Finding places to entertain little ones during the winter months in a non-urban part of the Northeastern US requires creativity and an adventurous soul. With freezing temperatures the standard, the grocery store and Wal-Mart have only limited appeal to two-year olds.
One place that I discovered has become a big hit with the kids. It is a recreation area that features a small indoor education center and outdoor hiking trails; complete with a water area that attracts lots of critters. Even on chilly days, we can entertain ourselves there for hours—using the indoor area to warm-up after rock throwing, stick collecting, and more physical events like tag or modified hide-and-seek. The indoor part of the park is also wonderful in that rarely do we see anyone else there—other than the maintenance staff.
Last week, I had the brother and sister at our recreation area and we had just finished pushing every button, flipping all switches, and otherwise doing everything allowed in the museum area. As kids are prone to do, the pungent fumes alerted me that it was now time to change diapers. Fortunately, this indoor area also has the elusive treasure rarely available to many dads—the infant/toddler changing area located in the men’s bathroom. Much easier than changing diapers in a vehicle, the folding plastic changing table is a welcome site for dealing with those smelly emergencies.
The little girl’s diaper appeared to be the worst, so I placed her on the small table, strapped her in, and began the changing process. While working on the soiled diaper, the little boy (whose behavior I have described as resembling a dumpster fire) peered into every toilet wanting badly to touch the water, turned all of the water faucets on, and was trying to extract enough paper towels for a small village of children to use.
As he cheered for more paper towels, the park’s education director entered. I had met him several years ago, but he did not recognize me. Since my hands were covered in unappealing matter, I decided that this was not the proper time to reintroduce myself and offer a handshake. Instead, I corralled the destructive boy in the area where I was working and focused on the task at hand. To try to make the guy at ease, I joked, “Whew--this one really needed a diaper change.”
The director smiled looked unsure of what to do next, but then walked over to one of the urinals and began doing what he had entered the restroom to do. Meanwhile, the little girl was still lying on the changing table. The table was located on a wall that ran parallel to the line of urinals. I was trying to distract her as much as possible while getting the diaper changed and fending off little brother who wanted more water play time, when the little girl said. “Daddy, look that man over there is peepeeing!”
I tried to block her view of the man, but I could not finish the change and stand in front of her head, so after a few moments I went back to fastening the new diaper. She said again, “Dad, that guy is peepeeing.” I am sure the guy had one of those realizations that “boy did I screw-up, I should have went into a stall to do this;” especially with the little girl in plain sight lying in changing area table. Anyway, he finished his work in record time and barely got his pants buttoned and hands washed before fleeing the bathroom--red-faced and all.
I had a good laugh over the episode. As I thought about what happened, it was uncomfortable for me, but even more awkward for the education director just trying to relieve himself with a little one over his shoulder giving a play-by-play account of the urinating incident. The little girl was unfazed and I am sure is waiting patiently to announce the potty habits of the next poor guy that she sees to the world.
I am a thirty-something married sleep-deprived Christian with little ones who uses this blog as an outlet. Growing up in a military family, I got to see a few different parts of the US. I am much more comfortable being in the South, but currently reside North of the Mason-Dixon Line. I spent almost a decade as the police and enjoy discussing law enforcement and crime.
I regularly blog-surf and enjoy reading the works of other talented writers.
I usually post four or more times per week.
Some of my regular topics are:
--Missing Person Monday
--You-Tube Video of the Week
Scheduled postings are subject to change due to weather, time constraints, mood, or whim...