"Mommy, I have to go…now!"
I glanced in the rearview mirror, my eyes resting on my daughter's pained face. Her nose was wrinkled up tight, her eyes two little slits. She was holding it with all her might.
"Just hang on, Isabella. We'll be home in about five minutes." But even as I said it, I knew it would be virtually impossible for her to last that long.
We were potty training and so far, so good. It had only been a week but Isabella hadn't yet had an accident. That day I made the bold decision to venture away from home, Isabella wearing only her "big-girl-princess-underwear." I hadn't even brought a Pull-Up with me. If I had, I would have tossed it over the seat so she could slip it on and relieve herself, even though I knew that might have resulted in a slight setback of my efforts thus far.
Since we were in the middle of traffic on a four-lane highway, pulling over was out of the question. The next exit was ours and I veered into the right lane, pushing my foot harder on the accelerator. I had a splitting headache already and wasn't in the mood to wipe urine off the car seat, let alone deal with the smell it would likely take days to get rid of.
A piercing wail suddenly drowned out my thoughts. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Isabella was no longer holding it, but sitting in it.
I was faced with two choices. I could have remained calm and reassured my three-year-old that accidents happen. That it was okay. That Mommy would take care of it.
Or, I could lose control myself.
Unfortunately, the first option never crossed my mind.
I smacked the steering wheel. "Isabella! Ugh! I'm not in the mood for this!"
Isabella wailed louder and I immediately kicked myself for my own outburst. I took a deep breath, the faint smell of pee making its way up front.
It seemed Isabella and I had both lost control.
The difference was, my daughter couldn't be expected to control her bladder. She was only three years old and had just started potty training, for goodness sake! But I was thirty-three. I had had many years of anger management under my belt. I definitely should have been able to control my getting madder. Isabella's letting loose had been an accident. But my tongue had let loose only on my brain's command.
I knew that more important than cleaning up my daughter's mess, I had to clean up the one I had made.
I looked again in the rearview mirror at my daughter, whose cheeks were streaked with tears, chest heaving with broken breaths. Her eyes met mine. "Sweetie, Mommy's sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you. It was an accident that's all. It's okay."
By the time I steered the car into our driveway, Isabella had calmed down. I pulled my daughter out of the car and hugged her tight, not even thinking about the wet transfer from her pants to mine. She buried her head in my shoulder. It was obvious I was already forgiven.
There would like be days ahead when Isabella would again lose control of her bladder. But hopefully, next time, hers would be the only mess I would need to clean up.
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