Monday, September 07, 2009

Outwitted by wee velociraptors

Some days I look at our kids and feel all sorts of warm, fuzzy feelings. I am in awe that just a month ago our son was still in diapers and our daughter couldn't feed herself or climb stairs yet. Just a month and a half ago Danny was barely talking and I could put Fiona in one place and count on her to be there when I got back. I feel like weeping as the tune to "Sunrise, Sunset" gently ripples through my addled, sleep-deprived brain. (Well, okay, I'm not really THAT sentimental ... I just don't want you to think I'm totally heartless.)

Other days, well, most days, I feel stuck in that scene from Jurassic Park where the velociraptors have just figured out how to open doors with their wee little dinosaur hands. My kids get smarter with every passing day (except for this morning when my daughter tried to get a hold of her bottle, laying horizontal on the floor, using her mouth instead of her hands and that time last week when my son tried to grab at his cup through the screen on the porch. D'oh.). Every time Danny or Fiona learns a new seemingly inconsequential trick, I panic. One day, I fear they will be smarter than me, able to outwit me at every turn just as my reflexes begin to slow with age. (Is that what "at wit's end" really means?) Of course, I want my children to learn new things, but can it please be on a day when I've had more than 4 hours of sleep and my husband is home to help with the fallout?

Danny's success in potty training comes with a whole raft of rules that would never have occurred to me to express ... such as the potty is not a car wash, a clothes washing machine or a place to wash your hands (especially not after you've pooped in the potty and NOT YET flushed it) or don't flush the toilet before AND after you go, after is good enough or just because the toilet paper dispenser rolls so easily doesn't mean you need to unravel half the roll every time (I think he's really disappointed that he gets to use TP only once a day.)

Danny is increasingly verbal. Unfortunately, that means a lot more back talk. This morning, ME: (only after several sweeter requests) Get your butt up here. DANNY: NO, butt downstairs.

And I don't have enough baby gates to contain my daughter who climbs stairs and constantly tries to eat the dog food.

Defiance ain't just a town in Ohio

Our Friday evening could have been lovelier. The weather was fantastic. We had been playing in the yard, moseying from the playground to the side yard to the garden patio. But that last half hour before Nana and PopPop arrived to ferry our children away from us for the night became what I detest - an all out battle of wills with our 2 year old who is alternately defiant, distracted or just plain deaf.

An example, Friday morning I ask him to go fetch his green cup from the table as I'm strapping in Fiona. He proudly hands me a green ball.

"Danny go get your cup, please."

"Green ball, mommy." Arrrghhhhh.

Often I am talking two inches from his face and he doesn't even flinch. Back to Friday ...

As I loaded the van for my little angels' trip to Nana and PopPop's house, Danny muscled his way in, plopped in his seat and refused to get out. I'd had enough. I decided to just stoop to his level and said, "Fine. Stay in there. I'm closing the door now. Bye." And I did. After a few seconds, he balked. I reopened the door and again asked him to get out.

"No. No. Noooooooooooo," he growled through gritted teeth. I plopped the baby in the grass and went in after him. He tried to climb over the back seat.

It was funny ... later. But that act of defiance resulted in the third timeout in that half hour before Nana and PopPop rode to the rescue. I grabbed a kicking, screaming Danny under the arms and carried him to the timeout chair and had to walk away lest I began acting like a screaming, defiant and angry 2-year-old myself. Meanwhile, Jim and I can both hear our neighbor's sweet little 2 year old having a pleasant conversation with his parents in their back yard. It's a wonder someone hasn't called social services on us for the amount of screaming our children do.

Something about that last half-hour with a defiant, pant-wetting 2-year-old makes us both just plain crazy. The full moon this weekend sure didn't help either.

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