A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: rountine changes

Trepidation

The cusp of three-and-a-half-year-old Mr. Man had his first dentist appointment the other day. My husband and I have a standard protocol introducing new and possibly unpleasant things to him, and its efficacy is magical…Like a unicorn spontaneously appearing in my family room shitting cookies and telling me MPOTUS and his dream team are in prison.

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(allposters.com read my mind; can’t you FEEL the magic…totally worth a house coated in glitter, right?)

Little Man has always struggled with transitions, even for small changes in activities. As a little wee man, if he were enjoying swings, good luck getting him off…out of a bathtub…out the door. It never mattered. Announcing anything requiring him to shift gears almost always led to a refusal and meltdown.

For the longest time it was enough to countdown minutes; I still do. It’s a bit absurd. We call them “Mommy Minutes” because they have no actual relationship to real time. A Mommy Minute is probably more like a minute-and-a-half in real time…because I have shit to do. The process begins with me announcing five minutes remaining of an activity, then I periodically announce one minute less in intervals suiting me. The last announcement will be thirty seconds before I ask my son to count from ten. Once he accomplishes his part, I almost never have an issue ushering him to the next task. Occasionally, I have to follow-up with a mild redirection or limit, but I can’t remember the last time there has been a full-out heel digging and head spinning.

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(Linda Blair pictures were freaking me out, but Anthony Hopkins is hot and beats the hell out of the Mitch McConnell look alike that kept popping up…You’re welcome.)

It doesn’t have to be minutes either. I’ve counted pushes…bites…taps…anything. The point is that he needs time to shift gears. He probably inherited this rigidity from me. It’s interesting because he’s pretty easy going and laid back. I would have expected him to be a worrier or a generally anxious kid; he isn’t.

That said, for a bit around when Warrior Queen was born we were having trouble getting Mr. Man to sit for a hair-cut, and few things make a Mommy feel like more of a humiliated failure than when she and her offspring are bounced from a bargain hair salon amongst a crowd of bystanders. That was our family’s hair-cut bottom, and Little Man was in desperate need of trimmed locks.

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(You got me Flickr, this guy’s situation might have been worse, but only because my experience isn’t on the internet. And, really, I’m just one delicious chocolate cake away from an impressive pants split.)

My brilliant husband spent the following week talking about getting a hair-cut. General things: what happens…random details…how long it takes…why it’s time to get one…Mommy and Daddy have them. There was nothing poetic about the conversations, and some were quite clumsy. Often he passionately refused during these conversations. If he became weepy, we’d stop talking, and move on to other topics. But, the next weekend my Mr. Man sat on Daddy’s lap for a hair-cut without issue. When he was finished he skipped over to me screaming, “I did a good job!” We haven’t had a problem with hair-cuts since.

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(The hair-cut was miraculous! Thanks, The Wolf.)

Little Man abhors the doctor even more than a hair snipping…even if it isn’t an appointment for him. But, after a week of talking about it, my brave boy managed his most recent physical despite reddening eyes and a shaky voice as the visit progressed. Fortunately, no vaccinations that round, but I’ve used this approach for his last blood test checking his lead levels. Whenever we leave appointments that potentially throw his disposition askew, my husband and I tell Little Man how brave he was, and how proud we are of him. We often talk about bravery in our home…feeling fear, but pushing on anyway.

This leads us to the dental appointment. The tricky thing with this situation is that I wasn’t sure what would be happening. He’s three; how can they clean the teeth of a three-and-some-change-year-old kid? I don’t make promises I’m not sure I can keep, so I feared my responses would be ungratifying. Will it hurt? Probably not, but I’m not sure what they are doing exactly. It will probably just feel weird. I focused on their expertise working with kids his age. He asked if he could sit on my lap during the appointment. I’m not sure, but I could commit to before and after. Blessedly that was enough. My intermittently cautious kid was nervous the night before. He didn’t say, but we had trouble getting him to settle the night before, and he woke early.

It was a strange morning. Getting him ready we spoke more of the appointment…went over the same concerns…would it hurt…the lap situation. Mr. Man pauses at the end before saying with an intellectual, high pitched lilt in his voice, “I don’t know. It sounds suspicious to me…” That one prompted a cascade of tears blurring my vision for five minutes…and side cramps.

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(It’s a little known fact that Socrates was really a preschooler.)

We needed to be out of the house first thing, but my son climbed into my car forty-five minutes before it was time to manage our exit shuffle. I hadn’t even wrangled a shower yet. He gave me a bit of push back before allowing me to carry him back into the house.

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(Usually this is Warrior Queen’s spirit animal, but not on this occasion. Thanks for the token, Pinterest!)

Entering the house and left to his own devices while I prepared for our day, Little Man resumed business as usual. He tormented his sister for a bit…tormented me a bit less…all in a day’s morning ritual. I showered, finished making snacks for the day. Suddenly, the house was quiet. Little Man disappeared once again, finding his way into his car seat. I went ahead and buckled him in, but he didn’t want me to go. I squeezed myself on the edge of the car floor in front of him.

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(Looks comfy cozy, doesn’t it? Sick Chirpse knows I’d do just about anything for my children…)

He kissed and held my hand telling me how much he loves me. We laughed. I asked him if he was scared. He said he was. We talked about bravery some more. He said he is brave; I agreed. He asked to check my teeth; I complied. I’d managed to ignore the pain in my hips and tushie, but eventually the tingling jabs were intolerable. I smooched Mr. Man, and provided one more snuggle before leaving my precarious perch. My little man did not stop me.

There were no tears or tantrums as we entered the office…no apprehension. I didn’t know what to expect, but from the immediate first moments they were pros. Pediatric dentistry is no joke, but this crew had it down. My son was marvelous for the entire time…cleaning and all that included dental floss! I didn’t bring in my phone incorrectly assuming this first appointment was probably a meet and greet with a quick check to see if anything is rotting.

I couldn’t help but wear a smile so wide that my face became sore; quietly gazing at my little man as he sat on folded legs wearing the sun glasses they gave him because of the bright lights. The hygienist won him over by allowing him to fondle the various instruments. My son agreeably opened his mouth like a dinosaur, even though he didn’t seem exactly sure what that meant. He tried to answer questions about juice and gummy snacks, but was unable. Mr. Man has a bit of juice a couple of times a week, and I don’t think has ever eaten a gummy snack; this was one of the rare times I felt I kill it at this whole parenting thing. It isn’t as though I feel I’m terrible at it, but every once in a while something happens that makes me feel like I should be carried off by a team of smartly dressed athletes.

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(I can still hear the chants, “Mommy…Mommy…Mommy…”)

We left the appointment with my son holding my hand telling me how brave he is, beaming I whole heartedly agreed.

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A Face without Egg, but Still Cracked

Sometimes I am on the cusp of losing my cool with my children in spectacular fashion, particularly with my upcoming threenager. But, I’ve learned something about myself as Little Man continues to develop a personality all his own…exploring the world in his individual ways. I can tolerate assholery from my children, and even find it amusing…or hysterical in some cases…provided the unpleasantness that entails does not affect me directly.

My son, for example, never really exhibited the typical toddler behavior of throwing random items into the toilet, hoping to see the object swirl down to a watery tomb. At least, that had been the case until very recently. It isn’t consistent, but when he is overtired the impulse to throw toys and other various items in our commode becomes a hellish dodgeball exercise while I’m trying to brush his teeth.

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(I think GOT WOD knows Gumby has nothin’ on me.)

One specific night in question had my husband taking the lead for the Little Man bedtime rituals. I was tending to my own when a giddy toddler barreled into the restroom while I was foaming at the mouth from an ambitions and overzealous tooth scrubbing.

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(Thank you, Soupy Trumpet. You get it.)

Whatever, my husband was in charge; I carried on in my own zombie-like exhausted state. But, in a second, Little Man launched for an item on the vanity, subsequently hurling my husband’s comb into the toilet. Maybe it paints me as a jerk, but my laughter produced streaked tears down my cheeks. My son was immediately shepherded out of the room, and I was once again left to my own devices.

Less amusing, however, was an incident a couple days later. I try to encourage my  son’s wishes to play, behave, or simply exist independently. One such risk is when he requests to remain downstairs while I shower. We went over the three rules and consequence for infractions. He recited all parts beautifully. He was set. Sometimes it’s fine…sometimes not…This specific occasion was the latter. I usually maneuver objects and such in preparation, but of course I would forget the steak knife in the dish drainer. When I made my way down the stairs after my shower, I was greeted with my husband’s child sitting in front of the refrigerator holding the steak knife in question in one hand, and clutching a bag of dates he scaled the refrigerator shelves to retrieve in the other. The kicker is he preemptively removed the chair he climbed to reach the cutlery, knowing I would take it away as soon as I saw him. So, I guess I’m consistent? And, that would be bad enough, but there is more to this tale. He also was surrounded by a carton-and-a-half of destroyed eggs fanned out to maximize the carnage, yet mostly contained to one room.

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(Doesn’t cleaning sixteen of these look like a good time? I was PSYCHED!)

And, to keep it interesting, Little Man pointed out the two he shoved in the cabinet under the sink…SIX HOURS LATER.

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(Yeah, I’ll own it. Not my proudest moment. Thanks, Cryptid Wiki.)

Upon seeing the vein throbbing in my neck and the glare bestowed on him, my son independently identified he would not be remaining downstairs while I shower for the foreseeable future…again. I’d like to say that event was a one of. Sadly it was repeated five days later while I was upstairs for, literally, two minutes. Little Man is not allowed to have eggs for the near future, possibly until college. We talk about why they are forbidden when he requests French toast or “eggs ‘n’ toast” for breakfast.

My in-laws visited for a long weekend in the middle of the infamous egg incidents in the winter of 2017. True to form my son had a tough time, even if it wasn’t quite the same as when my parents are in town. Toward the tail end of the visit, Little Man finished his dinner, and persistently urged Daddy to finish eating so he could have a bath. Not wanting to waste time, as well as to hasten Daddy’s eating efforts, Little Man dropped full-Monty trough.

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(Yup, Duluth Trading guy will be my son some day.)

It was hilarious…little man tushie scampering about…Then he relieved a stupendous amount of urine I would question was his if I hadn’t seen the expenditure. It was all over the floor, but fortunately missed the carpet…barely. I had the only reaction one can expect from a parent: I folded over a chair in heaving laughter I couldn’t control while Daddy cleaned his son’s latest bodily fluid spill. The event was less funny two days later just after the house became ours once again.

It was the same day as the second floor egging…fifteen minutes after to be exact, and I was no longer in good humor. The story much less interesting, as it was one more event due to over tired misbehavior exacerbated from several days of overstimulation from visitors. Little Man was unhappy with his series of consequences in a short span of time. He found it hilarious to urinate on our white carpet in the upstairs hallway…until it resulted in his “quiet time” starting an hour early with no story. Kid passed-out in his tent on the floor within ten minutes easy. Nights continue to produce a very Daddy excited toddler. But, generally, we’re all feeling much better now.

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