The 3-year-old Alarm
There must be a small alarm that goes off inside 2 year olds a few months before they turn 3. I am pretty sure that this alarm sends some kind of signal to the brain that says, “Hey you! Figure out everything you can possibly do to be an asshole today!” Noah’s alarm went off yesterday.
Yesterday morning started off like every other morning. We got Noah up, got him dressed, he wasn’t really in the mood to eat his usual breakfast so I decided to treat him to a mommy-son breakfast date at Chic-fil-a. They even gave him a balloon because he was being so sweet. We get to pre-school and I discover that Tuesday is “Water Play Day” and of course, I forgot to put him in his bathing suit. No big deal. He has extra clothes. He can just get wet. No harm, no foul.
I go to work. It is an incredibly long day (one of those no-time-for-lunch-because-everyone-has-a-crisis-that-only-you-can-solve kind of days). I am actually really excited to pick Noah up from school because I know he will be excited to see me.
When I get to school, Noah is beaming with cuteness, dancing around and showing me all of the cool stuff he did that day. His teacher tells me that tomorrow is “Decorate a T-Shirt Day” and reminds me that I need to bring in a plain white t-shirt. Well, I already feel like a crappy mother after forgetting the bathing suit this morning so I say, “Oh yeah! I got one the other day for him.”
Of course I did not get him a plain white t-shirt. What the hell is “Decorate a T-Shirt Day” anyway?
Regardless… When I get to the car, I ask Noah if he wants to go to Old Navy and get a t-shirt. He is very excited about it and is even more excited when we get to the car and he sees his red Chic-fil-a balloon from this morning. We get to Old Navy, he turns on the charm. He is talking to people, asking really cute questions, just hamming it up. We go to check out and, while I am paying, he sees a big basket of red, white, and blue soccer balls in a clearance bin at the front of the store.
Noah: “Hey mom! Can I have a soccer ball?”
Me: “No babe. I already paid. You have a soccer ball at home you can play with.”
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! 3-year-old asshole alarm goes off.
Noah screams at the top of his lungs. He throws his body on the floor. He kicks and yells, “I don’t want to go home! I don’t like you! I want a soccer ball!”
There is a line of people staring and judging. Now, I am the mother that forgot the bathing suit for water play, had to buy the plain white t-shirt last minute, and I am letting my child writhe around on the floor of Old Navy all in a span of less than 12 hours.
I take a deep breath. I decide I am not going to speak. But I am going to take control.
I throw my purse over my shoulder. I pick him up in a way that one might carry a large pile of lumber, and I walk calmly out of the store. Meanwhile, Noah is kicking me in the ribs, pulling my hair, slapping every bit of me that he can reach, and continuing to scream “I don’t want to go home! I don’t like you!”
In the parking lot, he kicks his shoes off right in front of a very large pick-up truck. I manage to shift Noah to one side like a swing dancer where his knees are bent over my right arm and his head and hands are dangling free. I pick up the shoes, wave an apology to the pick-up truck driver, and swing him back up like a pile of lumber.
I have to force him in to the car seat while he slaps my face and pulls my hair (still screaming mean things to me the whole time). I get in to the driver’s seat and pull out of the parking lot. The entire drive home he kicks the back of my seat (now he is screaming, “I don’t want to be in the car! I don’t like your car mommy!”) and he decides he wants to try and escape. He grabs the door handle and pulls it over and over again until I think it is going to break off (thank goodness for child-locks!).
I finally speak and tell him, in a very calm voice, that he is not allowed to pull the door handle because it might break. Well this pisses him off even more. Now, he’s going to pull out the big guns. He starts biting his arms as hard as he can and then screaming about how much his arms hurt.
[No, I will not crack.]
We finally get home, I pull into the driveway, I unbuckle his car seat and he refuses to get out of the car. Fine. I leave the door open and I check the mail, put the garbage cans away, put my bags in the garage, and straighten up a bit. I look back at the car and he is struggling to try and get out of his car seat by himself (it was actually kind of funny to watch).
I finally do the countdown. “I am going to count to 5. If I get to 5 and you are not out of the car, I am going to drag you out of the car and you get no TV tonight.” I can see his wheels turning. He’s trying to decide if he wants to call my bluff. He decides. He chose poorly.
I count all the way to 5 (hoping and praying that he gives in because I really do not want to deal with an asshole who can’t watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates. It’s been too long of a day). I grab him up, take him inside, kicking and screaming.
He spends the next 30 minutes in the laundry room. Every few seconds, he opens the door, throws something at me, and then slams the door 3 or 4 times to prove his point. Then, the noise stops. I get nervous because screaming is usually always better than silence in the case of a 2-year-old. He comes out of the laundry room and, in his sweetest voice says, “Mommy, I need to poop.”
Now, I’m his best friend.