We live in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine. Right downtown. As in, our living room balcony overlooks a sidewalk cafe on one side, the entrance to a hostel on the other, and a 24-hour coffee shop across the street. (Why we need 24/7 access to coffee is beyond me, but they get business all day and all night long. I once even saw a couple park below our balcony around 3 am, stroll hand-in-hand across the street to the coffee shop, and emerge a few minutes later with take-out cups in their hands. I was a little dumbfounded. But, to be fair, I witnessed all this while standing on our balcony hanging up wet laundry at 3 am, so perhaps there were three people out that night whose actions could have raised eyebrows.) There are plenty of interesting things to watch from our balcony, from cars passing on the street, to people walking their dogs, parents with children, old ladies sweeping the sidewalks with short brooms, and once even a crew of men using a cherry-picker and a chain saw to trim limbs off trees. Our dog and two youngest kids love to hang out on the balcony and watch everything.
There’s just one problem. Our two youngest children are still in various stages of potty training, and as a result, somehow between the toilet and the balcony they manage to misplace their pants and underwear. Multiple times per day. People are constantly passing by on the sidewalk just one story below our balcony, not to mention the people seated at the sidewalk cafe, enjoying their meals and puffing away on their waterpipes. If any of these passersby or diners happened to look up at just the right moment, they might see a cute little 2-year-old boy or 4-year-old boy with an impish grin, a T-shirt, AND NOTHING ELSE!
Granted, this situation is far less scandalous here in Ukraine than it would be in the U.S. or even other parts of Europe, but it still never ceases to mortify me. I feel like every time I turn around, I’m darting out onto the balcony to haul in one of these exhibitionist children of mine and find him some underwear, at the very least.
A few nights ago, most of the family was still seated at the dinner table when my husband noticed that the dog and our 4-year-old had gone out onto the balcony. My husband quickly called out to the 4-year-old, “Andrew, do you have underwear on?”
Completely unperturbed, Andrew called back, “Al-most?”
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