I can add this to the list of happenings that fatherhood has bestowed upon me.

Before Friday night, I never before had carried a 3-year-old out of a high school gym during a basketball game and then discovered that the child had nearly saturated her underpants, pants, socks and shoes with urine.

That explained why Ella stopped sitting and stood up in front of me as I sat on the bleacher behind her. And the sympathetic look that one mother gave me as I walked out the door.

Poor thing. It’s bad enough trying to sit in a wet bathing suit. But sitting in urine that could nearly be wrung from your pants legs?

The bad part is that I didn’t notice this for about 20 minutes. I thought she had grown tired of sitting. I did think I felt something … warm. But I thought that maybe it was because she was sweaty. ?? I know. I’m an idiot.

Before we went into the gym I told Ella that she needed to tell me if she had to use the bathroom. “No, I’ll tell my mom.” But Trish wasn’t going to meet us for more than an hour. “No, you need to tell me.” And then I asked Ella a couple of times, before she stood to escape the urine, if she needed to go. Each time she shook her head.

I’m sure she got caught up in the excitement of the game and the raucous cheerleading. But I was frustrated. And I reminded her, several times.

I hadn’t brought extra clothes, so before Trish could meet us she had to go home and retrieve a change. I didn’t think we should go back into the gym. So we waited in the school’s adjacent lunch room. Ella couldn’t even walk normally, she kept her left leg straight, as if that side had received the most pee and was heavily weighed down, or was too cold and she was trying not to let the pant leg touch her skin.

When will this phase end?

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