Creative Parenting 101: The Magic of Blankets

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:

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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.


  • House of Jules

    I just want to go on record and be clear when I say that NEITHER of us used that thing. I mean, I was no “lady-like” lady, but even *I* had enough sense not to use that thing!
    House of Jules

  • Melisa

    Joozie: Thanks for going on record. I reread the post because I wanted to make sure I didn’t inadvertently throw you under the bus in some way…I don’t think I did, so I will also go on record (again) and say that NEITHER ONE OF US SISTERS USED THE PEE PEE BLANKET AS A TOILET.

  • Melissa

    LOL! I so knew where you were going. No respectable “lady” would use a pee pee blanket!!

    I’ll be buying one this week…with my luck ours will end up getting used…lol!

  • Sue

    That pic of your mom and dad is so cool! No wonder you are a tiara wearing ‘biker’ chick!
    And about the blanket, um could you imagine the smell, you know with the wool and all, Ewwwwww!

  • Jennifer Lehmann

    Wow. What a brilliant idea. When I have kids, I’ll keep that in mind. Except, I’m sure my kids would use it in a heartbeat…because that is just my kind of luck!

  • Michelle

    Wow. I’d be so scared to try out that theory. You SOOOO need to ask your parents where the idea came from. Did one of their friends tell them about it or was it pure chance and luck? I’m still not trying it though!

  • House of Jules

    I had another thought on this: These days, that kind of thing would be called a UTI blanket.
    House of Jules

    PS: You didn’t throw me under the bus, I just wanted to go on record as never using the PPB.

  • angie goff

    Oh what a golden post! After reading dad’s letter I started thinking that maybe you were a user. But thanks for the clarification. I agree.. brilliant idea mom and dad. That pic of the hip duo is daringly priceless. We too had the light blue bug. We also had a moped. I’ve always been a fan of my parents choice in vehicles.

    ps- wish you could find that darn thing

  • Sarah Clapp

    There’s no way I could use the pee pee blanket on Charlie. He’d use it in a New York minute.

    My husband used to have a 74 Super Beetle Convertible. Way cool, picture of your parents. I think mine had a VW squareback.

  • Anonymous

    WELL DONE! Okay, we went through our share of vw bugs, then we graduated to the vw rabbit. FOREVER my parents bragged about how we made it from north NJ to VA Beach “on one tank of gas!” (it was a diesel.) Per the pp blanket… HOW BRILLIANT!
    weather kim in DC

  • KathyLikesPink

    A few random comments….

    Man, your parents totally rock! They look like they were VERY COOL PARENTS!!!

    My first car was a yellow 1973 Super Beetle. I named him Montezuma. Don’t ask me why.

    And in regards to the significant pause while pondering age…I’m way ahead of ya!

  • Kat

    Creative parenting indeed. A pee pee blanket is something that I’d like to try just to see how the kid reacts.

    So with you permission and on our own risk I will use my nephew as a guinnea pig 🙂

    Great story and Your Royal Highness if I may say so, your tiara is well deserved.

  • Melisa

    Angie: “What a golden post”…Bwahahahaha!!!

    Anissa: You NEVER fail to crack me up. You’re my kind of momma. (Hilarious, with a touch of “Don’t you DARE cross me!”)

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so what’s the deal-e-o? Are you too busy teaching spinning classes in your tiarra (sp?) to update your blog? I had an excuse being on vacation!!

    xoxo – weather kim in DC
    (I was tempted to climb “precipice” in Acadia with a Tierra for you…)

  • Jennifer

    The Pee-Pee Blanket is sheer brilliance! I will, however, have to get 2 PPB’s – one for each girl – which I will tuck under their fannies so they won’t have to even unbuckle! Now, for my son…I think I’ll be buying a PPC (Pee-Pee Cup) so he can relieve himself right there in a cup which he will then have to hang onto until arrival. Gives a whole new meaning to “Just HOLD IT!”

  • angie goff

    I consulted my dad after reading your post… he confirm not only did we have the light blue… but before I was born he had one he spraypainted yellow. Just in case you’re keeping count. Ok ..bye.

    btw meat on a stick ain’t doing so hot. (i think i’m gonna go anyway..hee heee heee hee)

  • Melisa

    Weather Kim: DUUUUDE! You are so right! Actually, I was busy in my tiara today. I have a post HALF done; hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow morning! But your anxiousness to see a new post made my night! 🙂

    Jennifer: PPC…I LOVE it! 🙂

    Ang: I wasn’t keeping count, but I definitely am now. LOL And re: the meat on a stick…I think that you should give me 100 votes on that and then we’ll see if it does better. Still the best choice.

  • The Microblogologist

    This is too funny! Niecey would most likely find the idea of peeing on a blanket in the car hysterical, because she is a little weirdo (coming from a long line of weirdos). If we let her I think she would go back to diapers, at least last August when we passed them at the store she informed us she would and actually gave a nostalgic sigh! Think I’ll send this to Sibling, hehe.