We live in what I like to think of as a fairly nice part of the Dallas metroplex. It's no Highland Park, mind you, which is the Beverly Hills of our city and probably our state, but it's an upscale, tony area referred to mostly by people who live here as "West Plano". If you are from anywhere other than West Plano, you simply say you live in Plano, but if you are on the west side, well, you let people know you live on the west side.
Put it this way, when I went to pick up Aria at school the other day, I fell into step behind a girl heading to retrieve her preschooler dressed head to toe in Chanel. Chanel. On a Tuesday. At a preschool. Me, I was head to toe in sweats accessorized with colorful barf, pureed sweet potatoes in my hair, baby on my hip, flip flops on my unpedicured feet, and girlfriend was in Chanel. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having designer pieces. I've been known to have an obsession or two (can you say Tory Burch?), but really? Chanel as everyday wear? Only in Plano. Make that, West Plano. You get the point.
Which is why my tony, upscale neighbors were probably somewhat surpised to see my two-year-old drop her drawers and pee on my front lawn yesterday.
It was five-ish pm, when everyone is getting home from work and school, taking the dogs out for walks, congregating and socializing on the sidewalk. In other words, the absolute worst time for this to happen. As for me, I just so happened to be talking on the phone when this occurred to the very same friend from the previous post to whom I had declared a Code Brown. This time, however, I had to holler we were having a Code Yellow and I've got to go right now. She probably wonders why we're running so many codes over at our house, but as the parent of a not-yet-two-year-old son, I promise you, dear friend, your days of the multicolored emergencies are on their way.
So as it went, I decided that this situation was the perfect time to discuss Manners with my preschooler. Cue the Brady Bunch music.
We sat down eye-to-eye, and I asked her, "Aria, where did you get the idea that it was okay to peepee in the front yard"? Now, you might think this was a loaded question and I was setting her up to rat out Daddy, to which I could jump up and yell, "A-Ha!" (think Steve Martin in The Pink Panther), and you would be right. So imagine my total shock when she solemnly answered me, "You, Mommy".
What? Me? I would never. I mean never. Ever. Encourage my child to peepee in public, much less on the front yard. Not when my counterparts are Chanel-wearing-to-pick-your-kid-up-from-school kinds of mommies. My brain screamed negative thoughts, Bad Mommy! Bad Mommy! How could this have happened? Where did I go wrong? I was a debutante for goodness sakes. And I live in West Plano. Haven't I done everything by the Book? (The book being the Bless Your Heart, Don't You Want to Raise a Perfect Southern Daughter with Manners Book. It exists, people, believe me. So what if its only in the minds and on the tongues of all us mothers trying to cultivate proper comportment in our voiding-in-the-front-yard daughters? I'm telling you, that book is real, and my child just mocked it).
But then Aria, responding to my shock with the subtle frustration and eye rolling of an almost-three-year-old who would rather go play than have this discussion right now, said simply, "Mommy, I go in the potty all day long. I wanted to go somewhere different".
Oh. Huh. So that was it? It's not about me? It isn't a Bad Mommy moment? It's just a kid wanting to try something different. And, guess what? I get that.
Now, I know I'm going to need to work on reconciling her being a child and wanting to try new things, with the Book. But my deep southern roots, coupled with the fear of the wrath of Chanel Mommy seeing another child potty in the front yard required me to insist on a compromise: Aria Grace, if you want to do something out of the ordinary, I want you to feel free, I want you to spread your wings and test new waters. But please, please next time, do it in the backyard? :)