Wednesday, November 29, 2006

homeless people

I haven't told my husband this story yet.
If you're reading my blog, you probably already know that Dyami and I practice something called Elimination Communication with Lucia. This isn't as complicated as it sounds--mostly it just means taking her to a sink/toilet when she has to go to the bathroom, and having her do her business there, rather than in a diaper.
It's what they do in India and China. All those billions of people can't be wrong, right?
Anyway, we got the idea from my brother and sister-in-law, Jamie and Evelyn. Their daughter is two and a half and has never worn a diaper.
Evelyn is taller than Jamie, with curly brown hair and the kindest almond-shaped eyes. She is very calm. So calm that when her daughter needed to pee at Disneyland, Evelyn dropped Ava's shorts and had her do it in the planter.
They recently visited, and I was impressed by Evelyn's calm, her quiet revolution in Ava's pants. Dyami loves Evelyn and respects her, but he's not so into the public urination.
That's why I haven't told him this story yet.
Fast-forward to a walk I took with Lucy. I had her asleep in a sling, and knew, setting out, that she was probably going to wake up, and possibly be upset. But being me, I just had to go out for a walk around the block. Half of our block is taken up by a nice-looking apartment complex, trees, lawn, pool and buildings.
Lucy woke up right outside the rental office. And needed to nurse. Not just when we got home. Right then.
We were passing by the sign for the apartment, which is a low stucco half-wall. I took her out of the sling, (I hadn't figured out how to nurse her in it yet). And sat behind the half-wall and whipped out the boob. She latched on okay, but started wiggling and crying again almost immediately.
See, when she wakes up from a nap, she always has to pee. And she often gets very upset when she has to pee in her pants.
"What would Evelyn do?" I asked myself. So I dropped Lucy's trou and tried to make her pee against the wall.
What I hadn't considered is that the half-wall was relatively hidden from the street, but was right in view of the rental office.
After a minute, a nicely coiffed woman comes out of the office and crosses the lawn. "Can I help you?" she asked.
Lucy's still squirming, crying, and not peeing. I think she doesn't like the wind up her shorts. "We're fine," I said.
She comes towards me and sits on the half-wall. Looks at us in disbelief. I'm making my daughter pee on the wall. She can't be okay with this, I think.
"Do you live here?" she asks.
I point over the hill. "Right in those houses over there."
"What are you doing?" she asks.
"My daughter needed to pee, so I'm letting her pee." (People get arrested for this, I think).
"Doesn't she have a diaper?"
I lamely pat the cotton prefold I dropped on the lawn. I try for an authoritative, 'I'm not crazy ' tone. "If we're bothering you, ma'm, we can leave."
"I was just worried about what you were doing to her," she said. "I was sitting in the office over there--I'm the manager--and saw you feeding her, and thought that was okay, but I didn't know what you were doing when you took off her diaper. I was worried."
Lucy's wiggling, wiggling. Crying. Still not peeing. What am I doing to my child? "It's what they do in China and India," I say.
"China and India," she repeats. You can clearly see she knows I am crazy.
We keep talking for a minute more--her staring at my daughter's dropped pants, me trying to see if Lucy has peed. On this nice lady's sign. I manage to convince her a) I'm not crazy, b) not a vagrant, c) not harming my daughter.
Finally, the manager gets up, smiles at me, and walks away. "Have a good day," she says.
I'm amazed she was so nice.
Finally, I gave up on Lucy peeing outside like Ava. "Sorry, baby," I said, wrapping her back up. "We're like the homeless people."
I haven't attempted peeing her outside a bathroom again. See, honey, I learned my lesson.


Melissa said...

Don't you love those "what AM I doing to my child?" moments?

I wonder how the dinner conversation went at the rental office manager's house that night. "So she says, 'India and China,' and I'm thinking..."

Heather said...

totally! I would have loved to be the fly on the wall at her house.