A toddler who needs to stop to pee in crowded downtown Chicago on a friday night on the way to your brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner can turn that ride into a circus sideshow.
Ryan, his mom, Leighton, Mairin and I packed into the minivan for the brief trip from Navy Pier to Maggiano's. As soon as the last seat-belt clicked, Lei informed us that she had to pee. I said, "We will be there in five minutes. You can pee at the restaurant.
Traffic was horrendous and we made a wrong turn. A series of wrong turns and one-way streets led us a bit north. The whole time, Leighton was calmly repeating that she needed a rest stop.
Mairin started crying.
Lei's volume increased. "I have to go potty. I have to go potty." In a sing-songy cadence.
The radio was on. (Don't ask me why).
My mother-in-law dug frantically for an address.
My husband began sweating.
I focused on breathing in my nose and out of my mouth. I was feeling car sick.
Finally, it became obvious that Lei felt she needed more attention. "I HAVE TO PEE DAMMIT. DAMMIT I HAVE TO PEE. DAMMIT. DAMMIT. DAMMIT."
We stopped at a restaurant and Grandma whisked Lei out of her seat. We were parked around the corner from the entrance (another one-way situation) so we couldn't readily see that this particular restaurant was closed.
Grandma came back twelve minutes later, sweating, carrying Lei in heels, back aching because the toddler insisted on being carried the five block trek to find a suitable potty and Grandma obliged.
Ryan's brother was married in July (feel free to go back and reread that knowing it was 85 degrees outside). Until yesterday, I had forgotten about that car ride and how we spent the remainder of it trying not to laugh at Leighton's proper use of such a naughty word.
Yesterday afternoon, Lei was goofing around on a chair and knocked over my external hard drive. As it crashed to the floor I yelled "Dammit Leighton". She happily skipped around the house yelling "Dammit Leighton" for the next five minutes.
I no longer have to guess as to where she learned that word.