We were at a park the other day, when Aaron told me he needed to pee.
“Okay, let’s go over there to the bathroom,” I said, pointing to the park restroom.
My three-year-old son gave me a look that said, “Woman, you must be joking.” From his vantage point, public restrooms at parks are pretty much the equivalent of medieval dungeons filled with dragon feces and prisoners’ skeletons. He’s very perceptive.
“I want to pee outside,” he said. In dire circumstances, we let our kid pee outside. It’s called “Do-Whatever-It-Takes Parenting” (book pending).
So I walked him to the nearest indiscreet location, which happened to be a huge banyan tree. There are many of these in Hawaii, and are perfect for hide-and-seek (or in this case, as a makeshift urinal). I stood at the foot of the tree behind Aaron, and pulled his pants down to his knees.
Suddenly, a brown rodent darted out from between the tree’s roots, ran by us, and back into another of the crevices of the tree. I shrieked.
“What was that?” asked Aaron.
“A mongoose. Cool, huh?” I answered, hoping my matter-of-fact tone would defuse any of his fears of dirty creatures jumping out to attack him. We’ve been reading a book about mongooses, so he was impressed.
We resumed our business. I told Aaron to point outwards so as not to get pee on his clothes.
“You do it, mommy. I have no hands.” Oh, right. On our way, he had picked up a leaf in one hand, and tiny coconut in the other. Those constitute as treasures in the eyes of a three-year-old, and he was not about to give them up.
Sigh. I grabbed his lower abdomen and pressed inward so his pee would go out and away.
“I want to pee on the mongoose!”
“No, sweetie. I think he’s gone.” Lucky for Mr. Mongoose.
Unlucky for me, since I was still holding my son’s lower abdomen as he peed.
Thankfully, all the pee made it onto the dirt, and no mongoose attacked us.
And that, my friends, is how to explore the flora and fauna of Hawaii.