my worst public parenting moment

the other day i shared an awkward public parenting moment involving max and a loose tooth. every parent has these — misunderstandings of things that are said and done by children in public, that just sound terrible. well, the scenario with max the other day reminded jeannie and i of my worst public parenting moment…

liesl (my daughter) was about three years old. jeannie, liesl and i were at the santa anita mall, in arcadia, california, and stopped in the food court. liesl had to go potty, and this was the last time (as you’ll see) that i offered to take her. there were three men in the restroom — one was a worker, cleaning the sinks, and two were at the urinals. liesl and i proceeded into a handicapped stall (lots of room and all). she did her thing, and i decided i might as well take the opportunity myself also. i asked her to stand at the side while i pee’d. as soon as i was finished and was zipping my pants, liesl starting crying — loudly. screaming, really. i was already uncomfortable, having my daughter screaming in the stall of a men’s room. but when i asked her what was wrong, she started yelling, “you told me i could touch it! you told me i could touch your pee-pee!” horrified, i responded loudly, “no, honey, i NEVER said that! i would NEVER say that!” she continued: “you promised! you promised i could touch your pee-pee!”

i had no idea where this came from, and to this day i don’t. needless to say, the two men at the urinals rushed out, and when liesl and i exited the stall, the worker at the sinks wouldn’t even look up at us (not that i wanted him to). i took liesl back to jeannie in the food court and told her, “that was the last time i’m taking liesl to the restroom in a public place.” and it was.

16 thoughts on “my worst public parenting moment”

  1. oh my goodness, i think you should have used that for an illustration during your ‘humility’ talk at convention this year! i can’t stop laughing.

    poor, scarred liesl… she’s going to need years of therapy for that one!

  2. When my son was 3, we were in a very nice boutique kind of shop with lots of breakables. He was being AWESOME, and then he said that he had to go to the bathroom. The lady working told me that there was one in the back, so he took off. I hollered at him to wait for me. At that time, he turned around, pulled his pants down to his ankles, yelled out “do you see this penis? It’s full of pee pee and I am going NOW”. he proceeded to pee all over a fake tree that was standing in the store. When i asked him later why he would pee on the tree, he said that “papa always lets me pee on trees!” SURE… in the woods when they are hiking!!! not in boutiques! What a trip. gotta love those kids. thanks for making me not feel so alone!

  3. I’m dying right now. That’s one of the funniest things I heard in awhile. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Even the embarrassing stuff. So funny.

  4. My 3 year old took his dirty diaper off in a McDonald playplace and cleard th whole place out; but I have to say, you experience was much worse.

  5. That is really funny. It reminds me of a day 10 years ago when i was in LA with you and there was a song about God as the omnipotent one, and I asked why is God impotent in the US… hm

  6. Maybe having a two year old daughter right now doesn’t make that story as funny. Especially when I can picture it as something she would do. I had a hard time reading the story. Mortified might be closer to my reaction.

  7. That story was a wonderful blend of hilarity and horribleness all rolled up into one. I laughed really loud, though part of me is embarrassed to admit that.

  8. When my daughter was small she had trouble with her bowel movements. Consequently she would often groan and shout and holler during the process. Needless to say when it was Daddy’s turn to take her I would plead with the Lord for an empty men’s room. When she was a little older I would get her started then stand OUTSIDE the stall while the floor show went on.
    Never got over the embarassment.
    I feel for you brother!
    Jay

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