Public defecation is illegal and obviously fairly disgusting. For many moms out there in the throes of potty training their little ones, however, accidents happen, and the lucky recipient of some misplaced pee might be a tree or some grass or the occasional light pole.
That’s what happened to Caroline Robboy when she was out to dinner with her in-laws and three young children. Today reports that Robboy and her family went to dinner at Johnny Rocket’s and then across the street to a clothing store. While in the store, two of Robboy’s children informed her that they needed to use the facilities. Robboy told NBC News, she “asked if [the kids] could use the bathroom and were told no.” On their way back to the diner, 2-year-old Nathaniel announced he couldn’t hold it any more. So, Robboy told him to “go over to a grassy patch and make pee.”
Today reports that no sooner had little Nathaniel relieved himself in said grassy area on an unsuspecting light pole, a police officer approached. The police officer announced he was “giving her a $50 ticket for public urination,” and continued with “a lecture about how she could be allowing a potential ‘pervert’ to get a look at her son’s private parts.”
Fox News reports that “Caroline Robboy said she will try to fight the ticket in court because, ‘it was a potty-training accident.’ ”
Many people think the ticket is legitimate. On NBC News‘ article covering the incident, one man commented:
“I do not care if it is a 2-year-old or a 20-year-old, urine stinks and I for one do not want to smell that while in a high-traffic area. Does this moron of a mother think it is OK to let her son pee anywhere they feel free to?”
Other were supportive. Julie Buxbaum, mother and author points out to Today:
“Dogs urinate all over cities (and the suburbs) every day and nobody thinks twice about it. ‘When [kids] have to go, they have to go. My thinking: if dogs are allowed to pee [on] trees, why can’t kids?'”
As a mother of two boys and in the midst of potty training my elder son, I tend to lean toward sympathy, albeit guarded sympathy. The problem, you see, with toddlers, is that once something is okay one time, it must be okay all the time. Ashley Jacobs, a social media manager for a personal finance blog who doesn’t have kids, tells Today she’ll never let her toddlers pee in the grass for that very reason. “I’d be worried,” she says. “If I let them do it once, they would think it’s OK to do it all the time.”
Granted, Jacobs (and I’m assuming the man who called Robboy a “moron of a mother”) have probably never been at the park or in the store or on the sidewalk with a toddler doing the pee dance while you root around in your purse praying to God that you remembered to bring an extra pair of big boy undies and some wipes. Pretty soon, that little grassy area off to the side of the park is looking pretty attractive to all involved.
What do you think, readers? Should a toddler be allowed to pee in public? Or was this ticket justly deserved?