Since I am currently, like, four or five days behind on pulling photos off my camera, I thought I would take the opportunity to cross another post off my to-do list. So let us travel back almost a month, to Halloween weekend.
It was a brisk Saturday, and the whole fan-damily bundled up and headed northward to the barn where I take my horseback riding lessons. Soren was fairly newly potty trained; only a scant 8 days before, I'd despaired of being able to take him out of the house for longer than a couple of hours at best, sans diaper. But the previous weekend, he'd had his big breakthrough, so we packed the froggy potty in the back of the car, and off we went.
As you may know, that Saturday before Halloween (10/30/10), was the day that the Rally to Restore Sanity was held on the National Mall. A group of us were convening at Max & Agnes's that day and evening for some visiting. It was basically our old Friday night dinner crowd from Pasadena, minus Demetri; Alice down from Ashburn, ML out from Arizona, and even McQ out from wherever he's calling home these days. (We hadn't seen him since before we moved out here.)
The game plan went something like this. The rest of the group was going to wander down to the mall to check out the rally, if just for a bit. (The rally was actually McQ's primary motivation for making the trip out here, so he was planning to stay the whole time.) We'd go to the barn for my riding lesson, then drive straight to the city and meet up with them, perhaps take another walk down to the mall a bit later, toward the end of the rally.
All this is kind of a seemingly unnecessary build-up to the following point - There were a lot of people in the District that day, so we were expecting traffic to be heavier than usual. We expected parking spaces to be somewhat more scarce, figured we would probably end up in a parking garage a few blocks away from Max and Agnes's place. But when we failed to find a place on our barn-to-DC route to stop for a quick lunch and bathroom break, and then crawled our way through the north end of DC, then circled for - I swear - something like half an hour trying to find a place to park, Soren ended up sitting in his car seat for well over 90 minutes without having a potty accident! It was a minor miracle, especially given that he also fell asleep for a short while, and we hadn't yet had to tackle the whole napping-sans-diaper challenge. It was really quite impressive.
At long last, we found a place to park. In a metered space on the street. Because you know what? Washington, D.C., in all its freaking brilliance, closes most of its parking garages on the weekend. Inaccessible. It's as if they don't like making money, or something. So yeah, that was fun. But while we were circling (and circling, and circling), we listened to CSPAN Radio's broadcast of the rally, so we got to hear what was going on. Amusing stuff. Once we finally parked the car and made our way to M&A's, we found ML hanging out there, watching the rally on TV. Realizing the view was much better than what we were likely to manage in person, we hung out and watched there. Yeah, it would have been pretty cool to see the enormous crowd of people, but the half hour parking spot search kind of sucked our will to leave. Not that we'd have had to repark (until, of course, the meter ran out, in 2 hours), but we just kind of wanted to sit and visit instead. So we did. Max & Alice returned from their rallyconnaissance, and we hung out and watched the rest of it on TV.
A bit later, we decided to go for a walk to one of the nearby parks. Not knowing what the bathroom situation would be, there, we brought the froggy potty along for Soren. Off we went.
Some basketball was played. Well, HORSE was played, at any rate. I mostly shot photos, rather than baskets, since I had Eleri strapped to my front.
Even Soren got in on the b-ball action.
Some people came by with their dogs. Soren was a little intimidated, as several of the dogs were quite large, but he was more fascinated than not. He ran hither and yon, pushing an empty milk crate across the court (much to ML's delight), attempting a couple of times to wander off with strangers (he is maybe too friendly for his own good), pretending to scoop imaginary cat litter boxes with sticks he'd found (okay...). And then, like the capable little potty trained lad that he is, he jogged over to the froggy potty, dropped trou, and did his business.
And then declared, "I pooped!"
Hmm. Here's the thing. Since about the age of 8 months, Soren's been a notoriously shy pooper. Even when we had managed to get our first big handle on the whole potty training concept, he still held out on the #2, either waiting until he had a diaper on again, or (more recently) just pooping in his underpants. (I'm sorry, Future Soren. I swear I'm not writing all this for the sole purpose of your utter embarrassment.) Even after the previous weekend's big breakthrough, I did not think the underlying poop shyness would completely disappear.
All this is by way of saying, we had not really anticipated this eventuality, of Soren pooping on the froggy potty in the middle of a field.
As there were, indeed, no actual bathrooms nearby, we just kind of resorted to treating it like dog poo, putting it in a plastic bag and tossing it in the garbage. (Where by "we" I of course mean "Tom.") This had to be taken care of especially quickly, as one of the nearby dogs became extremely interested in the goings-on and seemed to be most eager to volunteer his services as Assistant Defacation Disposal Expert. We all had a good laugh about that.
A bit later, we'd moved on to the playground area of the park, which is separated from the field by a little fence. Soren climbed and slid and played, and eventually, he came back over to the froggy potty. Where he pooped again! And that same dog came trotting right over to the fence, just in case we decided to reconsider his previous offer. Funny, funny stuff.
Not long after this, we headed back to take shelter from the chill and make some delicious dinner. Tom & Alice whipped up a super tasty shrimp jambalaya concoction, along with some fried zucchinis. McQ eventually returned from his rallying, and Agnes got home from work, so we ate and visited and had ourselves a grand old time. I continue to be amazed and thankful that we've been able to "get the band back together" with as much frequency as we've managed, even all the way across the country from where we all met.