On Mother’s Day after the fish tacos have been devoured, the brownies mobbed and the last of the freshly squeezed lemonade drunk, the boy is tucked in and snoring. He’s zonked out after running amok on Balboa Island. There’s sand in his shoes, waves, seagulls, seashells – and the first surfers he’s ever seen in his entire life – in his memories – I’m sure.
I look back at the last few and I can’t pat myself on the back. I have not been an exemplary parent. I love my kid. I would lie down on train tracks and allow myself to be cut in two if need be, I would, so I don’t question my devotion but I do question my execution of parenting. I have sucked at much of it.
Two weeks ago it was blazingly hot – 89 degrees. I took Kamran for a swim in the association pool. You can see the pool from our balcony. It’s outside surrounded by palm trees, bird of paradise, bougainvilla.
Five minutes in after a little bit of splashing, a few kicks and dunks and Kamran said “Ami I have to go potttyyyy.” Uh-huh. We ran to the woman’s loo. The bloody door was locked. Threw myself at the men’s door. Locked.
I know what you’re thinking. Lady, if you can see the pool from your balcony why didn’t you just go home? Well, my kid is 34 months old and his bladder is the size of a walnut. I’m trying to instill confidence in his peeing abilities.
I pulled off his swim trunks. Off came the Lightning McQueen swim diaper. “Pee in the bushes, Kamran.” He looked aghast. He looked around. Embarrassed. Shy. Again, he’s not even three years old. He’s 3 feet tall. He peed. Then he looked at me. The words they haunt me. “I have to go pottyyy.”
“You just did.”
“I have to go POTTY!” Urgent. Afraid. He started to crouch. Oh. Dear. God. I. Will. Never. Make. It. To. My. House. And I didn’t bring a spare diaper with me because he never poops at this time of day. And he can hold his pee in no problem. So I did what anyone would do.
I held him in my arms, facing me. Plup. Plulp. Plop. (Don’t judge, dogs do it.) He pooped in front of a bird of paradise bush while I frantically scanned the nearby condos for the neighbours.
If someone saw me, a brown-skinned woman with long black hair and a nose-ring, holding a squatting, half-naked kid pooping on the flowers, they’d think we were fresh off the boat and call the authorities. I had a plastic bag (for wet towels) and I scooped up his scat.
Kamran was very proud when it was all over. I couldn’t run home fast enough with my pantless child and the small bag of his warm poo. He yabbered the whole way: “Ami I didn’t poop in my diaper. I’m a big boy. I pooped on the gwass. I pooped on the pwetty p’lowers.”
“Shh. Be quiet.”
“I’m a big boy! I pooped outside. Ami I pooped outside.”
“Yes you did. Good job. We’ll talk about it at home.”
“I pooped at the pool! There's a mo'cycle! I want to colour. I tell Daddy I pooped at the pool.” ‘
“Yes I heard you the first 15 million times you told me.”
Where is he hiding a megaphone in those chubby adorable hands?
I look at him and see his wonder and joy at his accomplishment. Such small things bring him pleasure.
My challenge is to…. Well, my challenge is to appreciate Kamran’s joy, his simplicity as well as his complexities and uniqueness and his purity and sweetness. But mostly my challenge is to stop (him from screaming that he did his business outside) and trying to be the Perfect Parent. There’s no such thing. There’s no schedule. There’s no statistic. So I take back what I said. I don’t suck. I’m just me. I’m Amber.
I certainly can’t predict every bowel movement no more than I can predict every skinned knee and every subsequent tear drop. But I would certainly like to be there for as many tickles, giggles, hugs, and kisses as possible with My Kamran. Happy Mother's Day toute le monde.