NO. Just NO. Don’t do it.
Ok. So assuming you ignore my advice, just as I ignored my own advice this evening, here is what might happen.
Let’s start at the beginning of the evening, just to explain how this all came about. After an absolutely, insanely hectic day at work where I barely had chance to chow down a sandwich at my desk all day, much less actually sit there and do work, I was looking forward to spending some one on one time with my little guy, since his Daddy is away for a couple of days.
I picked him up at daycare and was greeted with a crazy sweaty, red faced, wild child with curls and sand plastered to his face. I was puzzled at the ladies offhand comment about “oh, he’s not so bad” and quickly ushered him out the door. Naturally he wanted me to pick him up and carry him to the car. I thought 2 seconds about my nice silk shirt and new skirt and jacket and scooped his sweaty, gritty self up and didn’t flinch when he squished his icky face against mine.
I told him we were going to the store to look at “Momma shoes” something my husband assured me he likes to do at Marshall’s, although I suspected he may have been exaggerating how much he enjoyed it. But, I always see fun pictures of Jax and Daddy when they go out to eat so thought it would be super fun. My husband warned me that if I took him home first to clean him he wouldn’t want to leave, so instead I drove home and left him in the car with the dvd player on while I ran in and grabbed the wipes and diapers. I was moving so fast the cats ran in horror when I burst into the house and frantically made a beeline for the diaper changey to-go case thingy. Well, I’ll worry about that later.
I got back to the car and Jax was still watching Nemo and seemed not to have noticed I was even gone at all. Until I turned the car on and began backing out of the driveway. Instant tears “NO I WANT TO GO HOME”. Whimper whimper whimper. “But Jax, we’re going to go look at Momma shoes and then we’re going to go to the restaurant.” “Sniffle sniff-ok”.
Silence and back to Nemo.
We get to the store and after giving him a quick swipe with some wipes to make him look a little more presentable for the general public, he willingly held my hand and walked in and I got him loaded into the little mini cart at Marshalls. I supplied him with goldfish and water and all was right in his little toddler world. We looked at shoes, and indeed, he seemed to enjoy it and was quite opinionated on which ones I should try on. “Jax, do you like these?” “NO”. Um. Ok, I didn’t think he’s actually have an opinion on it, but he had a point, they were kinda bright. He confidently pointed to the crazy rainbow pair with 5 inch heels and sparkly things all over the straps. “THESE”. Oh, dear son, no. Not a chance those are going on my feet. A couple of nice, conservative-compared-to-my-son’s-taste shoes in the cart, on to trying to find a shirt to match a skirt I purchased over the weekend.
It was going fine until Jax lost interest in the goldfish and decided that pulling as many shirts off of the hangers as possible was super awesome fun. When the rows of clothes were very long and so close together this resulted in a waterfall of sleeveless shirts on the ground and a very frazzled Momma trying to keep up with the mayhem by getting them all relatively back on the hangers. I swear I heard some snickers from the next row over.
Toddler positioned in the “circle of emptiness” as I call the one zone in the store nearby where his surprisingly long reach couldn’t reach anything, I managed to get the racks back in order.
I realized then that I did not have anything to occupy him while he waited for his food. OH THE HORROR. So I let him pick out a book, “The Little Engine that Could” which he seemed to love since he hugged it to his little face. We got in line where he was super cute and let me know, as well as everyone else in line “We’re waiting our turn Momma!” He handed over the book to the lady at the register when she asked, and then on the way out said with a wave “Thank you Lady” and made her smile.
Ok, this is going well, right?
We get to the restaurant and I walk in with my small son and already he is saying “Grilled cheese, grilled cheese”. So I wisely asked for a highchair rather than a booster to keep him contained. Anytime a waiter got close to our table he tried to get their attention by saying “Gimme grilled cheese in 5 minutes??” I tried to explain we had to wait for someone to greet us, which unfortunately failed to resonate.
Our waiter came over prepared with a kiddie cup of water, with a straw and I quickly ordered grilled cheese for my suddenly silent little guy. I ordered my meal and a beer. That’s right a beer. No glass please.
By this time Jax was “All done” with his book. Ok. Um. HOORAY for the Iphone. He amused himself with my game of Pocket Frogs, until I realized he was randomly trying to text people the current status of my game and started laughing maniacally loud for a semi-reserved restaurant at 6:45 in the evening. So, apologies to anyone who may have received a text noting I obtained a certain rare type of frog. But hey, the food’s here!
My little guy, who ONLY eats grilled cheese when we go out took one lick of his sandwich and declared “ALL DONE”. Um. Hmmm. Ok, distract with french fries, which I normally don’t care for him to eat at all. Lick. “ALL DONE, I want somfing else Momma.” Ok, well, “I don’t have anything else Jax.” “SOMFING ELSE”. Scrunchy face quickly followed, which means crying is imminent. “Oh wait!! Jax, Momma found a bark” (his word for Nutrigrain snack bars, for some unknown reason). Smiles. Until…GASP…it broke in half. Instant meltdown. “Its bwoken, bwoken, noooooooooooo” And cue the stares from the tables next to us. Where’s the waiter. Or the hole that I want to open in the floor and swallow me up. Ok, waiter, calmly walking over asking if there is anything we need. Um, yes. “So, he’s not so into dinner (as my son is trying to squish his “bark” back together through his tears begging me to help) can we just get the check and a to-go box?” The nice waiter offered to box the food up for me, probably figuring it would help speed our exit since it may have been impossible for me to do this and manage the meltdown. Wait….where’s the meltdown. Oh, his mouth is full of his broken “bark” so he can’t cry. Ok, maybe we can escape further embarrassment. Somehow I managed to gather him up, my purse “MY APPLE JUICE”, his apple juice, and our food and managed to chug a few sips of beer before I ran as fast as I could out the door.
By the way. I’m darn hungry at this point. So we finally get home and I convince my little guy to eat a PB&J since he’s on a grilled cheese fast to prove some political point or other (assumption, I can’t think of any other logical reason why he decided all of a sudden he just doesn’t like grilled cheese). And I finally get to eat some of my cold, yet tasty spinach dip.
After dinner, bath, vitamins, teeth brushing, medicine and bed, we snuggled up and read his new book. Which heavily revolves around a clown. I am not fond of clowns. At all. Like, not one little bit. But that’s a story for another night. I shuddered through it in my best I’m so happy to be reading this voice.
He started to cry when I stopped reading and picked him up to put him into bed. We have a special little thing where I ask if he’s my big boy, or my baby, and I cradle him in my arms and swing him back and forth as we walk from the chair to the bed. Sometimes he’s a baby, and sometimes, he’s my big boy, depending on his mood. Tonight he said, with a smile and giggle, “I’m your big boy”.
I know that the special times I get to spend with my little guy will be over far too soon, so I’ll take my cranky toddler out to dinner anytime, knowing that it may not involve eating dinner at all, but at least I tried, and maybe when he’s older, he’ll remember that. Although-perhaps I’ll wait until the grilled cheese strike has ended.
Somewhere along the 5-7 minute drive home from daycare I became aware of the actual conversation I was having with my son.
“Carnataurs are nice, they don’t push”
“No, not nice, I’m a Carnataur and I push Graham”
“You’re not a Carnataur, you’re a nice boy”
“No, I a Carnataur”
“Ok, you can be a Carnataur, but if you push anyone, you won’t be allowed to be a Carnataur anymore, do you understand? You can stomp and ROAR and do anything else but push anyone or you’ll get a timeout, ok?”
Pause for thoughtful toddler thinking. “Ok Momma….”
“…I push Ashlynn”
Sigh. I preferred last night when he was “Spiderman the Great, a SUPERHERO!”
If you don’t know what a Carnataur is, let me enlighten you. Its a type of bloodthirsty carnivorous dinosaur. I think is actually supposed to be Carnataurus, but there’s only so much dinosaur a 2.5 year old can handle. He likes to stomp around pretending he’s a Carnataur, and apparently likes to do this at school as well. I have discovered that being stubborn is one of their main and surprisingly toddler-ish characteristics.
I suppose that beats the usual conversation of “I not pooping” “Are you sure? I think you are” “NO I NOT” “Really?”
“Momma, I pooped”
Today I picked up my little guy from daycare where he’s waiting for me in the playyard screaming “durty” DURRRTY” because he is covered in sand and sweat and water and dirt and, something else, unidentifiable. I nod and smile as they girl explains to me he is very dirty. I chase the little man out to my car (he does not walk anywhere, its all run) where he alternately screams “DUHRTY” and “Momma car movie” and “watch fissile momma car”. “Fissile is Finn McMissile, from Cars 2, just so you know. I look at the time, see its 5:05, remember the ride home yesterday when he entertained himself by eating a tissue “TISSUE NOMMY” and take 30 seconds to cave in and turn it on. I drive him home to the racing sounds of Cars 2. Again. Otherwise there is blissful silence.I pull into the garage. And then begins the best exercise program in the world. Here’s how it works. I take the little guy out of his carseat and put him down. I quickly turn around to grab his lunchbag and turn around again and chase after the little guy running down driveway, not into the house. Man, he’s fast. I herd the little guy inside after grabbing the bug spray from his hands, which he managed to grab while climbing the 3 stairs to the house. How did that bug spray even get there??? I put the little guy in the gated off family room while I drop the 6 bags the 2 of us apparently need for one 8 hour day on the counter. I peek in on him and dash upstairs to run the bath while listening to my son running around in the family room yelling “DUHRTY” like a back-up singer for Christina Aguliera. I speed downstairs, and empty the bags. Or at least unzip one bag before saving my cat from my dirty son who does not get that cats don’t care to be squealed at.. The cat will hide for the rest of the night in terror. I finish emptying 3 bags, then remember the bath water is running. Then things really speed up.So in the next 2 hours I: run upstairs to stop the water. Its cold. And deep. Intend to empty half of it and run downstairs to check on the silent boy. “Jax, what are you doing” “Momma, I got Click-ah” “Jax, you’re not supposed to have the “clicker”. Chase after son to retrieve the remote. Put it up high. Run upstairs to stop tub from draining. The water is all gone. Start over. Run downstairs again to check on son who is sitting watching Octonauts since he turned the tv on by himself. Run upstairs, bath is perfect.
Run downstairs, get boy. Take off his shoes. Marvel at the pile of sand that comes out of them onto the family room floor. Worry about that later. Take boy upstairs, undress him and tell him he’s getting a bath. Stand out of the way of the kicking feet. Put him down and let him run into the bathroom. Chase after him when he tries to climb into the tub himself. Wash his hair 3 times and realize the sand is not all going to come out. Remember I’m still in my work clothes and then don’t move fast enough when the wave of water hits me. I am now wet. Stand up and remove shirt. I am now wet and half dressed because I need to grab the boy before he dives underwater.
Empty tub and grab towel. For the boy, not me. Dry boy and lay him on the bed to get diaper on him while he is trying to kick me in the stomach repeatedly. Expertly dodge little feet. This takes skill. And then I get distracted for a second and take the hit. It’s my fault for suddenly realizing I left his clean clothes downstairs. Ouch, that hurt.
So take boy downstairs. Put him in family room. Realize clothes are really upstairs. Run upstairs and grab clothes and squeeze water out of bath toys so they don’t get mildewy. Run downstairs because son is crying for Fissile. I remembered the clothes, so I dress angry son. Put on Cars 2. Realize he was only asking where his Fissile car was. Give up because at least he’s entertained. Spend 10 minutes looking everywhere for Fissile. Find him in between two pillows on the couch.
Empty remaining bags. Get confused when little guy says “MOMMA DUHRTY” realize his clean feet walked all over the sand pile I left on the floor. Clean his feet. Sweep up sand. Realize I am still half undressed. Although the running around the house has dried me off, so that’s a bonus. Run upstairs, throw on any clothes that look like they belong to me. Run downstairs. Really finish emptying bags. Eat 3 tortilla chips for energy. And diet rootbeer.
Little guy starts screaming “FOOD FOOD BIB BIB”. I drop my rootbeer and heat up a veggie ball I keep stockpiled in freezer since it’s the one thing he’ll always eat. Tell him 60 times in 60 seconds that Momma’s making dinner. Bib him and sit him in chair in kitchen with his dinner. Start to get stuff out to make my dinner, eat 2 tortilla chips. Hmm. They’re stale. But food. Stop son from cramming 2 fistfuls of veggie ball into his mouth. Pick up veggie ball from floor after my failed attempt. Cats don’t love spinach and lentils. Grab cottage cheese from fridge after son finished dinner in 60 seconds and is screaming. Concede that the fistful of food technique is very efficient and vow to remember this tomorrow when I realize I am starving. Little guy finishes cottage cheese and screams for yogurt. He already had some at lunch so I negotiate for more cottage cheese. No. Applesauce? NO. Squishy? NONONONONONONO and tears. O’s? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Decide to give him half of a peach greek yogurt. Smells good so I put the other half in a bowl for me. Go back to making dinner.
Screaming son wants my yogurt. I hand it over. He shovels it in. I realize he’s only been eating for 5 minutes and he ate a veggie ball, and adult sized helping of cottage cheese, and a whole Chobani. And milk, and he still thinks he’s hungry. I remove him from his chair before he explodes. Or gets stuck.
Forgot what I was making for dinner. Remember it’s a French bread pizza. Can’t find the bread. Remember its in the microwave. Son is happily watching “Fissile” once more. I make my dinner. Wash dishes while making dinner. Open mail while making dinner. Cringe over daycare bill while making dinner. Check on boy 50 times while making dinner. Answer phone while making dinner. Forgot I was making dinner until the bread is burning. Scrape off burned bits. Put on sauce and cheese and put back in broiler. Promise myself I won’t leave the broiler’s side until its done. Leave broiler when I hear shuffling in family room because it’s just far enough out of sight that I can’t see him. Jax wants to color, I tell I tell him I will find his crayons. I can’t find his crayons. Seriously. Can’t find them anywhere. Really, where did they go?? Silently curse husband who put crayons somewhere I can’t find them. Hope Jax loses interest.
Run back to broiler, cheese is crispy, but not burnt. Celebrate by having a tortilla chip. Put tortilla chips away even though they are a little stale. Drop half of pizza bread on the ground because I burned my hand on the toaster oven. But that’s ok, because it was really too much food anyway. Locate source of funny smell as son’s lunch bag. Wipe it down. Sniff. Wipe it down with soap. Sniff, wipe it down with “green” cleaner. Then soap, then water. And more water. Sniff. Give up. Dry.
Look at dinner that is now cold. Go to have a tortilla chip, but remember I put them away. Gulp some soda. Mmmm. Warm. Hang out with little guy who ignores me for Fissile. Entertain him by singing Taylor Swift’s new song that’s been stuck in my head. He’s not entertained and a cat is crying outside of gate like he’s being gutted. Pretend not to be pissed off as I know I’m not that bad. Get texted by Britney looking for cousin Linda. I’m not Linda and I don’t know Britney. Inform Britney it’s a wrong number. Eat half of pizza bread. Realize when I am almost done it’s the half that fell on the floor. Shrug and finish it off.
Remember my Mom wanted to Skype. Skype while Jax mainly ignores everyone and fights sleep as he’s watching Fissile. Give him his vitamins. Brush his teeth. Change his diaper. Get him is paci and blanket. Convince him he’s tired as he is lying on the ground unable to keep his head up. Say goodbye to my Mom and Dad who watched Jax watch TV for 15 minutes. Picked up Jax awkwardly so had to awkwardly lay him on the ground to open his bedroom door. Couldn’t pick him up from the floor so made him walk into his room. Put him in his crib. Realized he brought Fissile with him so took it away. Tears. Left the room to watch him toss and turn and wiggle with the blanket over his head for the next 30 minutes as he put himself to sleep.
Finished washing dishes, prepped his lunch for tomorrow, got my clothes ready for tomorrow. Cleaned up his toys. Cleaned up the kitchen. Texted Britney back again as she explained she was from the family reunion letting her know that I’m really not Linda. Grabbed my pint of Ben and Jerry’s from the freezer. Sit down. Phone rings. Chat. Smile at little guy asleep with blanket over his head squished up against the corner of his crib. Decide to write. This is what my brain decides to write.
Shake my head and laugh a bit remembering when I used to write about deep feelings and love and everything that goes with it. Laugh harder when I try to imagine doing that now.
Paused to read what I wrote and stopped laughing, when I realized—I did.