I was lucky. While my Dad worked, my Mom stayed home with me until I was four-years old. And then my luck ran out. Somebody got the bright idea that I needed to be “socialized” with other kids my own age and off I went to day-scare. I remember there being a lot of teasing, hitting, and crying. All I wanted to do was go back home and lock myself in my room. Things haven’t changed much.
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I was supposed to learn how make friends and share. But if human history is an accurate measure these lessons are the hardest to learn and the easiest to forget. Our planetary shenanigans are continual proof that if god either a. existed and b. was a woman, she’d say: "Enough already! I don't care who started it, just knock it off!"
Budding germaphobe that I was I disliked holding hands with the other kids, which the teachers commanded us to do all the time.“Okay, kids. We’re going to the park. Everybody hold hands.” Do I have to? Even seeing a kid wash his hands didn’t cleanse away the image of him treating the inside of his nose like it was a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Of particular vexation to my young sense and sensibility was the classroom’s communal bathroom, which featured two stalls with no doors. Egads, people! No doors! I guess they figured four-year olds had no right to privacy. Everyone could see what everyone else was doing and over time I couldn’t help but notice that the boys sometimes went to the bathroom standing up.
I'd never seen that before because in my house our bathroom had a door and we used it. Nonetheless I was intrigued. How great would it be if I could go the bathroom with my pants up and my back to the door? Forget friendship and sharing, why hadn't anyone taught me how to do that? We were, of course, learning new things every day, and maybe they just hadn’t gotten around to it yet, but this was important. So I took matters into my own hands, no pun intended, and gave it a whirl on my own.
Well, my intention was in the right place but biology and physics were not on my side. (Go-Girl had not been invented yet.) Challenges quickly presented themselves. I soon realized that when the boys had their backs to me I couldn't see what they were actually doing. I knew their pants were open and that urine was hitting the water but I didn’t know exactly how to make that happen. It never occurred to me that we had different standard operating equipment.
As my hoped-for stream turned into a flood, I improvised. I figured if I leaned back far enough I could achieve the proper angle and aim. But practically none of my urine made it into the bowl. It was, instead, all over my clothes.
When my teacher came in to see what was taking me so long — the non-existent door giving her a perfect view of my dangerously arched back and the puddle of pee on the floor — she said:
"Leighann! What are you doing?"
"Peeing!" I said, but admittedly not very well.
"You can't pee standing up!"
"Well, no not yet, but maybe with a little practice."
She said, "You’ve wet yourself! Do you have a change of clothes in your cubby?"
"I did not wet myself!"
That implied I was a baby and I didn’t have any control. On the contrary, I was peeing with purpose. It just wasn’t working out. And no, I didn’t have a change of clothes hanging out in my cubby because I was four-years old. I was a big girl and big girls don’t wet themselves. My teacher brought me over to my Mom who worked in the classroom right across the hall. "Mrs. Lord,” she said, “I'm sorry. Do you have a change of clothes for your daughter? She wet herself."
"I did not wet myself!" Why wasn't anybody listening? And, more importantly, why wasn’t anybody teaching me how to pee standing up? My Mom, sensing there was more to the story, looked at me and said: "Okay, what happened?"
Finally! I explained and when they got the gist, it wasn’t that they didn’t want to bust laughing in my face. They were just too stunned to do it. Clothes were found. I cleaned up and changed. I spent the rest of the day in some other kid’s shorts and tee shirt brooding over where I’d gone wrong.
News got around quickly that I’d wet myself despite my ardent explanations to the contrary. My classmates — nose-pickers, butt diggers, dirt eaters all — did not care. For the next two days I was just The Girl Who Wet Herself. Why I’d done it was completely irrelevant. On the bright side, no one wanted to hold my hand.