Last year we started a family tradition of going to see the Christmas pantomime at our local theatre. Miss A loves princesses and fairy godmothers, so we were looking forward to her excitement at watching a ‘real’ princess on stage.
Looking back, we knew it was a bad time of day (2:00pm = nap time) but we managed to get her to nap in the car on the way home from Grandma and Granda’s so we thought we were in the clear. We woke her up (never a good thing) and reminded her that we were going to see Sleeping Beauty, expecting her to suddenly become excited and cooperative. Ha. We brought out her Christmas dress and told her she could wear it to the theatre (Miss A loves dresses – the bigger the better) but she screamed and said she wanted to stay home. We told her that we were going to get a treat at Queenies after the pantomime, but not even the thought of Dawn’s delicious cupcakes was enough to convince her to get ready. After much coaxing (and screaming and crying), we finally managed to get her out of the house in full winter gear. We made it to the theatre where she thankfully started to show signs of anticipation. We looked at each other across her head and smiled, sighing with relief. We settled in to enjoy the show.
For the first little while, Miss A seemed to be the model child, sitting atop a pile of coats so that she had a good view of the stage, her hands folded serenely in her lap. She listened to the opening song and watched the characters dancing, looking like a princess sitting on a throne of coats, her dress puffed up around her like a giant red sparkly marshmallow. Then the dance ended and the questions began.
“Mommy, why are there lights on the ceiling?”
“Mommy, when is Belle coming on?”
“But I don’t want to see Sleeping Beauty, I want Belle. When is she going to get here?”
“Mommy, why do I have to be quiet? I want Belle!”
Somehow we made it through the show without too many glares from members of the audience who came to hear the actors and not my daughter. We asked Miss A if she had to go to the bathroom (no) and hustled out of the theatre and across the street to Queenies for a treat. Miss A got a kiss and a cupcake, which she devoured within seconds, much to the amusement of some fellow customers. Then, while we watched in horror, she spread her legs and proceeded to pee all over the floor. Yes, my fully toilet trained daughter peed in her beautiful, sparkly Christmas dress, all over the floor of her (and our) favourite bake shop. While hubby sorted out the mess inside, I brought our little peeing princess outside, where I stripped off her boots, tights and underwear, tossed them on the ground, and quickly bundled her into the stroller with some blankets before she froze. Of course this would happen on the one occasion that I wasn’t carrying around some wet wipes and an extra change of clothes. While I was busy doing up Miss A’s buckles, her tights and underwear were tumbling down the sidewalk in the wind. A kind man stooped to pick them up – I tried to warn him that they were wet, but it was too late. I have to give him credit for not dropping them immediately once he realized why they felt so damp, and he even smiled in an attempt to hide the shock and disgust at what he was holding in his bare hands. I gave him what I hoped was a sympathetic yet grateful smile, and thanked him as I took the cold, wet items from him and stuffed them in the bottom of the stroller. I prayed that Miss A did not have to poop.
Walking home, the biting December wind whipping through our hair, we wondered at how life never seems to go the way you think it will, and yet somehow those moments are the ones that you remember the most, the moments that define you as a family. We laughed as we walked, anticipating all the inappropriate times we were going to embarrass her by telling this story, the one about the princess and the pee.