enjoy every minute they said

Chicken is three.

In related news, he is also a MONSTER.

Could he just be overstimulated from his first week back at school?

Could I be short-tempered because (PERIOD ALERT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT A PERIOD SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH) I'm having what I refer to as a dry period - everything but the blood. And I do mean everything. I'm so bloated the new room parents who don't know my name yet probably refer to me as "the puffy one," or "the one who's about 22 weeks along." I had to put down a knife and walk away when I saw some dried tomato seeds on the cutting board that Ryan didn't wipe up after he made me a cheeseburger for lunch. That's right. I was about to cut a fool for not adequately cleaning up after the hot lunch he prepared for me before shooing me downstairs to watch an afternoon movie, alone, in peace. I know. WHAT AN ASS HOLE.

Could the moon be full? Could he have eaten too much sugar today? Could a past life as a serial-killer clown be resurfacing? Sure. It could be any of those things.

But it's not.

He's just three. And therefore, a monster.

Oh, he looks sweet. Look at him. Doing a maze. A maze. On the couch, sans pants. How sweet, you say. How adooooorable.

you can tell
from his kneecaps
he's up to something


SILENCE, YOU FOOLS.

He's merely lulling you into a false sense of safety. Just behind that maze book he is plotting out the best way to kill me. Today.

In this family, we don't hit.
Kick. Spit. Bite. Push.
Drag Buster around by his head.
Ride Buster like a horse.
Hoard toys that you're not playing with just so other people can't play with them.
Throw hard toys.
Run with sharp things.
Grab things off the kitchen counter.
Climb on the kitchen table and dance unless Mommy or Daddy is right there with the camera.
Scream in Mommy's face.
Head butt Daddy in the nuts.
Throw black bean soup with a spoon catapult.
Say "oh my fuck" in public.
Change the settings on the thermostat. (It was 80 today. WHY IS THE HEAT ON.)
Run away in a parking lot.
Unscrew the cap to the paint and dump the entire bottle on the table.
Splash in the tub.
Stand on the toilet lid and dance unless Mommy or Daddy is right there with the camera.

In this family, we don't do any of those things.

Except today.

When Chicken did ALL OF THEM.

holy
fucking
what the
jesus
h
bananas
okay
okay
okay
RYAN?
RYAN CAN YOU COME IN HERE?


Straight up, he burned this bitch down. To the ground.

But I was okay. I was handling it. I was listening, giving warnings, doing quiet wind-down time. I was being an awesome mom - patient and calm and all that fucking shit.

Until he spat in my face.

Ptoo.

Three.

Ptoo.

Times.

Ptoo.

he's so into spitting right now
that we have a spit zone
where it's ok to spit
the spit zone includes the driveway
and the bath tub
and also
anywhere else he wants
because
I mean
what can I do?


The thing about a kid spitting in your face is:

1. It is humiliating and insulting on a really basic level. He is treating me like a toilet. Honestly, when he spit on me, I started looking for my dueling pistols. I was ready to defend my honor right then and there. My name is Indigo Montoya. You thrice sprayed me with a fine mist of foamy spittle, with an impish grin on your face. PREPARE TO DIE.

2. There is really no way to stop it. It's not like a toy you can take away. I spent the whole day counting to three in a don't-fuck-with-me voice, and it worked for the first few hours...

Me: Chicken... Chicken, I see you. Do we spit in this family?

Chicken: Nooo...

Me: Then suck that spit back in. Right now. ONE.

Chicken: (slurp)

Me: Thanks, buddy. What a great choice you made!



Until he started to wonder what would happen if I got all the way to three...



Me: Then suck that spit back in. Right now. ONE.

Chicken: (blowing more spit bubbles onto his chin)

Me: TWO. Do not make me count to three, Chicken. 

Chicken: (slurp)



And then he finally called my bluff.



Me: Then suck that spit back in. Right now. ONE.

Chicken: (spit foam goatee)

Me: TWO. I am not kidding.

Chicken: (spit foam goatee dripping onto his shirt)

Me: THREE.

Chicken: (spit foam goatee dripping onto his shirt. and lap.)

Oh shit. I GOT ALL THE WAY TO THREE. AND THEN NOTHING HAPPENED. I HAD NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING!

What was I going to do, take his spit away? I thought about it, but I didn't have enough silica gel packets. Or sand.

Once he tested the fences and found that the electric system was down, shit got real in a hurry. And that's how I found myself with a face full of toddler spit at 6:40 pm. My first thought?

Oh no you did not.

Followed closely by

I bought you a fucking doughnut today.

HE IS A MONSTER.

I wish this were the kind of post that ended in a moment of redemption.

But this shit is real life, without a proportionate denouement and tidy lesson. Sometimes your kid spits in your face three times and you just have to shake with fury and get angrier and angrier while he giggles through a "time out" and keeps inching closer and closer to the edge of the seat to see if you're really watching to make sure his bottom stays on the chair.

Sometimes you fall back on old-school withholding tactics that you know don't work in the long run. Sometimes you slice the air with a wildly pointing finger and bellow "THAT'S IT. NO OCTONAUTS TOMORROW!" Sometimes you're ashamed about how pleased you are that you've reduced your child to tears. It doesn't feel good, does it? When someone you love takes away something important to you. But see, kid, I took away 22 minutes of animated undersea exploration. You took away my dignity. 

Sometimes you have to prove that you're still the one in charge here. Sometimes you know deep down that if you were really in charge, you wouldn't have to prove it.

And sometimes you sit down to write about it and remember, too late, that your job as mom isn't about being in charge, or exerting control, or proving that you're bigger and stronger, and the only one in the room who knows where the iPad is hidden.

Honestly, I don't know what parenting is about, especially today, when I sucked at it. Now, hours later, I vaguely remember some buzzwords from a parenting book... modeling appropriate responses... kind and firm... tools to manage big feelings... mutual respect... teach don't punish... but Chicken's been in bed without stories for two hours now, and the window for a re-do is long since closed.

I sucked pretty bad tonight, but at least I remembered one important thing before I tucked him in snug as a bug.

After all the yelling and vigorous pointing and over-articulation of the words "SIT. DOWN. AND. DON'T. MOVE." I drew Chicken into my body and curved around him, my hard and shining baby spoon, and said,

Chicken.
Baby.
I like you.

I don't like when you spit in my face.
I don't like spitting.
At all. 
It hurts my feelings and makes me really, really mad.

But I like you.
Even you when you spit.
I still like you.

And then he kissed me on the cheek, slid a shy smile my way, and said,

"So... can I watch Octonauts tomorrow?"

3 comments:

  1. This mostly sounds like my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How are you doing? You doing okay? You need a safe place to sleep tonight?

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a tough day. I don't think you sucked at being a parent AT ALL. You have more grace under pressure than most.

    ReplyDelete