The great family getaway 2009 is underway. I'm blogging from Hidden Springs Resort, which serves as both log cabin and parking lot for the twelve folks in our extended family who make the trip to Pigeon Forge, TN, every year. Hidden Springs is a wonderfully rustic place: There's satellite TV in every room of our cabin, but wifi is only available in the main office of the resort. One has to hike 1/8th of a mile to check email. It leads to a self-sufficiency and remoteness evocative of the pioneers who originally settled these hills.
This year Charlie is at a stage of potty training that could only be described as exhilarating. He will only pee when biology impels him to -- there is no "let's just sit on the potty for a minute before we leave." You see him grabbing himself, and you have EXACTLY TWO MINUTES before an "accident" occurs. So we've learned to pack a change of pants, but more importantly we've discovered the Potette travel potty system.
The Potette is basically a 4-inch tall collapsing seat with disposable plastic liners (essentially just small grocery bags with a panty liner in the bottom). It fits in a backpack and can be unfolded within a matter of seconds. Here is a list of places where our travel potty has been deployed: at the subway platform, on the subway car between two seats, in the bushes at Prospect Park, on the side of the interstate, at an "explosive" gas station rest room, and .1 mile in on a .8 mile hike.
Looking back over the list I guess these are all places that some adults might consider potty-optional. But we're teaching Charlie valuable life lessons: Take only photographs, leave only footprints, and pee is for the potty. Just like the mountain pioneers did, I'm sure.