Does your child know how to pee in the bushes?

Warning – this post contains bodily fluids. Do not read if pee makes you uncomfortable. Don’t say I didnt warn you either…

We SOOO need to move these children back to Samoa. Like, now.

There’s only one bathroom in our house here in Auckland. Shared between seven people, that means, sometimes, people have to hop around, squabble, and yell at others to hurry up. If some of those seven people are little children, then it’s highly likely that every now and again – accidents will happen. I expect that from my four year old Bella Beast. What I don’t expect, is to come home and find that my nine year old Little Son has peed on the floor in the hallway outside the bathroom. Why?
“Because Bella was taking so long inside the bathroom and I couldn’t hold it.”
“So why didn’t you go outside the back yard and pee in the bushes or something?”
Look of absolute horror and disgust, “Eww, I can’t pee outside! In the bushes! That’s disgusting.”
No, what IS disgusting is that instead of taking the option provided by Mother Nature, you would  think that it’s TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE to pee inside my house, on my floor.

I really wanted to smack him up’side the head. Instead I made him scrub and mop with so much disinfectant that no doubt, his brain has been permanently disinfected forever. While I called up the Hot Man to tell him that this family needs to move back to Samoa. Right this peeing-on-the-floors-minute.

 If you’ve ever been to Samoa, you will know that public toilets are disgusting pits of disgustingness. And most stores, halls, airports, restaurants have nasty bathrooms too. (Which is why McDonalds in Apia is the first place people head to when they need to use the bathroom because they usually have the cleanest option in town.) Which is why, when you need to take small children to town, you make sure they go to the toilet at home first. And IF they have an emergency, then too bad for you. Which is why, I was a sexist mother and happily took my first son everywhere and left my first daughter at home. Because when those emergencies came up, then my son was fine to just ‘go pee outside in the bushes’…’go pee outside by the car’…’go pee outside by those trees’….The benefits of having boys. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that I teach my children to run around peeing in public everywhere. (Im not THAT bad a mother.) No. I’m saying that peeing in the bushes is a skill that my children need to be cool enough/brave enough/wilderness man/ wildernesswoman enough to have for those rare occasions when a toilet is not readily accessible. I am sure that every Samoan kid living in Samoa has this skill. The fact that Little Son is missing this skill is very troubling to me. Because it may be a sign of deeper, even more significant things that my children are missing.

Like, what if these children can’t ever bathe using a bucket of rainwater and a cup – because they’ve never lived thru the dry season in Samoa when they start rationing water. Or the wet season when all the reservoirs are flooded and clogged so they turn off the pipes?  What if these children grow up bursting into tears when the power goes off? Because they haven’t experienced the joys of random EPC power cuts? And don’t know to always have candles and a torch on hand?

What if they freak out at the thought of riding on the back of a pickup truck? Without seatbelts?! Shudder, cringe, vomit. Everybody, at least once in their life, needs to sit in the back of a pickup truck, with the wind in their hair, bumping over endless potholes while you rattle your way along a dirt track to a plantation. Or a beach.

Or how about driving along the main road and having to look out for dogs that chase your tyres. Gigantic pigs that think they own the road. Chickens that stupidly take their babies for a walk along the tarseal. What if the only giant cockroaches they ever see are in a museum? Not ones that fly into their hair. Or scuttle for hiding the minute you turn on the light?  What if they don’t master the survival skill of always checking under your pillow, inside your shoes, scanning the shower wall before you shut your eyes to wash your hair – for psychotic killer centipedes?

What if they stare in horrified awe (like tourists do) when people have elaborate graves in their front yards? Graves decked with plastic flowers and Christmas lights. Graves with glass windows, roofs and mini-houses on them? Graves that people sleep on top of when it’s hot?

What if they grow up thinking that fish live in cans. Mangoes come from Countdown. And bread is supposed to be paper thin and be so soft that it sticks to the roof of your mouth? (eww yuck) What if they never learn that real bananas on real banana trees are NOT that startling yellow color?  What if they never ever know what a turkey’s tail tastes like? Or a sheep’s neck. Or a chicken’s back?

It gets worse. What if they never get blisters from weeding prickle vao fefe grass because the only school detentions they ever know are ‘write 100 times, ‘I will not wear incorrect school uniform.’ And they dont know how to sweep classroom rubbish with a coconut broom because ‘that’s what school janitors are for…’ And maybe they won’t remember to bow their heads when they walk in front of someone, or say ‘tulou’. Or give up their seat on the bus when somebody older than them gets on.

The list goes on and the awfulness is just too much to comprehend. Suffice it to say – we really need to move back to Samoa.

So this boy can start learning how to pee in the bushes.

Do you know what this is? You don’t? Aha – you didn’t grow up in Samoa! See what you’re missing…turkey tails.

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19 comments

  1. Hilare! That's why I take the shadow back to the homeland at least once a year. So she can find out what a gecko is (and even better when it chooses to detach from the ceiling as you lean back to do a big yawn), and find out where pork comes from (Grandpa's pa puaa behind the house), and shower outside using the rainwater dripping from the roof gutter.Turkey tails. Mmmmmmm…

  2. Hahahaha!! I've never had turkey tails….but even I know how to pee in the bushes (if there's no poison ivy and i have a napkin or something…and noone is around because I have a fear that someone somewhere is just waiting for the chance to catch me peeing! Ha!) Riding in the back of a pickup truck to the beach….waiting for the deer and rabbits and wild turkeys to cross the street at grandma's are the best. They NEED these experiences!!! Ha!Nice post

  3. Im glad to know that we're not the only kids who had to learn how to pee in bushes when we were growing up Sherre! And riding in the back of a pickup is one of those childhood experiences not to be missed. Somethings are a thrilling memory, no matter what part of the world we grow up in.

  4. Hahhaha aah thanks for conjuring old memories of Samoa! Peeing in the bushes and crazy dogs chasing car tires that are rolling hahaha oh my favoritist memory you mentioned is bathing outside scooping water from paelo vai using a plastic ice cream container hahaha aaah and everything else you mentioned 🙂 Made me miss home so much!Thanks for sharing Lani.

  5. OMG – I have two boys and my 2yo was peeing into the drain in the middle of the courtyard at church on Sunday! I wanted to crawl under the pews and pray for an untimely death!

  6. LOL true – peeing in the bushes is a useful skill learnt in less urbanised places until you try to use it in the wrong places. Didn’t poor SBW get in trouble in Sydney for that? As for the rest … ugh “psychotic killer centipedes” I HATE those creatures. Someone pointed out you missed the pili and mo’o (I miss my mo’o friends Godzilla and his clan). Hum I don’t know if you had those big spiders that eat mogamoga. I had a friend visit from overseas and he freaked when he saw my resident spider, Spidykins. What other useful skills did we learn back then?How to build and feed a fire and cook stuff from taro and bananas to falai eleni and oka which meant knowing how to clean and descale fish, scrape taro and ulu etc.Oh and cooking chicken meant catching the chicken, chopping its head off, sticking it in a pot of boiling water to loosen the feathers then plucking it and gutting it and making sure you keep the faku moa for latter to be roasted on a stick over a clandestine fire. And then there is how to make lole popo with penu popo and pilfered sugar on the lid of a 44 gallon drum one 3 stones over a fire tucked away from parental eyes and hope noone notices the sugar jar is half empty.Oh yes and then there is knowing when it is time to go home or risk a hiding if the alisi are singing or was that crying and you are still out there?Then there were adults conning you into making use of your tree climbing skills to pick tipolo, nonu and niu etc. I climbed a nonu tree last year to get some and got all lilia and could not help remembering just how high I used to climb without any worries about branches bending or anything. Mind you I was smaller and lighter and obviously immortal back then. Oh and one important thing is if you climb trees wear PANTS or at the very least underwear. Although my cousins from Lefaga did not seem to mind … um … having everything on display

  7. LOL I haven't laughed so much in ages. I took my boys home Lani for these very reasons. Malo lava le tusitusiga ma miti mai taiami agamua. Ae a la le savali ma faaoga le tupe mo le pasi e faatau panikeke. I remember the lighted salu stuck into the middle of the behive. Fire hazard?? What fire hazard??

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