This past weekend my wife, Laura, and I went on a trip to the Highlands of North Carolina with some of her family. We left on Friday, September 12th, just when the gas crisis began because of Ike. My opinion of gas prices being hiked just because of a hurricane is stupid! But, that is a whole blog in itself. I digress… We were gone only for a short vacation, Friday to Sunday. But, my story is not of the entire vacation, but of one incident that truly sticks out in my mind as both the cutest and saddest moment that I have experienced in a long time. Although, please note: to respect the confidentiality of a certain little boy, who must not be named, I am changing his name so to protect I promise I made not to speak of this incident to anyone.
It was Saturday, and everyone was getting ready to go to dinner.
“Can I use your bathroom to get ready?” asked Laura to her sister Amy.
“Sure!” replied Amy while taking pictures of her son Peter. Peter is a cute, blonde haired boy about to turn four years old. His idea of a fun day consisted of rough housing, riding around on his daddy’s shoulders and, of course, all things Spider-man.
“This is my transformer.” said Peter, while showing me a black race car with purple markings on it.
“Can you turn this into Venom for me?”
“I am not sure,” I said raising my eyebrows to Amy, “but I will certainly try!”
I proceeded to work on the progression of the transformer from car to action villain, but to no avail, I had no idea what I was doing. Any kind of toy that Peter had it had some sort of affiliation to Spider-man.
“He is very loyal to the genre” explained Amy.
“Here this might help,” said Laura while handing me a piece of paper with red writing all over it. She apparently had finished getting ready and was now trying to help with this insufferable toy.
At the top of the piece of paper read “How to transform Venom.”
“Oh great, thanks.” I said in a very sarcastic tone.
Anyone who knows me knows I hate directions. I guess it’s just a guy thing. After about 5-10 minutes of trying to transform this toy I said “I’m sorry Peter, but uncle Eric can’t figure it out!”
“It’s okay.” said Peter “Can aunt Lala do it?”
“I’m sure she can” I replied. “Aunt Lala can do anything!”
“Here, let me try.” said Laura.
I proceeded to take my turn in the bathroom to get ready for dinner.
While I was in the bathroom I could hear outside the door what was going on in the next room.
Peter was giving Aunt Lala and detailed description of what his toy did and showed her the different ways it could stand up and fight other action figures he had.
“And, if it stands up like this” he started “he can battle Spider-man and Sandman” he seemed to explain all this in a manner that said “Oh-my-God-You-Are-Kidding-You-Didn’t-Know-That?”
Laura would just say “that’s cool Peter, wow!!!”
After about 15 minutes in the bathroom I was dressed and ready.
“Wanna go upstairs so we can go?” I said looking at Laura, Peter and Amy. “I’m ready!”
We all trampled up the stairs which looked like it had been trampled on quite a bit throughout the years. The Berber carpet was light beige, but had a couple of stains here and there from all the people who had rented the cabin before our stay there.
“You all ready to go?” called a voice from the top of the stairs. It was Laura’s mom, Carol, who didn’t know we were already on our way up.
So, we all headed, out the big wooden door, to the restaurant. Laura, Amy, Peter and I were all in one car and Laura’s Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-law rode in another. The drive to the restaurant was long and winding and the views were absolutely breathtaking. But, the only thing on Peter’s mind that evening was his toys.
We finally arrived at the restaurant after what seemed hours, but honestly was about 30 minutes, but driving around a curving mountain makes it seem like a lot longer than it actually is.
We all got out of the car and I ran around the other side to help Amy extract Peter from his car seat. “
“Do you need to go to the bathroom?” asked Amy.
“No mommy, I do not need to go to the bathroom.” he said in a very matter-of-fact tone.
Peter is a very well spoken, almost four-year-old, in my opinion. He likes to enunciate his words, although he does get carried away at times and you find yourself with a screwed up look and thinking “what did he say?” Sometimes Amy can’t even decipher his words, but she does what any loving mother would do… she just smiles and says “Yeah! Uh hu!”
I proceeded to pick Peter up in my arms as we walked into the restaurant. One by one we walked through the door and waited to be seated.
The restaurant had a historic feel to it. It felt like we were sitting on a huge open-aired porch. All the tables were round and sitting spoartically on the floor. There was a huge antler-inspired light fixture, which didn’t seem to be working because it failed to give off any light at all. It was a rather mild night when it came to weather. The wind was not cool, but still not hot, it was just like Goldie Locks would of liked it, just right!
“How many in your party?” I heard a woman ask. “Seven adults and two children. We will need a high chair and a booster seat please” said Laura’s sister Jennifer.
Jennifer and Paul, Laura’s sister and brother-in-law, brought their daughter, our niece, Annagrace, along on the trip. Annagrace is a beautiful fair skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed, slightly temperamental child. She brought along her baby doll, Sammy, to the restaurant and at the table Peter decided he wanted to play with is.
“Nnnnnnnnnnnno!” said Annagrace in all her two-year old glory!
She apparently had no want or need to share her baby doll with Peter, nor did she want to trade for his transformer.
After about ten minutes we all ordered our food and the children proceeded to color and play with their toys. This kept them occupied and happy.
After dinner, everyone sat around stuffed and full. So, it was time for birthday gifts for this dinner was not just a regular dinner, but a birthday dinner for Laura’s mom, Carol. Laura’s family likes to wait at the end of dinner to open gifts, which is opposite of my family, from which we all open our gifts before the feast!
Carol opened her cards and gifts from us all and we headed out of the restaurant. Peter and Annagrace had already been uprooted from the table by both Paul and Bill in order to keep the peace in the open aired eatery.
Laura, Carol and I proceeded out the side entrance to the car. We saw Peter and Annagrace gleefully romping in the gravel parking lot.
“Oh this makes me nervous” said Paul. “All they have to do it trip and you get both crying and a skinned knee.”
“Yes, I can just see it now,” I said. “Which one you think it will happen to first?”
Everyone started to round up the kids so we could head back to the cabin, but there was an issue with Peter. He had a look on his face that read “I’m not happy.” He was frowning, on the verge of tears. Carol, Laura’s mom and Peter’s Nana couldn’t even get him calmed down, although she did figure out the source of the problem.
“Amy,” Carol said “he’s wet his pants.”
I headed over hoping there was something I could do to calm him down. In all the rush to get out of the cabin Peter’s extra clothes had been left and so there was nothing to change him into.
I bent down to his level and said “Peter, are you okay?”
He wouldn’t look at me, but his frown was certainly evident and was so deep that I could feel so bad he was feeling. I took it upon myself to pick him up and decided I was gonna take care of this situation. I felt so bad for him, I knew being a little boy one of the worst and embarrassing things that could happen is to wet you pants.
“In all the excitement he just couldn’t hold it” said Carol. “Are you sure you wanna pick him up?
“He has plenty of clothes back at the cabin” said Laura.
“Yah, I don’t mind, honestly.” I said.
I looked at Amy and said in a low voice “we need to get him out of these wet clothes; he has got to be uncomfortable!!!”
Amy shook her head, yes, in approval.
I went ahead and told Peter what I was about to do and tried to talk to him to get his mind off the situation.
I opened the car door to try and shield him from the public so not to embarrass him anymore than he already was. I had him stand inside the car on the floorboard in front of the seat while I took his wet pants off.
“You know Peter, when we get back to the cabin, we are gonna build a huge fort, okay?! Does that sound fun?” I asked him.
“Yes!” said Peter.
“Mauldin, can you pop the trunk?” I asked.
“”Okay.” Laura said. She and I occasionally share a brain. She proceeded over to the trunk of the car and got out one of the beach towels that we had brought along on the trip just incase we were to go swimming!
“Thanks, sweetheart, you read my mind.” I said.
“You’re doin’ good, Daddio,” said Carol.
“It’s pretty much common sense,” I started! “I was in his situation when I was little.”
We sat Peter in his car seat and covered him up with the blue and orange, Stitch beach towel.
Laura decided she would drive on the way back to the cabin. Peter’s demeanor had completely changed from what is was earlier. So, I turned around in the passenger seat and put my hand on his and said, “Buddy, seriously, it’s okay. It happens to the best of us! We all have accidents. Yours was just today.”
“I know, but I didn’t mean to” said Peter.
“Peter, guess what?” I said. “Uncle Eric has had an accident before too!”
This apparently was exactly what he needed to hear… not to mention his mom was sitting next to him consoling him and making sure he had his T-rex and Transformer toys to get his mind off what had just happened.
“Peter,” I started “don’t worry; this will never be brought up again. We will never tell anyone you did this!”
“The situation that we do not speak of” wispered Laura in a very Harry Potter-esq tone. (see Voldemort.)
“Okay.” said Peter totally convinced.
So, I have upheld my end of the bargin, although, I did tell the story, I did not implicate exactly who it was about.
Besides, One day he will totally look back and laugh!