(A/N: God-Mart is this giant department store. Think of it as a really, really big Wal-Mart that only gods, demigods, and mortals who can see through the Mist can go to.)
Other moms make potty training look so easy. Whenever I go to pick my daughter up from daycare, I'm constantly bombarded with "Hi, Thalia! So, is she potty trained yet?" "Wow, she's two and a half and she's still in Pull-Ups?" "She's potty trained, right?" "I switched Jimmy to Pull-Ups when he was three months old, and he was potty trained at six months!"
You probably think so, too. You probably think you can just put the kid on the potty and right away, they'll know what to do and they'll never, ever throw a tantrum or have an accident. Right? Boy, you're wrong. Clearly, you've never met a stubborn kid like Taylor.
Tay is...insane. She was a normal, well-behaved little girl until she was about a year and a half old. Then her dad's genes kicked in, and it all went downhill from there. Well, her grandfather is the god of thieves, so I can't say I didn't expect her to be somewhat mischevious, but I didn't think it would be this bad.
It was. And it still is. Taylor has tantrums over the littlest things, plays dress-up with my bras, refuses to eat her vegetables, and all that fun stuff. Pick some random toddler behaviour problems - getting homesick at daycare, coloring on the walls, etc. I can bet you she's done almost all of those at least once.
The kicker, though? When she has to go, she makes absolutely no effort to indicate so. Taylor just pulls her pants down and goes on the floor.
I sat at the table, watching her play. She was so beautiful it made me want to cry.
She ran around, no doubt high on juice, her unruly hair blowing in the wind from the open window. Her elfish little face wore an energetic expression.
I sighed. Taylor's the spitting image of Luke. Sure, she's a brunette like her mommy, but the resemblance is still so amazing.
"Taylor," I began. "Guess what?"
She let out an amused giggle. I couldn't resist picking her up and giving her a big hug. Her laugh always brightened my day.
"What?" she asked.
"We're going to God-Mart!" I excitedly said. "Aren't you happy about that?"
I heard somewhere that to avoid tantrums over a trip to the grocery store, you're supposed to make them exciting for your kid. Enthuse about it. Buy them stuff they like. I'm not sure that will work on my little girl, but I'm willing to try.
She crossed her arms and pouted.
"What is so special bout Gah Mutt?"
"We're gonna have a lot of fun there, honey! Guess what I'm buying you?"
"What you buy, Mommy?"
Taylor learned to talk at a very young age. For someone who's turning three in five months, she has quite the vocabulary.
"A potty! Yay!"
She gave me a weird look, and I tried not to flinch at the precise look Luke always had on his face when he was confused.
"We're going to a party?" she asked, uncertainty in her blue eyes.
"No, a potty," I smiled. "You're gonna be a big girl really soon, so you need to learn how to use it. Okey-dokey?"
She nodded. An unsure nod, like she maybe wasn't completely questionless.
Then we went to God-Mart. I prayed that she wouldn't have a tantrum in front of my very, very important in-laws, a.k.a. the gods. She's done that before, and it's not amusing.
I took a deep breath, removed my daughter from her carseat, and walked to God-Mart. I recognized quite a few people there.
I was just getting some groceries when I felt someone staring at me. I turned around and...
Zeus and Hera. Just peachy.
"Hey," I awkwardly said.
"Hi...Thalia. I...uh, I didn't know you had a kid. What's her name?"
"Her name is Taylor," I answered, hoping she wouldn't look up and they wouldn't see her eyes, the eyes that were exactly the color of Luke's.
Hera frowned at me. Then I felt anger burn in my veins. She wasn't just glaring at me; she was glaring at my baby. Unbelievable.
Before I knew what I was doing, I looked Hera straight in the eyes and shot her a freaking death glare.
"Oh, no you don't," I snarled. "Nobody glares at my Taylor and gets away with it."
Then I just walked away. I really didn't care what that female dog thought.
After a little while, I finally found a plastic potty that wasn't too expensive or damaged or anything.
"Tay?" I sweetly asked. "Do you want the Dora the Explorer potty or the Elmo potty?"
"Elmo," she answered.
I calmly put the Elmo one in the cart. I also snatched some Pull-Ups and one of those things you put in the toilet so that the kid doesn't feel like they're gonna fall in, just to be safe.
Just as I was making my way to the checkout counter, I noticed that Taylor was kind of wiggling around and she looked a bit uncomfortable. You probably know what that means.
"C'mon, sweetie," I cooed. "We're going to the potty." It probably wasn't the best that the first time she sat on the potty had to be in a public bathroom, but it was better than letting her go in her pants.
She blinked up at me with her big blue eyes. I nodded, parked the cart by the magazines and chips, took Taylor's hand, and went to the bathroom with her.
I opened the stall door. Taylor looked around curiously, almost cautiously. Her eyes were rather wide, like she was scared.
I sighed. Of course, she was in a new place, so she needed to know what was going on.
"This is the bathroom," I explained. "Can you say 'bathroom?'"
"Good job, Taylor! We're gonna go try something new, okay, sweetie? It might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but you have to learn how to do it."
She nodded understandingly.
Ignoring the staring goddesses and customers, I once again attempted to take her into the stall.
"Mommy, what's that?" she questioned, pointing to the hook on the door.
"That's a hook," I responded. "You hang stuff from it. Like your coat, your backpack, or your purse."
This other mom was staring at me. Judging from her bright blue eyes, she was Taylor's aunt (on Luke's side, of course). She was holding hands with a little girl a few years older than Tay - maybe five or six?
"It's her first time in a big public bathroom," I told her, guessing that this wouldn't be the first time I'd explain this.
The other mom shrugged and walked away.
I pulled Taylor's pants down and placed her on the potty chair.
"Huh?" she cried. "W-what?! Mommy, I no wike this! I want off!"
Before I could do anything, she crawled out through the door and off she went.
"No! Come back, honey!" I hollered, running after her.