Because the weather has been so beautiful, the kids have spent a lot of time outside the past few days. Yesterday after lunch I shooed N and B out the door(I babysit 3 yr. old B and his 7m old sister, A, a couple of days a week). I periodically checked up on them, and they could be seen running around carrying stick two times their size, going down the slide and climbing the dirt hills that grace our backyard, leftover from the previous owner. About an hour later I called them in for nap time.
"Come on boys, it's time for naps, but first let's use the bathroom!"
N resisted a little, "But I already went!"
I ignored him, thinking that he was talking about earlier in the day, "You still need to try."
Since I put a pull-up on N for naptime, I sent him into his room bare-bottomed as I finished up with B. Once B was in bed, I went into N's bedroom. Now before I continue, I have to explain a game that my kids like to play when they are done their baths. They run into their rooms and crouch under their towels, pretending that they are "rocks". I am supposed to come in and pretend that I don't know where they are, "Where is N? I thought he was in here, but all I see is this little blue rock!" I then sit down on the rock to think, as they giggle and wiggle, and I usually end up with,"Wait a second! This rock has a foot/hand/hair! It's not a rock! It's N!" And then they get dressed.
So when I entered the room, N was crouched up in a ball on the floor, pretending to be a rock. Only this rock wasn't freshly scrubbed, instead it had some, um, natural materials clinging to it. "N! Did you poop in your pants?" I shrieked.
N immediately jumped up, the smile wiped off his face, "No! I didn't!"
"Yes, you did! Your bottom is all dirty," I then picked up his discarded jeans and underwear, waving the evidence in the air, "and so is your underwear!"
"No, Mama! I didn't--", N insisted, " I pooped on the hill!"
The hill? What the-- "What do you mean you pooped on the hill?"
"When I was outside, I pooped on the hill," N explained, his face crumpling and eyes welling up.
I was horrified, imagining our new Dutch neighbors glancing outside and seeing our son squatting in the backyard. "N! You need to come inside if you need to use the bathroom! You do NOT poop outside!"
"OK Mommy, I won't do it, ever again," N cried.
"That's right," I agreed, as I cleaned him up, "You know better!"
Later, as I was thinking it over, I wondered to myself, DID he know better? I didn't realize it was a rule that had to be spelled out. I had a list of rules for playing outside that I routinely quizzed the kids on, the number one rule being "No going near the water without a grownup", since our backyard ends in a reservoir. So when the boys went out to play after their naps, I once again went over the rules, just to make sure they were clear.
They recited them back to me:
"No hitting each other with sticks"
"No throwing sand, or dumping it in anyone's hair"
"Don't go in anyone else's yard"
I then asked, "And what's the most important, number one rule?"
N replied, "No going in the water without a grownup"
"Good," I continued, "And I have another rule, and it's the second most important one. NO POOPING OUTSIDE!"
"OK," N repeated, "No pooping outside!"
"And no peeing either," B added.