Hakuna Matata!

You know those parents who say that bathing their children is glorious and awesome and it’s such a bonding time and during a bath their children are so sweet and angelic and fun and cute and full of rainbows and sunshine and unicorns and glitter?

Yeah, well those parents are full of crap.  It was fun for the first year of The Beast’s life.  Then he learned how to climb and now bath time is just a giant ball of wet suck.

I’ll do just about anything to avoid giving The Beast a bath.  If Daddy is home, I always volunteer to do dishes during bath time.  I say things like, “Gosh, there are a ton of dishes and bath time rocks, so I’ll let you do the bath since you’re such a great husband and dad and deserve the break,” when we both know that bath time sucks.  My husband is just too nice to fight me.

When The Beast was a baby, bath time was sweet and fun, and when he’d shoot his little pee-pee stream up in the air and then watch it come splashing down all over him because he couldn’t sit up yet, we’d all laugh and then we’d hug and hold hands and sing Cumbaya. Now when we give him a bath, he drenches us, intentionally tries to hit us with his pee, laughs and then I go drink wine and pop a Xanax.

He loves to climb the wall and then jump into the water like he’s a WWE* wrestler.  I do not watch WWE, but I remember when Rocky fought Hulk Hogan.  Picture The Beast as The Hulk climbing up the wall, wedging his toes into the in-wall soap holder thingy and then jumping into the tub.  (*Do you watch WWE?  Really?  You know it’s fake, right?  Whatever.  Your choice in TV sucks.)   He also loves to dump large quantities of water out of the tub with anything that will hold water.  I’ve tried to shift him to entirely flat, non-vessel-like toys to see if that helps, and it doesn’t.  He’s an evil genius and he just uses his hands.

So there I sit wrapped in the shower curtain, which might as well be made of toilet paper for all of the good it does keeping me dry.  By the time the bath is all done, I’m drenched from head to toe and The Beast is thrilled with his success.

The other day when I was giving him his bath (Had to, Daddy wasn’t home and a wipe-down wasn’t going to cut it.  I’m a big fan of the wipe-down, by the way), The Beast started telling me he had to go potty to get an M&M.  This is entirely theoretical.  He’s never peed in the potty nor received an M&M for it, but he knows that once he starts peeing in the potty, he’ll start getting M&Ms.  Anyway, I pulled him out of the tub and held him suspended over the toilet since he’s too short to get his penis over the edge of the potty and I was too lazy to get a step stool.  So he cackled and then started splashing his foot around in the potty.

I yelled a profanity (Yes, my child is going to start swearing at his teachers.  I’m aware of that.  I’m getting quite tired of you judging me.)  and put him back in the tub so that we could start the fun all over again.

Next time he does that I’m just going to let him get e-coli feet.

I have decided that when my husband and I are old and senile, that if The Beast wants to receive an inheritance (which will probably consist of a box of wine and half-empty bottles of Xanax), he will be responsible for bathing our old, wrinkly bodies.  And since we’ll more than likely be incontinent by then, we’ll probably pee on him every chance we get.

Hakuna Matata, Baby.  Circle of life.

More fat-free, whole-wheat, soy-cheese pizza, please!

My husband and I have very different food philosophies.  I’m always worried about what I’m eating and whether or not it’s healthy for me.  (Except for wine and tequila.  Those are God’s nectar.  The more you drink, the healthier you will be.  It’s in the Bible in the Book of Libation, chapter 3 verse 7.  Your Bible doesn’t have the Book of Libation?  Right after the Book of Revelation?  Hmm, that’s odd.  You must not have the King (Bartles &) Ja(y)mes Revised Edition.)

My husband’s philosophy is more of the, Hey, I might get hit by a truck tomorrow and I don’t want my last meal to be baked tilapia and broccoli, because when they do my autopsy I don’t want the medical examiner to be all, “Wow, look at what this emasculated, sissy boy was being forced to eat.”

So we’re always trying to maintain a balance when it comes to our kids.  I want their meals to be healthy and their snacks to be fruit-based, while he’s more of the “Pick what you want out of the pantry and put it in a bowl” kind of dad.  They like him better than they like me.

My husband has a box of junk cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats) that he keeps for his late-night snacks, and he gave The Beast a bowl of it a while back. The Beast instantly started referring to it as “cookie cereal.”  It is not shaped like cookies and there is nary a cookie on the box, yet The Beast and his virginal taste buds instantly realized that this cereal is a dessert.  My husband must now hide his cereal from The Beast.

Now, I thought that my insistence that my husband hide his cereal was a clear suggestion of the types of food that I want the kids to eat for breakfast.

In light of the following conversation my husband and I had one morning this week, he did not pick up on that clue:

Him:  Is it okay for The Beast to eat this for breakfast?  He picked it out of the pantry.

Me: It’s a chocolate-covered granola bar.  It’s oats pressed together with liquified sugar and covered in chocolate.  What part of that seems like it’s a good breakfast for a toddler?

Him:  It says it’s organic.

Me:  The bat guano we use to fertilize the lawn says it’s organic too.  You wouldn’t feed him that for breakfast, would you?  (I realize that my snarky attitude is completely hypocritical in light of the snacks I fed The Beast last week, but I was sick so you can keep your opinion to yourself.  God, you are so judgmental!)

This exchange does explain why when I’m the one that goes into The Beast’s room in the morning to get him up and feed him breakfast he cowers in the corner of his room and screams like I’m a demon-masked machete wielder.  Apparently his scream of horror sounds just like his scream of recognition that instead of a candy bar, he’s about to be fed unsweetened brown rice krispies or shredded wheat for breakfast.

One day when the kids move out of the house they can eat what they want for breakfast.  Until then, they are going to continue to eat unsweetened cardboard and learn to appreciate the joys of regularity.

It’s like ra-a-a-in on your wedding day…

Remember that song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette?  Well, if she decided to rewrite that song and asked me for a suggestion for a verse she could add to it, I would say maybe something like this:

“It’s like gra-a-ab-bing a Woody doll out of your toddler’s ha-a-a-nds and angrily banging it he-e-ead first onto the fireplace mantle while simultaneously watching and crying at the final scene of Toy Story 3.”

Sounds Grammy worthy to me.

You see, unbeknownst to me, The Beast was getting sick last Thursday.  So as I picked him up to put him into the car to go to “school,” he sneezed in my face.  (I put “school” in quotes not because I’m one of those people who throws quotes around random words.  That actually drives me nuts.  I’m putting quotes around it because I’m not sure if you can call it school when your average 10-year-old is smarter than the “teacher.”  And I use the term “teacher” very loosely.)  (Also, I think I might have a problem with overusing parentheses.)

Way off topic there.

Anyway, so The Beast sneezed in my face on Thursday, so by Friday we were both miserably sick with Black Plague, I think.  Considering how terrible we felt, Friday wasn’t too bad. The Beast was feverish, so he was more cuddly than normal, and apparently the supervillains in his head are silenced by fever, because he was generally non-evil.  He didn’t feel like eating, so there were no battles over chocolate cookies versus a apple (I’m seriously cracking myself up today with these.  I’ll try to stop.  Read the previous post if you have no idea why I find myself so funny.) for a snack.  He didn’t secretly sneak the house phone off of the kitchen counter and then dial Bosnia or Tibet or Satan.  (I’m assuming that’s who he’s trying to reach when he dials 66666666666666666666666.)  So, while we both felt terrible, it was actually a peaceful day.

Saturday, however, was bad.  So very bad.  You see, The Beast’s dad had to work — at least that’s what he says.  He was probably just afraid to be home.  The Good One was at a friend’s house all day attempting to avoid getting Ebola, and that left The Beast and me home alone together.

Now, you’d think that since this is how we spend most of the week anyway that it wouldn’t be a big deal, but the problem arises when, courtesy of the crapped-out immune system I apparently have as a 39-year-old versus the super-sparkly-new-bounce-back-instantly immune system that a 2-year-old has, he heals MUCH more quickly than I do.  So on Saturday while I still felt like sitting on the couch and cuddling, he felt like pushing his coupe car around the house, climbing on top of it and flipping all of the light switches in the house on and off.

You see the problem?

There is a divergence in our healing that is going to become more and more apparent to him, and he will use it to his advantage.

So Saturday morning came and The Beast and I were alone.  I felt like my tonsils were actually trying to eat my throat and I was using more tissues per blow than a flat-chested woman would use to stuff her bra.  The Beast also had a runny nose, but he didn’t need tissues as he prefers to use my couch cushions instead.  I mean, there they are at nose level, so why not?  It also appeared that he did not have throat-eating tonsils as he was willing to eat.

So in an effort to try to perhaps make him just a bit catatonic so that I could just sit on the couch and focus my energy on not dying of SARS, I turned on the TV.  All day.  Now, I’m not one of those moms who thinks all TV is evil.  I try to limit the TV the kids watch, but on Saturday I would have let him watch TV until his eyes actually popped out of his head and he brought them to me, assuming he could find me now that he’s blind, and was all, “Mom, my eyes just popped out of my head!”  He’s very verbal in my imagination.

This method worked for a good portion of the morning.  We watched every cartoon ever created.  The Beast’s brain cells were being wiped out in herds.  His eyes were twitching from the rapid-fire images on the screen and I think I saw the exact moment that he developed ADHD.  Still didn’t turn off the TV.

There came a point, however, when the TV had lost its magic.  He realized that I wasn’t going to turn it off, and in that moment he decided that he had had enough.  He was bored.  So to entertain himself, he picked up a toy, went into the kitchen and started to bang on my computer.  This has become his go-to move to get my attention.  I was forced to get up from the couch to make him stop because he is immune to all verbal discipline.  One of his superpowers is selective deafness.  The instant I tell him to stop doing something evil, he loses his hearing.  It’s a sight to behold, I tell you.

So I used cookies to bribe him away from the computer.  Please do not judge my using a bribe of junk food to lure him away from the computer.  I realize I’m setting him up for a lifetime of obesity and heart disease as he will forever view food as a reward, but bird flu was ravaging my body and in that moment I truly didn’t care about his future obesity and food issues.  I just wanted him to sit down so that I could concentrate on keeping my ear drums in my ears.

The Beast, in addition to being super-strong and super-daring is also super-smart, because he quickly realized that by misbehaving in horrible ways, I’d get up from the couch and offer him junk food.  I was too weak and tired to actually discipline him, so this became a game that he started to use to entertain himself.  He’d play quietly for a little while, then he’d go bust open a cabinet and remove the contents.  I’d bribe him with chips.  He’d return to the living room and play.  Then he’d go into the kitchen, find the phone, call Satan and wait for me to chase him.  I’d bribe him with M&Ms, get the phone, hang up on the devil and settle down in the living room again. You get the idea.

Well, we were watching Toy Story 3 and we were right at the end when Andy is giving the toys to Bonnie.  It’s such a heartwarming moment as you watch this gentle young man take his beloved toys and pass them on to another child.  I sat there crying as Andy described each of the toys to Bonnie.  And by the time he came to Woody, I was a blubbering mess.

At that moment, The Beast, perhaps having had his evil fully reactivated by a diet of red dye #40, white flour and high fructose corn syrup, decided that he had had just enough of this.  He took whatever junk food he was eating at that moment — I think it was a mixture of chocolate chips and Fruit Loops — tossed the bowl into the air, picked up his Woody doll, walked over to me and hit me with the doll as hard as he could.

That’s when I yanked Woody out of The Beast’s hands, yelled at him for the mess he made, walked to the fireplace and slammed Woody’s head into the mantle.  All the while crying as I watched Woody and Buzz watch Andy drive away.

And that is what it looks like when you get smacked upside the head by irony.  She and Karma are apparently in the running for a Bitch of the Year award.

The End.

Is this what an aneurysm feels like?

I decided to put The Beast in preschool two days a week so that he and I can still love each other.  I kid.

I put him in school so that we don’t kill each other.  No, I’m kidding.

It’s really more the first one.

Last week The Beast and I had a week that was epically contentious.  There was screaming.  There was weeping.  There was head banging.  And then there was all the stuff The Beast was doing.  Anyway, one day, after a 30-minute battle of wills that began because of my inability to figure out which snack The Beast wanted because of his inability to speak coherently, I started to pray out loud.

At that moment, God in a very clear voice told me, “Put him in preschool.”

It’s possible that the voice wasn’t so much God as it was an alcohol-induced hallucination,  but on the chance that it was God, I decided to listen.

I kid.

I don’t really hear voices or drink to excess…during the day.

All of that is completely not the point of this post.  The point is this: This little assault on the rules of grammar was sent home on The Beast’s supply list for preschool:

Wait — what?  Do you smell burning toast?  Did I just have a stroke?

Did you read it twice to see if it makes any more sense the second time?  Trust me, it doesn’t.

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph that I have a hard time pinpointing what specifically is causing my eyes to twitch and my temples to throb and that little vein in my forehead to pop out.  However, if I had to guess, aside from the general idiocy of the second sentence and the ridiculous font, I think what bothers me most is that this woman — a woman who appears to be completely unaware that “their,” “they’re” and “there” are three different words — is being paid to assist my toddler in his early education.

Now, understand, this isn’t irritating enough for me to pull him out of the school.  After all, God (tequila?) did tell me to put him there (their? they’re?).  But do you think she read over this aneurysm-inducer and thought to herself, “Somethin’ just doesn’t seem right with that paragraph, but, my gosh, this frilly font sure is pretty”?

I fully expect The Beast to come home from school just a little dumber than he was when I dropped him off.

Well, I must run.  I need to go to the store to buy “a apple” since that’s on the supply list for next week.

God help my child not to end up stupid.

Amen.

P.S. I have a degree in English and I highly recommend pursuing an English degree. It makes you entirely marketable in so many areas.  It totally doesn’t make you overly critical of other people’s grammar. [Please assume that all of my typos are intentional.]  And just think, you, too, may someday be qualified to have a blog that nobody reads.

That? Oh, that’s just a portal to hell.

I’ve started growling at The Beast.

And I’m not talking about when a parent says, “What does a dinosaur say?” and then you both roar together in a moment of loving, familial bonding.  I’m talking about when your child has literally worn every last nerve in your body, and then by summoning the power of the dark side of the Force, he conjures up a few more nerves so that he can wear on those too, so in a moment of sheer desperation, you make a horrifying, beast-like sound that in a movie would probably open up a portal to a netherworld that is filled with the sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  I imagine this netherworld also reeks of the decaying carcasses of parents whose bones were sucked dry when they lost an epic battle of good versus evil with their toddlers.  But that’s just my image.  Feel free to make up your own scene to go along with the sound of utter despair.

Lately, when The Beast finds himself compelled to commit all manner of deviousness, by, say, busting the childproof lock off of my cabinets and then using my glass pot lids as cymbals, I find myself utterly powerless to curtail his behavior.  I tell him to stop.  He does not stop.  I tell him again to stop.  He doesn’t stop.  I go to remove the lids from his hands, but the instant he sees me coming, he throws the lids as far from me as he possibly can.   And then he starts running.  If I manage to catch him, I put him in a timeout, which, who the heck invented this stupid form of discipline?  It is easily the most ineffective behavior modification tool ever created.

My child uses timeouts as opportunities to show off his newly acquired gymnastics skills.  I recently tried using the pack-n-play as a containment device for timeouts because the naughty stool was literally becoming a stage.  The first time I set it up and put The Beast in there, he said, “Bed!  Thanks, Mommy!”  What?  No!!  You’re supposed to hate this cage.  You’re supposed to quake at the prospect of being jailed.  You’re supposed to look at this quasi-stable structure of terror and tremble in fear.  You’re supposed to lose all control and kick and scream and beg me to get you out of your mesh-walled prison.  You’re not supposed to push the dining room chair over to it so that you can swan dive into it.  And you’re not supposed to thank me and then use it to demonstrate your mad planking skills.

I digress.

So The Beast continues to escalate his villainy and I continue to descend further into madness.  I can feel it happening.  My heart starts to race.  I sweat.  I begin threatening all sorts of punishments that I will NEVER follow through with:  “I’m going to take away your pacifiers.” (That will not happen until hell literally freezes over.)  “You’re going to get it, Mister.”  (What does that even mean?)  “You’re going to go to bed!”  (Yes, that will work because he totally can’t step right out of his toddler bed, empty his dresser of every article of clothing and then climb up his drapes just to show me that he is in absolute control.)

Anyway, that’s when it happens.  There’s a moment when I realize that he has me beaten, that I have lost all control.  I’m either going to get in my car and drive away or I’m going to growl.  (I try not to scream.  But that’s a whole other post.  One that will find me apologizing to my sisters for how I used to judge them for screaming at their kids.  Again, Karma, she’s a raging, hormonal bitch.)

So I make a sound that is so deep and fearsome that even I wonder what portals to hell I’ve opened. The Beast stops what he’s doing and stares at me.  There’s a brief moment where I think a look of fear is going to cross his face, but then he smiles at me, crashes his cymbals and says, “Mommy, more!”

God save me.  And God help me not to open any portals to hell.

Feral Cat Herding — Take 2

Did you know that 2 out of 3 fistfights between the mothers of toddlers take place in the parking lot of a gym?  You didn’t know that?  Well, that’s because I made up that statistic, but based upon my experience this week at The Beast’s gymnastics class, it seems entirely probable that I’m going to get the crap beat out of me at some point within the next few weeks.

Tuesday started out lovely.  I was in a good mood.  I was cheery.  I might have even said something nice to my husband before he left for work that day.  At the very least I didn’t insult him or call him a name.  You know, I was all positive and full of rainbows and butterflies.

The only discernible cause of this ill-advised cheeriness is that in the time between last Thursday’s class and this Tuesday’s class I drank enough wine to cause an hallucination wherein a benevolent spirit entered The Beast and expelled the voices of evil that compel him to create chaos and disorder.  Had I been in my right mind, I would have known that gymnastics day would, without a doubt, descend into mayhem and possible violence.

The Beast and I arrived at gymnastics just a little bit early.  This was a new class for us.  The scheduling conflict mentioned in the previous post caused us to switch to the Tuesday class.  I was hoping to meet the other mothers prior to class and do a nice, big preemptive apology.  Maybe my new cheery smiley-ness would be what they would remember, and not so much the fact that their daughters were likely going to suffer from PTSD flashbacks every time they watch the Summer Olympics.

Upon walking in the door, we met two lovely mothers and their beautiful sparkly-leotard-encased daughters.  The sequins on their leotards must have been coated in pacifier drool, which apparently acts as some sort of baby pheromone, because The Beast immediately insisted on sitting on the steps with these two precious little girls.  I released him with a stern warning of “You listen today!”

In his excitement to join the pretty girls, he stubbed his toe on the step.  So next he did what any supervillain would do.  He sat down two steps higher than the girls, stuck his bare foot in between their cherubic faces and said, “Girls, kiss it.”  Dear Lord, who is this child?  And when did lechery become one of his superpowers?

Before I had the opportunity to win the mothers over with my charm and wit, the door to the toddler room opened and there stood Ms. I’m About To Earn That $30 from last week. Poor lady.  She had no idea that in addition to being a disobedient runner, The Beast had recently turned into a pervert who demanded that people kiss his feet.

The class itself was pretty much an exact duplicate of the previous week’s class, except that this week there were five little girls and The Beast.  And while I had been assured that there would be two instructors in the class, there was only one.  It’s entirely possible that the assistant had heard of The Beast’s treachery and decided to call in sick.  Who can know?

Realizing that The Beast’s behavior had not been transformed by the miracle I’m sure she was praying for, Ms. I’m About To Earn That $30 decided that her only hope was to contain him.  Since she did not have access to a cage, leash or shock collar, she used the only containment device she had: her thighs.  Every time The Beast ran away, she’d catch him, take him to wherever she was going to sit or stand, and clamp him between her thighs.  It was fascinating to watch for a period, but after a while her thigh muscles failed and The Beast escaped.

She gave him a stern lecture about the need to stay with his red circle.  He quickly realized he could obey the letter of the law by simply picking up his red circle and carrying it around the gym with him.  So while the other gymnasts were sitting calmly in a semicircle and stretching their legs, The Beast was hanging from a bar by one hand and holding his red circle in the other.

During the stretches, a mom I had never seen before peered over the rail into the gym and sternly instructed her daughter to “use your Goodnight Toes.”  What the frack are Goodnight Toes?  Does everyone have them?  Is this gym code for “kick the crap out of the evil boy next to you”?  She had code words to instruct her daughter’s behavior, while I was just praying that my son’s behavior would not create future therapy bills for those exposed to him.   Either way, I knew that this mother — I’m going to call her Ms. Snooty Pants — was now my nemesis.  I’ve always wanted a nemesis.  This was my lucky day.

The difference in our approach to toddler gymnastics was one thing, but our differences were about to be made infinitely worse when, during a period of free dance, The Beast noticed that Ms. Snooty Pants’s daughter had separated herself from the rest of the group.  And much like a predator stalks its prey, The Beast approached her with a look in his eye and a swagger in his walk that I would say resembled the approach a patron at a strip club would use to request a lap dance from a stripper.

My 2-year-old not only hears the voices of everyday supervillains in his head, but he also hears the voices of the skeevy men featured on To Catch a Predator.

I was not making friends.

I instructed The Beast to leave the girl alone and secretly said a prayer that the other mothers were not under the impression that The Beast was exposed to that sort of behavior at home, although I felt pretty confident that they assumed that I cook dinner while wearing tasseled pasties and then dance on the pole in my living room for post-meal entertainment.

I then decided that instead of focusing on getting The Beast to behave, I would focus solely on preventing any additional episodes of sexual harassment.

Toward the end of class The Beast decided he was quite done with gymnastics, and since I was no longer allowing him to grind on the other students, he chose to escape the gym.  I ran down the stairs to catch him and discovered Ms. Snooty Pants standing at the front desk, complaining about the lack of control the teacher had over the class because of the issues created by The Beast.  Two additional employees, who I assume had been cowering in a locker room out of fear, appeared out of nowhere and were quickly dispatched to the toddler room to assist with the class.

Even though class was not over for another 10 minutes, I figured it was best for me to take The Beast home early.  I walked back upstairs to grab my things, and Ms. Snooty Pants said, “Well, she’s got lots of help down there now.”  She said it with a smile.  But it wasn’t a real smile.  It was a polite, southern lady’s smile.  The one they use when they want to say something like “You’re a giant fat lard butt,” but that wouldn’t be polite, so they smile through gritted teeth and say, “So, Sweetie, how much weight are you trying to put on?”

So even though the words of her comment were innocent enough, all I heard was, “Hey, Sucky Mom, I did what you should have done 45 minutes ago and got some help for the class so that the rest of our children don’t have to sacrifice their future Olympic dreams because of your sexually aggressive 2-year-old.”

In my head I responded with, “Your daughter will never make it to the Olympics.  Her Goodnight Toes are pathetic,” and then I imagined us getting into a fight that ended when she pulled out a shiv she had whittled out of a Zweiback teething biscuit and I smacked her in the head with the bottle of vodka in my diaper bag and sent her sailing over the observation deck into the gym below.

Don’t worry.  I’m not that evil.  Even in my imagination she landed safely on a mat.

After she bounced off the balance beam.