What do you do when you are startled out of bed in the wee hours of the morning by a screaming toddler – a toddler who knows only one volume when they speak? When I walk in to the bedroom, I discover a boy with disheveled hair, big bright eyes, and very soiled pants. After I change you, you then demand to be carried down the stairs in which you demand a big bowl of Cheerios, a food pouch and a cup of water. You explain to me in the only way you know how, by pointing to the floor that you have dropped half your cereal and your pouch food was eaten far too quickly. You now demand another. What do you do? You give him a food pouch if that’s what he wants – you give him a food pouch as you give him a swift kick to his behind and send him on his way. That’s what you do. Unfortunately, this is not a Mercer Mayer story and I do not have the luxury to kick you out. Instead, I have to attempt to explain to you that it is rude to yell at 6:30am on a Saturday and we only feed ourselves and not the floor. You tend to have a very different opinion on matters we discuss and our conversations usually end abruptly with you running away screaming.
Nap times are getting increasingly more difficult as you refuse to lay down and sleep. This is especially true if Liv is also taking a nap in your room. I find it nearly impossible to have you two nap in the same room unless I force you to do manual labor or participate in some form of gut wrenching exercises just before I need you to go down. I normally wouldn’t care and would allow you two to just talk to your stuffed animals but again, you are so incredibly loud! Olivia would never fall asleep with you shouting in her direction. I’m amazed you don’t get headaches shouting as often as you do. I get a headache just thinking about it.
I have started thinking about how I’m going to approach potty-training with you. We’ve had the potty chairs out for a while now and I’m taking notice of your bathroom schedule. Post dinner when I notice you doing a little sashe around the coffee table while you look in my direction with a blank stare, I know you’re conducting business. On a couple occasions, I have had you sit on the potty chair to see what you would do. Just as I expected – you held it and instead had a double whopper bowel movement in the middle of the night which makes for extra pleasant mornings. The tricky thing is going to be making you sit for a period of time longer than three seconds. You’re going to be hard and I am certainly not rushing in to this. Olivia’s training was difficult enough and I’m fairly certain we both have suffered permanent emotional trauma as a result. Another red flag that you’re not ready is the fact you’re not really communicating yet. With the exception of ‘No!,’ ‘No Way,’ and ‘Don’t Ever,’ you communicating your need to use the bathroom is going to be a stretch. I also know once the training starts, I have to change your sleeping arrangements to allow you access to the bathroom at night. I am definitely not ready to allow you in and out privileges from your bed yet.
Upon your Dad’s return from his vacation, I’ve been thinking quite a bit of taking a vacation myself. I love the idea of traveling with children if of course my children only spoke when I asked them to, listened to every request I made, and slept when it was time to sleep. Cardboard cut-outs of Olivia and you would be by far the best traveling companions but sadly, children are vocal and whiny and demanding. You constantly want food and attention and love. Man, what did I sign up for?! In all honesty, I do want to be one of those fearless parents who take their kids to amazing countries and act like it’s not a big deal. My fear is I would miss out on a lot being that all my attention would be on you two, catering to every exhaustive demand you make. On the flip side, I could be one of those parents who exposes their children to the world in hopes that you become well-rounded adults one day. That or you become a spoiled douche who thinks he’s the shit because he went to Spain and Italy before his fifth birthday. The point is, I think I’m starting to become paralyzed with fear of living life with children. Children are extremely unpredictable and sometimes that’s good on a vacation but when the surprises mean projectile vomiting during a romantic dinner or a massive blowout on an airplane when the pilot refuses to turn off the seatbelt sign – these are circumstances I don’t wish to be a part of. Perhaps I’ll just buy educational DVD’s on the countries and let you and Olivia watch them while I sit in the closet with a glass of wine and a current copy of Us Weekly – that seems far more doable.
So then, what do you do with a toddler who has no interest in communicating with words, is overly dramatic over the smallest tasks, demands a cup of crackers when ever seated in a shopping cart or stroller, lacks the attention span and obedience to travel well and cries hysterically when ever the words, ‘bath’ ‘teeth-brushing’ or ‘naptime’ are spoken? Well, if you’ve been a good boy and have listened carefully when I read to you, then you will know that in the end, you let them stay. You’re a lucky boy.