I answered, "you girls can watch a show but L, first you have to sit on the potty."
I'm so mean I even scare myself. L burst into tears. These were the tears of not hearing what she wanted, tears of not always wanting to be a big girl. She told us earlier in the week, I'm tired of using the potty, and she meant it. She is not such a fan of the responsibility and the remembering and the always sitting, always trying. But these were also tears of being at the end of the day, of being tired and most likely hungry, of thinking she was ready to play and relax and encountering yet one more impediment. She burst into tears and for good measure, flung herself on the floor.
Let's be clear: what happened next does not always happen. But tonight love steered the stars and E came to the rescue. L, E said, would you like me to take you to the potty?
I think E really wanted to watch television.
L's cries stopped. She sat up, wiped her tears with both sleeves, and wordlessly nodded. Come, E said, and held out her hand. They walked hand-in-hand to the bathroom, where E turned on the light and put the foam toddler-tushie seat insert on the regular seat. She very solicitously continued to minister to her sister. Would you like me to hold your hand while you climb up? L nodded. Would you like me to hold your hand while you pee? L nodded again.
(Is that weird to you? They hold hands all the time when one of them uses the potty...especially if the user hasn't, um, eaten enough fiber recently.)
L has a habit of stripping entirely when she climbs up on the potty so it wasn't a surprise to hear E next say, L, would you like me to help you put your underpants back on?
We heard a flush and the sounds of washing and and the two emerged hand-in-hand, walking in a straight line toward the television's "on" button. E sported a triumphant smile and L, well, she was sporting backwards underpants and a deep cotton wedgie.