nope, no bladder infection but you haven’t really lived until you’ve taken 3 children into a bathroom at the doctor’s office and asked one of them to pee in cup while the others cheered him on excitedly). And once or twice, though it pains me to admit it, I’d been Angry Mom.
Because even though Rational Mom knows that this is TOTALLY normal, that this happens to ALL kids, that he is just FINE, every once in a while Crazy Mom swoops in. And Crazy Mom is convinced that she must fix this immediately lest he end up the only freshman in his college dorm who needs Pull-ups in size 18T because Crazy Mom is well, crazy.
So this time, I thought to myself, pushing the Crazy down as far as I could, I’d be Cool Mom. Easy, Breezy Mom. Relatable Mom. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Of course, it helps to actually BE cool if you’re going to take this tactic.
But this was no time to get bogged down by details. I’d just have to wing it with my limited understanding of coolness. Let’s see… Cool Moms definitely don’t overreact. Cool Moms probably bake cookies. Cool Moms probably tell funny stories. Cool Moms exude a Cool Vibe that is so irresistible to children that they can not help but be swept up down the Cool River of Understanding.
So I whipped up a batch of my famous quinoa cranberry protein bars (so Cool, right?), poured two icy glasses of lemonade (literally Cool!), and invited my sweet boy over to the couch, a normally crumb-free zone (how Cool is that?).
“So, you want to hear something funny that happened to Mom?”
“Yo mean the time you got sprayed by the skunk and then you had to go to the store to get the stuff that makes you not smell like skunk and everyone was saying ‘Oooh, it smells like a skunk in here!”
“How about the time you fell down in a mud puddle when you were out running and ripped your shorts…”
“NO!” I interrupted, feeling a little warm under my Cool Collar. Deep breath….
“A different story,” I replied gently, regaining my Cool Composure. And I proceeded to tell, in great detail, the story of how when Mom was working in TV news there were often times when we were out in the field for many hours away with no bathroom in sight, and how on one of these occasions when Mom was 6 months pregnant with a future Broadway star tap dancing on her bladder, Mom had been holding it ALL freaking day in the back of a live truck while staking out a house in the middle of nowhere, and Mom had even briefly considered asking the cops if it might be OK to cross the yellow crime scene tape just for the briefest of moments to use the suspected meth lab’s toilet since there is no real way for a giant pregnant woman in a maternity suit to discretely squat down in a field without having Mom end up the unwilling star of someone’s viral YouTube video, and there was no field to squat down in anyway, so when the police finally came out of the house for a press conference and Mom stood up that’s when gravity reared its ugly head so if your’e wondering why Mom’s blazer was tied around her waist during those live shots, there’s your answer.
We shared a good laugh and I gave my Cool Self a mental high-five.
“And so you see,” I continued Cooly, “Everyone has accidents. Even Mom! I just want you to know that it is totally OK that you peed in your pants today. It happens!”
He furrowed his little brow and looked at me with utter confusion in his green eyes.
“Mom! I didn’t pee in my pants. I was washing my hands after art and got water all over my shorts. It was an accident.” He grabbed a bar, downed the rest of his lemonade, and headed toward the basement to play.
“But cool story!”
Mona Shand is a former TV and radio news reporter who currently works in public relations. She and her husband and their 3 children live in Brighton. You can read more on her blog.