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The low tire pressure indicator light had been on in my car since yesterday. But I’d looked at all the tires and they seemed fine, so we chalked it up to changing temperatures and decided to give it a few days.

When I picked up Addie from school this afternoon and went around to her side of the car to put her in, I knew I should have listened to that annoying little light: the right rear tire was almost flat.

In the fourteen years I’ve been driving, this has never happened to me. I was scared. I found the nearest tire place and drove there, slowly and carefully, Addie securely strapped into her seat, telling myself over and over that we’d make it there before the tire blew out. And we did.

Once we’d checked in and the mechanics were at work on the car, the hot panic of the flat tire was replaced with a cooler, smoldering anxiety: Addie was wearing undies and it would be at least an hour and a half before we got home and I didn’t have any extra undies or pants. And we’d somehow failed to get her daily report, so I didn’t even know when the last time she pottied was.

Oh, and this whole “undies all the time” thing is basically brand new for us. As in, we just started yesterday. I’m obviously woefully unprepared. Which I blame on the fact that this wasn’t my choice.


Addie has been going in the potty at home for awhile, but she’s never been officially “potty trained.” But she did a great job over the weekend, so when she asked to go to school in her undies yesterday morning, I decided it was as good a time as any.

But holy cats, you guys, this undies business is stressful!

Waiting for the car to be fixed, I kept asking if she needed to potty, but she kept saying no. I didn’t want to stress her out, and I wanted to trust her, but I know she can get distracted sometimes and forget she has to go. I tried to tell myself that it wouldn’t be so bad: if she pottied in her undies she’d just . . . wear wet pants for the next couple hours? And everyone would stare at me, wondering what kind of mother goes out without extra supplies for her newly potty trained child? And I’d have to hold her and get pee all over myself?

OK, I guess a lot of that was about me.

We went next door to Burger King (another parenting win) when her pleas for a snack started to seem reasonable since it was almost 6:00. I rewarded her patience at the tire place – and bribed her for more – by getting her a chocolate milk (the parenting awards are stacking up now). I watched her drink the whole thing and begged her to go potty, but she still refused.

Back at the tire place, I finally convinced her: she went potty on the potty. Victory! And now I could relax a little. No more worrying about wet pants and strangers’ stares.

Five minutes later I saw it: the poop face. I craned around to look at her butt and saw the telltale bulge of poop sticking out.

Shit. Literally.

I hurried her into the bathroom, but it was too late: she was covered in poop and so were her undies. For a moment I wondered if this whole potty training thing was really worth it. Maybe if she just wears diapers until she’s, oh I don’t know, five, everything will be easier.

But she’s ready now, so I better be, too.

And it’s really not that bad. I got her cleaned up and she went commando and no one knew any different. We got the tire fixed and headed home. In restrospect I realized that my anxiety on both counts wasn’t necessary.

And now I know: accidents might happen, but we’ll figure it out.