Children cannot cease but find new ways to embarrass their parents. Alice, our 4-year-old, actually is not that bad but there was certainly, shall we say, a public incident, while on holidays. We were staying in this lovely old country house and we had got this great big inflatable pool out the back. The kids were hopping in and out all day long and we had allowed them to take up the habit of peeing on the grass behind a tree (rather than run across the hard stone floors inside while wet). Alice’s older cousin, who is a boy, stayed for a week and she started copying him, learning that she could pee standing up if she was wearing just her swimsuit.
Anyway, on the last day of the holidays we drove for 6 hours straight back to Paris. The kids were wrecked from being couped up all day in the car so I took Alice and Tristan, our 1 year old, out to the little park beside the apartment block. There was a small playground, too big for Tristan, too small for Alice but they still played there. As Alice was climbing up the ladder to the slide, she froze, clenching her legs together. “Daddy. I need to go to the toilet.” She looked like she was about to pee right there and then. Okay, okay, I thought. I lifted her down and said “we just have to go out of the park and up the lift. You can hold it that long can’t you?” She nodded her head while biting her lip. I picked up Tristan and started strapping him into the buggy when Alice called out “Daddy, I can pee her!”. She was pointing to a small patch of grass, outside the little playground, beside the very public pavement through the park.
“No Alice. We just have to walk over there and go up the lift.” So I went back to strapping Tristan in and then I looked again over at Alice. She had pulled her trousers and panties down to her feet and was about to try peeing standing up. Two mothers, who were sitting on a bench while their own children played, were in fits of laughter. Of course, I couldn’t pass it off with a witty comment because my pidgin French is awful. I had to finish with Tristan and then pull up Alice’s trousers and walk off with my bright red cheeks. Arg.