One day, we will remember why it is that we don’t go out for dinner much. But inevitably we forget, and we have a, “Hey, we haven’t been out for dinner as a family for weeks–months, actually. Shall we go?”-“Oh, yes, darling, what a great idea!” conversation. And about 10 minutes in, as one of us restrains Ender, while the other apologizes profusely to the waitstaff–or the poor unfortunates seated next to us–and Cinder and Flora clean up the mess, we swear–never again. We are never, ever going out with the toddler, ever, ever again.
(Do not, by the way, share your “Eating in restaurants with toddlers” tips with me. I don’t need them. I had two civilized, distractible, entertainable toddlers who were absolutely amazing in restaurants. Now I have Ender. This, incidentally, is karma, for every time I cast a superior glance at the mother with the freaking out toddler and wondered why she didn’t just bring books, crayons, and funky toys into the restaurant to amuse her child with.)
(The answer to that last query, if you’re eating out with Ender, is that there is no toy that cannot be turned into a projectile, with the right–er, wrong–motivation.)
Anyway–it happened again. We forgot, we were hungry, we went to the restaurant. I’ll spare you the theatrics (although if I could do justice to the spectacle of Ender standing on his head on his chair and then wiggling his butt left-and-right while making farting sounds, I would)–the end-tail of the meal featured Sean putting the Ender into a full-Nelson and manhandling him out of the restaurant while I ordered the desert promised to Cinder and Flora “to go” (sigh), and Nana paid for the meal, clearly thinking we should be saving our money for therapy. While we wrapped up the meal (tip for dining out with Enders: leave huge tips. Huuuuuuggggggeeeee TTTTIIIIPPPPSSS), Sean occupied Ender in the parking lot of the restaurant. Which meant, of course, playing in the van. Or so I thought.
And you needed all of the preceding so that you could understand this:
Ender: Mama! You back! I peed in the van!
Jane: Oh, that’s great darling. We’re all here, let’s load up and…
Sean: That’s great? He tells you he peed in the van, and you say that’s great?
Jane: I thought he said he played in the van… Oh, Ender, you peed in the van? Where?
Ender: On the seat. Right here! Now I have no pants. You pack more pants for me?
Sean (moaning): Right on the seat. We are never, ever, ever going to sell this van.
(Mostly irrelevant aside: we’re trying to sell the van. Live in Calgary and want a 2009 Pontiac Montana? Have I got a deal for you! Freshly shampooed and everything!)
Ender: Never, ever, ever ever going to sell this van! Because! I! I! I! Peed! On! The! Seat!
So we drive Nana home, scandalize her neighbours by having half-naked Ender prance down the street to her house, and spend a little time letting Ender vandalize her house while Cinder and Flora watch the last part of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Nana’s nice big television screen. And then it’s time to go home–with the Ender partially panted this time, sporting a fashionable doo-hickey fashioned out of a swimsuit. Now, Ender’s not great in the car–that whole restrained-while-sitting-down-when-he’d-rather-be-climbing-on-the-roof thing just doesn’t go over very well–so we generally need to take turns entertaining him, singing with him, playing games with him, and otherwise trying to distract his attention from the fact that he’s strapped into the receptacle of torture (aka the car seat) and, once he kicks his shoes off, unable to pelt anyone with anything for the duration of the ride.
And the preceding (as well as the entire earlier vignette) is all a build-up just for this:
Ender: Can you sing me the P & C song, Mama?
Jane: What? I… I don’t think I know that song, Enderini.
Ender: Oh, it’s a very rare song. I sing it. I! Peed! In! The! Seat! I! Peed! In! The! Seat!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, why we love him beyond all pale of reason, despite everything.
Photo: Ender’s latest potty
(I know there have been an awful lot of pee stories lately. I apologize. Tis the season, and soon it will pass, and I will never, ever have another potty story to inflict upon you.)