The thing is, I know better. I have been a parent long enough to know that if you are going to give instructions to your child, they need to be clear and detail every single step you expect them to accomplish. The belief in my parenting awesomeness has made me lax.
We were out in the front yard at about 11 am finishing up some yard decorations and lights. My daughter told me she had to go to the bathroom, no problem. I told her to go on inside and compete her transaction, tip the waitress and come on back. In the meantime, I would complete the fire hazard that I was constructing in the front yard.
I think of my lights and Christmas decorations as a fire beacon, to shine forth in the darkness of night to give travelers and extra star to navigate by. My star just happens to contain multicolored lights that rock out to “Carol of the Bells.” God thinks it’s cool.
A few minutes later, Little Hoss comes back out of the house. There were a million things that could have gone wrong with my instructions to her earlier to go potty. She could have come inside and crapped on the floor as I didn’t specify that she should actually go to the bathroom. She could have peed in a cup, then went upstairs and splashed it all over the walls. She could have gotten on the phone, called all her friends, they could have all come over and had a pee everywhere slumber party.
All those things might have been preferable to what actually did happen. As she was walking out of the garage to come rejoin the family, she was naked. Well, almost naked. She had on her winter pink hat that she loves so much. That was it. My stark naked little girl in a little pink hat walking toward the sidewalk.
My one big responsibility in life is to keep my daughter off the pole. That’s it, that’s my job. Whatever else may happen, if I keep her from being a stripper named Candy, then I have done my job as a father. However, public displays of nakedness is not a good start.
She makes it all the way to the sidewalk before I can get over there. Let me tell you, and as a father and a man I’m very aware of this, you do not want to be seen chasing a toddler down the street as she is screaming. That is a very, very bad idea. There is no way in hell you are ever going to convince anyone that you are not a pedophile. You might as well go ahead and pick out your paint swatches for your brand new cell that you will share with Bubba the Ass Pounder.
I quickly turn her around and ask, of course, “What the hell?”
“I go potty, Daddy.” She says.
“Yes, I’m sure you did and it was a very good potty indeed.” It’s always important to be encouraging even in times of crisis. “Now go inside and get your pants and big girl panties.” I say
Do you see it. Do you see the fatal flaw in my instructions? Any normal person would assume that I said Go PUT your pants and big girl panties on then you can come back outside to enjoy in this family moment that we are having. But I didn’t say that. I said just to go get them.
And that’s what she did. She went inside, got her big girl panties and her pants, did not put them on, then came right back outside buck naked.
“Daddy, Daddy, I got my big girl panties!” She screams. Then she streaked across the neighbors front yard as I chased her. This is so not good.
Again, God Damnit.