Your Worst Micro-Managing Nightmare or Just a Toddler?

We’ve entered the phase commonly referred to as the “Terrible Twos.” The age of the power struggle and asserting one’s rights while simultaneously having zero self-control and no clue how to manage all these Very Big feelings. Other mamas often say about their own children, “Oh he knows exactly what he’s doing.” Having a son with a few developmental delays I’ve the pleasure of having his developmental therapists in my back pocket. Mind you they’re not parenting experts but they are helpful in understand what he’s actually capable of at this age. For me, so much of parenting him so far has been managing my expectations. What is he actually capable of understanding, saying, computing, processing and controlling? Spoiler alert: pretty much nothing. Following is a 1.5 hour snip-it of a typical morning in my house. I’m pretty certain there isn’t a mama out there who can’t relate to this.

This morning I woke up as I heard my 2 and a half year-old son calling to me from his crib. I lay there for another ½ hour or so waking up and chatting with my husband. Finally once his “Mom Mom Mom”s turned into “Mommmmmmy mom mom mommmmmyyyy!”s I finally got up and sprung him from “baby jail”. After pinning him to the table to change his 10lb diaper we made our way to the kitchen to make his sippy cup of milk and prune juice. He told me where the milk and juice were, in case I had forgotten and I sat him on the counter. While I poured the milk he whined and fussed “Me me meeee!” because he wanted to pour the milk. Then HE wanted to pour the juice. Then HE wanted to warm it up and, of course, HE wanted to take it from the microwave and screw on the top. Then came my favorite part of the day. We sat together and watched Daniel Tiger while I kissed his head, ran my fingers through his thick and silky hair and rubbed his tiny little feet and perfect little toes. These are the 10 minutes a day I get when he’s not moving. In the bathroom I brushed my teeth and put my eye-liner on. This has always been the extent of my personal maintenance but now I do it with a miniature person leaning half-way into the sink brushing his own teeth underneath me. By “brushing his teeth” I mean running the buzzy toothbrush in and out of the water, sometimes occasionally on his teeth, a few times up his nose, and mostly playing with the drinking cup. Oh, he’s also learned to spit the toothpaste out. I hadn’t yet put on real clothes because they would likely be sprayed with his toothpaste, water or spit anyhow. I tossed his pre-packed bento box into the lunchbox and dropped it on my purse so I wouldn’t forget it. I remembered to pack his lunch the night before and freeze the ice packs, win! I got dressed while he poked at and labeled my body parts. We had a short discussion about boy parts and girl parts, and I wondered to myself how many different versions of this conversation he and I will have over the next 18 years. In the kitchen I tore a hard-boiled egg into a few pieces, tossed the yolk at the smaller dog and he burst into tears because, you guessed it, HE wanted to feed the yolk to Georgia. I’m learning, so this time I asked him, “Would you like to peel the banana?” After he peeled it with painstaking precision and threw each piece of peel and each tiny strand of banana hair into the trash (perfect time for me to take a few sips of coffee), we threw it into the bowl with the chunks of egg. I fed the dogs while he cried because he wanted to do it (but I do it faster and with less kibble all over the floors and counter), so I let him give the bowls to the dogs one at a time. After this appeased his majesty and it was time to get him dressed he abided by allowing me to undress him but then ran away naked, laughing and giggling and climbed onto the moose-dog. He is #8 in any of those physiological articles about Naughty Kids Not Really Being Naughty…The Fierce Player, Always looking for an opportunity to engage in play. I hooked him with the neck hole of his T-shirt but he felt strongly that this was a catch and release program so a few steps later I scooped him up and each leg landed in a different pant leg – WIN! SCORE ONE FOR MOMMY! Shirt, pants, screw the shoes, I can tackle that once he’s locked into the car seat. I can promise you that his socks won’t match. Not even my socks match. There are more important things in my life that need handling. Finding two socks of the same or even similar color and style is not high on that list. At this point I stood in the hallway and thought to myself, “Ok, let’s recap: Mom’s dressed and teeth are brushed. The dogs are fed, the kid is dressed and his lunch is packed. He can eat breakfast in the car. Everyone (but me) is fed.” I slung my purse over my shoulder, sent the kid to “find the car” and I grabbed a handful of kibble to lure the moose-dog into his crate. As I unscrewed the jar lid of the extra kibble we keep on the entry table I immediately knew I messed up the fundamental order of things. I knew it right as I had done it. The kid came running back in crying frantically. Why? Because he heard me unscrew the jar and HE wanted to put the moose-dog in his crate (duh, you didn’t see that one coming?). I handed him the kibble, which slipped through his little fingers and onto the floor and the dog now needed to clean it up. Start over. “I’ll do the kibble you get him a toy. Ok, throw it in the crate. Throw it. Do it now or I’ll do it. Do it!” I take the toy from his hands, throw it in the crate and lock it. He now lay on the floor screaming because he couldn’t complete whatever task it was he had in his head that was obviously much bigger and more important than simply PUTTING THE DOG TOY IN THE CRATE. The crated dog started barking his equally whiny and surprisingly high-pitched-for-a-100lb-puppy bark. I scooped up the kid and asked him, again, “I don’t remember where I parked the car last night, can you find it for me?” “Yeah!” He squealed as he jumped down from my arms and ran out the door, barefoot. I locked the door and raced the kid to the car. I picked him up and inserted him directly into car seat leaving one had on his shoulder as to keep him up from jumping up and climbing over the center console and into the drivers seat. I strapped him in, handed him his bowl of eggs and banana and closed the door to sit myself in the driver’s seat. My head hit the back of the headrest. Crap, I left his shoes inside the house.

I’ve heard 3 is even worse, er, I mean, more fun. Bring it.

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