It was a beautiful Memorial weekend (it could have been any weekend, but it happened to be

Couldn't find a cuter cabin if you tried.

Couldn’t find a cuter cabin if you tried.

Memorial weekend), and we were staying in the adorable cabin we had booked well in advance just 50 feet from the sandy shore of Lake Huron.


There was hardly a cloud in the bright blue sky, and the sun was shining as bright as if it were 85 degrees; it was gorgeous. Only it wasn’t 85 degrees. It was 58 degrees. And we were 50 feet from the sandy shore of Lake Huron.

Beautiful...but not exactly swimming weather.

Beautiful…but not exactly swimming weather.



The plan had been to let the lake entertain the children for the vast majority of the long weekend, but plans had changed, as plans were made to be.


And so we took a 2-year-old and 5-year-old and a well-stocked picnic basket to the beautiful Au Sable River and chose the extra long canoe ride.


The river (could have been any river, but it happened to be the Au Sable) was deserted and the children were wonderful. We spotted fish under the calm waters and ducks, geese, herons, hawks, gulls, and countless other birds, many with clumsy, fluffy babies undisturbed in their natural habitats. The kids had a great time listening for the bird calls and looking for their nests.

He's an old pro at this.

He’s an old pro at this.


Hunger kicked in and we found a bit of flat shoreline to pull the canoe up on while we laid out our blanket and basked in the warm sunshine.


Basked, until the recently potty-trained 2-year-old announced, “I need to poop, Mommy.”




In the woods.


She takes 10 minutes in the best of circumstances. And she won’t poop unless it is the best of circumstances.


How was she going to squat for 10 minutes straight, AND poop while squatting…much less squat in the same place without stepping in/sitting in/falling in said poop??


Two paddling hours from our destination. There was no waiting.


My mind raced. This was not going to end well. The last thing I wanted to do was try to clean up a poop accident while on the river…


And then, with what I like to think of as fantastic brilliance, I collected four good size branches, arranged them in a square, two sides on the ground and the other two resting on them.

Not actually the leaves I used, but these come from a tree appropriately nick-named the "toilet paper tree." (

Not actually the leaves I used, but these come from a tree appropriately nicknamed the “toilet paper tree.”


Nature’s potty seat. She sat and she pooped, no questions asked. Of course, that’s a lie: she asked 400 questions in the span of one poop, 397 of them composed entirely of “why?,” but she sat and she pooped all the same.


And while she pooped (for a good 10 minutes, of course), I collected a few of a nearby tree’s big fuzzy leaves…


The day continued even more amazingly as it had begun: at the completion of our picnic, a bald eagle swooped by low enough to see his hooked beak and gleaming eyes, clutching a freshly caught fish in its claws.


Clearly, my clever resourcefulness was being rewarded.

My clever resourcefulness continuing to be rewarded...

My clever resourcefulness continuing to be rewarded…

2 Responses to Parenting Pro Tip #7465

  1. Nicole says:

    Very cute story – I don’t know if I ever would have thought of the tree branch potty. Nice job mommy!

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