It recently occurred to me that I should mix in a few stories of my parents’ Creative Parenting 101. After all, it is partly because of them that I am the type of creative person and parent that I am today, and I can say that without a doubt my sister and I turned out to be wonderfully fabulous individuals so I know that they did a bunch of stuff correctly. And without a book or anything! Maybe this will be information you can use! Who knows???

This story involves a certain pink blanket that we kept in the car.

We called it the Pee Pee Blanket.

No, I’m not kidding.

I couldn’t find a photo of anything similar to it online: it was just a big, wool-like (or some other heavy weave) blanket. It was this shade of pink:

You know how, when you’re on a long car trip–or even a short-ish one that seems long to a little kid? That kid is always asking annoying things like, “Are we there yet?” When the answer is “NO!”, you can bet that it won’t be long before that kid is going to have to use the bathroom. So much for getting to your destination in record time: every stop during which one or more children have to get out and run into the bathroom to relieve themselves can easily add twenty to thirty minutes onto the trip.

I can’t even remember how old I was when the Pee Pee blanket was placed into the car. I imagine it was there even when I was a toddler, but who knows. I don’t even know if the Pee Pee blanket had an original, different purpose like, oh, let’s say warming somebody who’s cold.

I just know that it was always there, in one of the several different colored VW Bugs that we had (at different times, of course).

We had a yellow one, and a white one, and I think a light blue one and possibly a red one…so many bugs. We were way ahead of our time. And by “we”, I mean my parents.

By the way, here are Mom and Dad with a pre-Melisa, pre-Julie/Jules, and pre-Pee Pee Blanket VW Bug.

Anyway, when one of us expressed the need to use the bathroom while on a road trip, we would be told, “Use the Pee Pee blanket.”

That’s right: our parents encouraged us to take our pants off and pee on a pink, wool blanket so we didn’t have to make a stop. (Of course, this was also before seatbelt-wearing became a widespread phenomenon.)

I know what you’re thinking. Well, I think I know what you’re thinking. Probably one of the following:

A. Wow, that’s harsh!
B. Gee whiz, how mean is that!
C. Ewww, gross! I wouldn’t wanna clean that up!

Am I right?

Well, what you should be thinking is, “WOW, that is a genius idea!”

Why, you ask?

Because, according to my mother, we never actually used the blanket. Seriously. Just the thought of pulling down our pants, sitting on a blanket and just “letting loose” grossed us out enough to be able to magically hold it in until we got to our destination…or, of course, to the next stop if Mom or Dad ended up having to go. Amazing. I didn’t fully appreciate the genius of it all until I was a parent myself. I don’t know if my parents knew that we wouldn’t use the blanket or if they really didn’t care either way, and it doesn’t matter. The Pee Pee blanket remains one of the most creative parenting ideas I’ve ever heard of.

We did actually use the blanket for something else having to do with pee, however. For that, I’ll let you read my Dad’s account of it. I scanned part of the letter that he and my Mom wrote for the scrapbook that Julie made for me on my 30th birthday, which I’m just now realizing was almost TEN YEARS AGO.

I need a moment.

Okay. I can proceed.

Click on the photo to read the details. And that first paragraph? My Dad apparently has no real recollection of the Pee Pee blanket as it was not ever used–again, according to my mother. But he’s a pretty good storyteller, and it goes with the theme so just enjoy. You will also see that my Tiara tendencies started early.

So, to summarize, a Pee Pee blanket is a great idea if you want to get where you’re going fast. But I don’t make any guarantees so try it at your own risk!

P.S. I have no idea what ever happened to that thing.