beth woolsey

mess maker • magic finder • rule breaker • kindness monger


Thanks to a friend named Abbie (not to be confused with my Abby), I was thinking about some of the weirdest things I’ve ever done for my kids.

Abbie and I were discussing creep-out levels, because she started it.  See me placing blame?

I’m placing blame as a proactive defense for the gross things I’m about to reveal.

Oh, sigh.


It’s all me.

Poor Abbie merely mentioned the phrase “creeping you out,” and then I escalated the creep level all by myself.

I was telling Abbie that she’d have to do something really epic if she ever wants to truly creep me out.

For example, I once helped my screamingly constipated baby get his poo out by gently scooping off the emerging poo with a rubber baby spoon.

Gross?  Yes.

Medically approved?  No.

Effective?  Yes!  Happy, pain-free baby.

And now you can see that my creep-out level is very, very high.

This is the point of every post where I wonder what in the world I’m doing.

Just thought you’d enjoy sitting here with me for a minute.

How’re you doing?

You doing OK?

You ready to move on?

Take a deep breath.  That’s what I’m doing.  They say it helps with nerves.

So, as I said, the whole creep-out thing got me to thinking about some of the weirdest things I’ve ever done for my kids.

I settled on this:

I think the weirdest thing I’ve ever done was for Abby when she was 3 years old.

We were on an airplane.

We were descending, and the Fasten Seatbelt sign had been on for probably 5 minutes.  That meant, by my inexpert calculation, that we had around 25 minutes until we were on the ground.

That’s when Abby announced that she had to go potty.

Of course she did.

I asked her if she could wait.

Of course she couldn’t.

We waited anyway.

I had her wait 2 minutes.  Then 2 more.

Then 2 more.

She went from talking to crying.

Then from crying to wailing.

It became clear she really, truly couldn’t wait.

My dilemma:

  1. Be the passenger who disregards the seatbelt sign and compromises the safety of my child to get her to the potty.
  2. Be the passenger who lets her kid wet her pants in the airplane seat.
  3. Come up with an alternative.

Door #3 felt like my only real option.

I told her to hold on.  Mommy was thinking of a Plan.

Just like my brother and I used to groan whenever my parents told us we were about to have an Adventure, so my kids groan whenever Mommy has a Plan.

Even at 3, Abby understood the implications of The Plan.  She whimpered quietly.

I took all 3 barf bags from the seat pockets in front of us, and I used them to line her seat, scooching them firmly underneath her bum without removing her seatbelt.

I took off my sweatshirt, triple folded it, and put it under Abby and on top of the barf bag seat liners.

I put Abby’s jacket over her lap and scooched down her little pants.

And then I told her to pee.

Pee?  She looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

Oh, sweet baby Abby, your mother lost her mind long ago.  Wait ’til you see me with more than one kid.

Yes, pee.

On my sweatshirt.  In the middle of a crowded plane.

No one was looking.  I swear.  Window seats are awesome.

After she was done, I pulled my sweatshirt out from under her, replaced her pants to their upright and locked position, and moved the barf bags from the seat and into my garbage bag.

We deplaned 25 minutes later.

Me with my urine-soaked sweatshirt tied around my waist, my child in one hand, our bags in the other.

Abby with a smile on her face.

I told the flight attendants to check the seat.  “My daughter may have had a little accident.  I think we caught it in time, but the next passenger might appreciate it if you make sure.”

Like most of my parenting decisions, I did the best I could at the time.  And I will forever question it later.

Just makes you want to book a flight somewhere, doesn’t it?

I dare you not to think of this the next time you’re on a plane.  Special present from me to you.  You’re welcome.

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13 responses to “Planely”

  1. Moms: your kid pees on an airplane seat; here’s what happens behind the scenes.

    Before the days of data input, pilots inbound to a station would call in maintenance requests over the company radio frequency. The Alaska Airlines interiors in coach (for who knows what stupid reason) had two-tone interiors – dark blue and gray.

    Actual conversation between Alaska Flight 549 (549) [light-hearted and chipper] and Seattle Maintenance Control (Mx) [grumpy and overworked]:

    549: “Seattle Maintenance, 549 has a log book write up.”
    Mx: “Go ahead”
    549: “We’re gonna need a new seat cushion in 15D”
    Mx: “What color?”
    549: “Well… its light gray with a big yellowish dark gray spot now that the kid peed in it.”
    [short pause]
    Mx: “Very funny.”


    Oh, ladies.

    Many thanks for the laughs!

    This is why I love so much the act of blogging, and why I eagerly anticipate your comments. You make me feel infinitely less alone in the very bizarre act that is parenting.

    I’ve now learned that there are worse things than my daughter’s pee on airplane seats, and I’ll be thinking of YOU next time I fly, Kelleigh.

    Cathie, your story reminds me of all the very weird places my sons have peed. And my brother. And the quart-sized mason jar of pee we used to keep on long car rides in our VW bus when I was a kid, ’cause my brother and his buds had that option. And how very jealous I was that they could do that while the van was moving. And the time we tried to convince someone that the jar was full of apple cider instead of pee. 😀 Good times.

    Lacie, I want to eat dinner with you. Hilarious!


  3. As a mom and a small and large animal hospital worker, I have soooooo many stories that would be total creep outs and I try to save them up for dinner time conversation. The look on my husbands face is priceless, and I am proud to gross out my kids.

  4. Hey – a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! And I think the funniest part is that you simply tied the sweatshirt around your waist and went about your business. HA!

  5. Oh, I hate to fly anyway. I have a pee story, too. (What mom of many doesn’t?)
    My middle daughter was probably about 3, and we (me & 5 kiddies) had just started arrived at a thrift store about 1/2 hour from home. There were 3 or 4 other shoppers. Almost immediately, Lauren had to pee. There was no public toilet in the store. She couldn’t hold it. I told my oldest to take her to the car and let her pee in a (ubiquitous) coffee cup. (An art most of my children have mastered.) A few minutes later Lauren re-entered the store and announced as loud as she could, so I could hear her in the back of the store, “I PEED IN THE CUP!”
    And then there’s the time that dead Gerald Ford made me pee in my grandaughter’s sippy cup………..

    I think I have many, many pee stories, actually. And it’s also hard to creep me out. Thankfully.

  6. My husband and I escorted 3 kids who had been adopted from India, and one of them, the 2 year old, had a bit of a tummy problem. We ran out of American diapers and had to use airplane diapers. BIG mistake. The sweet girl had diarrhea . . . which we discovered on descent, and which ran down the crack between the back and bottom of the seat and smeared ALL over the seat. We had a layover in Japan, but they let us stay on the plane with the 3 girls, so I pulled off and threw away her clothes. I gave her a bit of a sponge bath with baby wipes in the eensy-weensy bathroom, put another airline diaper on her and wrapped her in an airline blanket. THEN, we switched seats . . . and someone else had to sit in the poop seat!! Oh, sure, they did lift the seat bottom out and switch it with a clean one, but a smudge remained on the seat back!! Yuck! What a memorable trip!

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