trial by pee

July 28, 2012 | 45 Comments


Another one from my archives. I promise not to cheat and do this all the time, but I’ve been reading old posts because it’s inspiring me to write. Except for the part where instead of writing, I cut and paste.

This episode was hella frustrating at the time, but chuckle-worthy today. From comments left on this entry when I originally wrote it, my favourite is: “Wow Shanz. You are my hero. Some are tested by fire, you were tested by pee.”

Two things you need to know: 1) The McLarens are our best friends who we shared a duplex with in Alberta. 2) Ferris was our 6-month old puppy at the time and Lilli was the McLaren’s 4-month old puppy.

April 29, 2009

I had just been telling Todd and Cindy over supper tonight how much Emma’s been lying lately. And convincingly, too. She told me the other day she had to sit out of gym because she didn’t have proper shoes. I was secretly outraged. I had mentally constructed an email to her PE teaching pointing out that 6-year olds are not olympic athletes requiring ergonomically sound gear.

Thankfully, that well-researched, rational email never got sent. A week later Emma told me the same lie, and this time she giggled and her whole story came crashing down. I had to explain the difference between a joke and a lie… one of the differences being ALLOWING SOMEONE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE YOU, my sweet child.

This morning I sent her down to have breakfast while I was blowdrying my hair. When I asked if she had eaten, she said she had.

“What did you have, Em?”

“Oh, I already cleaned it up. I put my dishes in the sink.”

“Well, where are your dishes then?” I asked, looking into the empty sink.

“Oh, the dishwasher, I mean. I put them in the dishwasher.”

“The dishwasher is empty.”

“Okay, I didn’t eat. I’m not hungry.”

“THEN JUST SAY THAT. I mean, just say that next time, please, sweet angel child.”

Tonight after we finished supper at the McLaren’s house, Emma saw her neighbour friend, Zoe, outside and decided to join her. I knew she returned to our house a couple of times because she needed to put better shoes on and because I kept hearing our door slam.

I had left Ferris in his kennel at home, not wanting to deal with the craziness of the Lilli-Ferris show. Emma finished playing with Zoe after about an hour and came back over to the McLaren’s. We cleaned up and said our goodbyes and made the long trek home across the driveway. As we reach our door, Emma casually tells me one of the times she was in the house she could tell Ferris had to pee, so she let him out, but he didn’t quite make it.

I froze on the porch. “Pardon?”

“Ferris peed on the floor.”

“And you’re just telling me now?”

“Well, I was busy.”

I walked in to find a trail of pee from the back door to the bathroom near Ferris’ kennel. The concentration of the puddle near the kennel/bathroom and the high-velocity pee spatter suggested the perpetrator peed, realized he or she was peeing, attempted to contain said pee, then rushed to the door where the pee fizzled off.

I turned on the bathroom light to find a larger puddle of pee covering most of the bathroom mat. Puzzling, considering the amount of urine from the first puddle was sufficient enough to have emptied one bladder.

“Emma, are you sure Ferris did this?” I mean, the kid is her mother’s child, after-all. On a number of occasions we have both been known to hold it so long we barely (or don’t, in Emma’s case) make it to the toilet because we CAN’T MISS OUT ON ANY FUN. What if we pee and that’s when THE MOST FUN HAPPENS? WHAT IF.

“Yes. Ferris peed.”

“Okay, but did you pee, too?”

Her friend Zoe had given her some gum, and Emma was chewing it like she’s The Shit. Oddly, this was helping her case, making her seem really legit. But, fuck, it just didn’t make any sense. I pressed on, baffled. “Emma, did you hold it so long you peed? This is a lot of pee.”

“Well,” chew, chew, smack, chew, “ya. I peed.”

And Ferris peed?”


“You and Ferris both peed on the floor and you didn’t come and tell me and then you went and played with Zoe and lied to me about it just now.”

“Well. It was an accident.”

“The pee was an accident, sure. But you lied. Again. For the fourth time in two days. How did this happen? Why did you let Ferris out of his kennel? Why didn’t you open the door in time? Why did you lie? THERE IS SO MUCH PEE ON THE FLOOR. PEE. PEE. EVERYWHERE PEE. YOU LIED, EMMA. LIED.”

I thought my head was going to pop off and land in the pee, causing more spatter I’d also have to clean… FUCKING HEADLESS. I was losing my shit, man.

“Emma, go upstairs and get ready for bed, please. There will be no bedtime stories tonight. And not because you peed on the floor. Or because Ferris peed on the floor. But because you lied about it. This is very serious, Emma. And now I have a lot of pee to clean up, so please go now.”

The gum smacking stopped and she was suddenly my little Emma again. “But there are always stories, mama. I want stories. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT.”

“Lying isn’t an accident. Go, please. I’ll be up in a minute to tuck you in.”

She cried all the way up the stairs and all through the disrobing and rerobing and tooth brushing and hair combing. Bawling like it was all over and nothing would ever be the same. Meanwhile, a clench-jawed me was mopping up the floor. I put Ferris out on his leash at one point to find that Emma’s piddle started on the lower back deck and continued up the stairs to the upper deck into the landing of the back door and onto Steve’s flip flops (which I had put on to tie up Ferris while I cleaned up the mess). GAH. PEE SUCKS. I HATE PEE. That was my mantra as I mopped.

I knew it was funny. At least I knew it would be, at some point. JUST NOT FUCKING NOW.

I climbed into bed with her and held her while she continued to sob and settle into the post-trauma hiccups. I assured her I loved her and always would, but she needed to know how serious it is to break trust. We talked about her favourite parts of today and I made her laugh and scrunch up her tear-stained face. I kissed her on the head and told her telling the truth is sometimes hard, but always important.

I came downstairs to consult my Parenting Manual to confirm I had mostly fucked up, as usual, but got a few points for effort.

Wow. Thank god we don’t have carpet downstairs.

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