What do you see when you look at this picture? Parking lot? Threatening sky? American flags? Roadside tent? Nope. Give up? Let me tell you what my twins see when they look at this picture...
Today in our travels we passed a fireworks tent. Here in Pennsylvania, most types of fireworks are illegal, so each June, yellow-and-white-striped tents pop up all over the landscape, hawking "PA LEGAL FIREWORKS!!!" "BUY-1-GET-1-FREE" and "$25 FREE WITH $100 PURCHASE!"
These tents are usually festooned with American flags and gaily-flapping pennants, so even if I manage to get past without all the kids who can read howling for me to stop, the pre-readers also get whipped into a frenzy.
I avoid these tents like the plague.
Today, however, we were compelled to drive past one. Of course the 10yo started begging, "Please, Mom? Please can we stop?? Please can you spend the last of the month's grocery money on incendiary devices that go up in smoke in a matter of seconds???"
My usual response is, "Sure, we can stop. You brought your wallet, right?" (crestfallen silence from the backseat).
But today it was Noelle. She's two-and-a-half, as she'll proudly tell you herself. And from her booster seat vantage point, she started pointing and shrieking.
"Wook! Wook! See it? See it? Wook, Mommy!"
Gritting my teeth, I say, "Yes, I see all the flags."
"No, Mommy! No! Wook at the toy-wet house! Bwoo toy-wet house!!!" She's about hysterical with delight now.
So I turn my head, and there, just behind the fireworks tent is a blue port-a-potty.
At our church picnic last week, both twins became obsessed with the little blue houses. At first they thought it was a playhouse or another kiddie game, until I had to physically show them there was a toilet inside just so they would believe me. I have seen moms do lots of strange things, but I can't remember doing anything stranger than being dragged by the twins ("Wanna see in the toy-wet house!) over to each little blue house we passed, just to open the door for them and say "See? Another toilet," after which they would dissolve into giggles and cheers.
Then Noelle, who is still resolutely in diapers, declares, "Have to stop, Mommy. Have to go potty. Have to go potty in the toy-wet house!" (I swear this is word-for-word what she said to me.)
I've tried lots of tricks to encourage the kids to toilet-train, but sorry, seeking out job-johnnys for each tinkle is out of the question.
Some families go on national monument sight-seeing vacations. Us, we drive around and rubberneck at porta-johns.