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.
We live in a great little neighborhood with amazing neighbors. We are also very fortunate that our next door neighbors have a son that is only a couple months older than Noah. His name is Gus.
Well, a few weeks ago, while the boys were playing and riding bikes in the neighborhood cul-de-sac, Gus was wearing a Lightning McQueen helmet handed down to him from his big brother. He looked super cute and, of course, Noah just had to have a helmet too.
We don’t have a helmet. And thus, the drama ensued…
Noah had to have a hat (which is obviously second place to a Lightning McQueen helmet). We run all the way back to the house, search for his hat, panic a little when we can’t find it, Matt finds it, and I run back out to give Noah the hat. Well, by this time, Gus is tired of wearing the helmet. He takes it off, sets it on the ground next to his juice box, and continues riding his bike.
This is Noah’s opportunity. Noah sneaks over and, very quietly and gently so that no one would notice, puts the helmet on. Well, if you have boys, I am sure that you are aware that there is some kind of hormonal signal that goes off when another kid wants to play with your toys. Gus immediately stops everything that he is doing, jumps off of his bike, and demands that Noah takes the helmet off. So, Gus’s mother and I rush over to intervene. We offer suggestion after suggestion about sharing, taking turns, you weren’t wearing it, you have a hat instead, etc…
At this point, there is no sharing, no learning opportunity to be had, no calming Noah down as tears are flowing and wails can be heard 3 blocks away. Gus doesn’t want to wear the helmet but he sure as heck doesn’t want Noah to wear it either. Matt takes Noah inside, kicking and screaming, and I am left to gather Noah’s toys and head home.
[Side note: As I am gathering the bike and the scooter and the other toys, Gus comes up to me with a very sly smile and says, “Can I wear Noah’s hat?” I looked at Gus and then I looked at his mother. I said, “Really kid? After all that? No, sweetie. You can’t wear Noah’s hat. Put on your helmet.” And then his mom and I just giggled.]
And, this brings us to this past weekend- the weekend of the helmet.
Saturday morning, my wonderful husband decides that, in order to prevent another “helmet incident” that we should go and buy Noah his own helmet. We needed some other things at Target so, why not?! Let’s go get the kid his very own helmet.
We stroll into the store, buy the random odds and ends that were on my list, and head over to the sporting goods area. Noah picks out a helmet with Dusty the crop-duster on it. Everyone is very excited. We also just absolutely had to have a new Superman T-shirt with a cape and mommy was tired so she caved.
After paying for everything, the moment I put my wallet back into my purse, Noah demanded that he put on the Superman cape right away. So, as mentioned before, mommy was tired. I pulled Noah’s dinosaur shirt off, ripped the tags off of the Superman shirt, and put it on him. Now he was excited!
We ran a couple other errands while he insisted the entire time that I get the helmet out so he could wear it. The tags and wrapping of the helmet required a little more effort than the t-shirt so he had to wait until we got home.
The minute we walked in the door, “Mommy, can I wear my helmet?”
“Of course you can. Let me get it out.”
“Mommy, I need my helmet!”
“Matt, I can’t get this stupid helmet open. Help!”
“Mommy, I need my helmet NOW!!!”
“Fine! Here is your helmet. Put it on!”
So, we venture outside to work in the yard. Noah helps me water my plants.
Before his nap, I convince him that little boys are not allowed to wear helmets to bed. But he had to sleep with it in his room.
After his nap, it was a little too hot to go outside right away so we finally watched Frozen for the first time.
Then we ate dinner.
The next day, we actually wore the helmet to ride our bike. This time, we also needed our Dusty sunglasses.
We got tired of riding our bike.
So Daddy had to carry the bike home.
That evening, I hid the helmet.
I would characterize myself as a bit of a “psycho” about respecting and understanding the appropriate developmental stages that Noah is stumbling through as I don’t want to be the person that screws him up by forcing him into something that he’s not quite ready for. As a result, we have waited on him to tell us when he is ready to start potty training. Well, apparently, he made that very clear at preschool because, a week ago, his teachers told us, “He’s ready. Bring lots of extra clothes and put that boy in underwear.”
Well, we were excited. We spent that weekend picking out big boy underwear, practiced asking to go to the potty, talked about what it feels like to be a big boy. You name it. We were ready.
We have a little children’s potty that looks like a frog. We set it up in the bathroom and made sure it was where Noah wanted it. Saturday morning, first thing when I got him up out of bed, he tells me, “Mommy, I need to pee.” I pick him up, I rush him downstairs, he stands in front of the potty, and his pee shoots completely past the potty, over the frog, and lands about 4 feet beyond where it is supposed to land. It shocked me to the point that I squealed a bit, which caused him to turn and look at me, causing the pee to cover the walls and floor of the bathroom. I then had to get past the fact that my bathroom is covered in pee (and it was that first-thing-in-the-morning really pungent smelling pee too) and celebrate and high-five and make a huge deal about how proud I am of him. And, don’t get me wrong, I am unbelievably proud of his amazingly quick processing of the idea of potty training. And I know he is so proud of himself too. I just don’t quite understand how a 3 foot tall human being can pee 4 feet past the potty.
He had done so well throughout the week and his teachers were so proud of him. Every day they sent home notes about how great he had done. We had 2 days where he only had 1 accident and 1 day where he actually came home in the same outfit that I sent him to school in. Amazing! Well, by Friday, laundry hadn’t gotten done and he hadn’t been wearing his extra clothes all that much anyways, so I only sent 3 extra pairs of shorts and 3 extra pairs of underwear to school. (Previously, I had been sending 5 shirts, 5 shorts, 5 underwear, and 3 pairs of socks.)
I am on my way home from work on Friday and Matt texts me, “You won’t believe what your son is wearing.” Well, I know it is going to either be really bad or really funny. I pull up to the house and go to open the door from the garage into our laundry room, and the door won’t budge. I hear Noah scream on the other side. He has pinned himself up against the door, screaming in a tantrum because Daddy wants him to change his clothes. During the day, he had had several accidents and had gone through all of his extra clothes. His last accident involved pooping some on the playground and pooping a little bit more on himself while his teacher tried to rush him inside to the potty. Since he had gone through all of his clothes, they had to rummage through their stash of extra clothing. He was wearing bright pink and white checked shorts, size 5T. They were huge and baggy and he loved them! He finally let us change him out of them at bath time.
Noah has always liked to take his sweet time when it came to pooping (as many men do). He requires that everyone else leave the room to give him some privacy. He doesn’t want anyone to watch him and he likes to stop gradually throughout the process to play with some toys or watch TV. Well, this has made the pooping-portion of the potty training rather difficult. He absolutely refuses to sit on the potty to poop. He makes us take his big boy underwear off, put his diaper on, leave him alone to poop, and then put his underwear back on after he’s done.
His teachers suggested to us that we either force him on to the potty or buy cheap underwear and throw them away (but be sure to point out that he is making us throw his bog boy underwear in the trash). Well, he screams bloody-murder if you try to put him on the potty and I don’t like the idea of shaming him when we throw away his underwear so I am a bit stuck. I have resigned myself to just deal with it until he has mastered the peeing portion.
However, this weekend, we went with some friends to a spring football game. Before the game, we all met at an outside cookout that had very sub-par bathrooms. Well, of course, Noah announces that he has to poop. So, I leave the cookout and walk to the Caribou Coffee next door. I had to get the key to use the bathroom. I try to get Noah to sit on the potty but, of course, he screams. I don’t want to get arrested for child abuse so I put a diaper on him. He makes me leave the bathroom. I stand outside the bathroom door (checking on him about every 3 minutes), a line of college girls is forming outside the door as I apologize profusely. These 19 year old girls don’t understand and don’t give a crap about my 2 year old’s pooping issues.
Finally, he handles his business. Matt and I later discussed how many more fun things he and I are going to miss out on because we are hanging out in the bathroom while Noah is pooping.
Well, by yesterday (10 days in to potty training), we could finally tell that Noah was doing really well and he was starting to figure out how to manipulate mommy and daddy throughout this potty training process. He had been doing so well and we weren’t constantly asking him if he needed to pee. Well, the minute we let our guard down, he comes in to the kitchen while I’m cooking supper, with a huge smile on his face and says, “Mommy, I peed in my shoes!”
At some point in the evening, he had taken his socks off and put his shoes back on without socks. When he peed in his pants, the pee ran down his legs and filled his sneakers up with pee. Now, if you have read my posts in the past, you know that Noah is very picky about shoes and, therefore, only has one pair of sneakers that he will wear. That pair of sneakers was currently swimming in pee.
I immediately try to figure out what the heck I am supposed to do with these shoes that will get them clean and ready for school the next day. As cleaning is not an innate thing for me, I do the only thing I know how to do, I scrub them in the sink with Dawn dish soap (it cleans everything, right?) and throw them in the dryer. This morning, the shoes are clean, the shoes are dry, and the shoes don’t smell anymore. Problem solved, right? Noah puts the shoes on and immediately starts complaining, “These shoes are too tight!!”
The damn shoes shrunk!! He went to school in crocs today and I will figure it out later.