Ah, spring. The start of vacation season. It begins with spring break and continues until August. Not that we do much traveling besides a few trips to Grandma’s, but I find with each trip, we see Rachel accomplish something more: potty training, overcoming her fear of toilets, overcoming her fear of public restrooms, and even sitting with us in a booth at a fast food restaurant.

So, a few weeks ago we set off to Grandma’s. We planned for all the possibilities, including the need for extra towels in the car in case of an accident and extra water for our elderly labrador.

A couple of hours into the trip, Rachel announced she needed to potty by saying, “Pah.” Okay, no problem. We pulled over and traipsed inside one of the nicer local pit stop. Rachel went straight to the bathroom, entered a stall, and … stripped naked. All right, I said to myself, I can handle this. So what if she just threw her clothes on this bathroom floor that might not have been mopped this century? That’s why we have immune systems.

After a fight to get both of her hands washed, we hustled out toward the car. But Rachel saw the water bottle cooler and decided she needed “Ha!” (her way of saying water). I could handle that. Except, the line was about twenty people long. Bummer. But I was stuck. Rachel wasn’t leaving without her “ha.” So we waited, except all the while she yelled, “Ha!” and tried to grab the water bottle. People in line scooted as far from us as they could. They cast us furtive, “What is wrong with those people?” glances. The sales clerk developed a twitch in his eye before we even got to the line’s front. And I’m pretty sure that each time Rachel jumped on me, my workout shorts drifted farther toward the floor. Lovely.

Finally, our turn. I paid for the drinks (big sister called for equal rights) and handed Rachel her drink while I got my wallet in order. All would be well. We had survived. But … in all the fun I had forgotten that Rachel cannot drink from water bottles very well, especially when she opens them and squeezes, creating a volcano of water. So, what does she do with all that water choking her? Spit it out, of course … all over the candy display! The top row, mind you, so I can watch it drip down, down, down to the floor.

My first instinct? Run away, but there is no running with a 70-pound wet child in your arms. So, I asked the cashier for a towel. It took several minutes for him to return from the back reaches of the shop with a beach towel — that is a long time to avoid everyone’s glares. I made Rachel help me wipe off the candy and floor the best I could, then I grabbed her hand and marched out, head down, eyes on the door. When we reached the car, I handed Hubby his wet candy and told him next time, he could take the kids to the potty.

He just gave me a “yeah, right” smile, as we have two girls.

On the way back, though, I asked Hubby to find us a different place to stop. …