Friday, May 30, 2008

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...

First, my sincerest apologies to Dickens for stealing his most famous literary line for my measly little blog. I have no doubt he is, as I type, spinning wildly in his grave that I should compare my week as a (somewhat) single mom (without that pesky supporting myself part) to the horror of the French Revolution, but truly there is no other way for me to describe this past week (okay, there are probably countless more appropriate, less over-the-top drama queen ways for me to express it; but that's who I am. Forgive me.), so there it is

First--let's do the worst of times, shall we?

The bi-polar baby I spoke of last week? Still here. I am seriously considering looking into some sort of exorcist to see if we can release the demon that is taking over my sweet little boy and forcing him to throw things at my face and grab hold of other toddlers' cheeks, squeezing until he leaves finger marks.

I can only say I am so relieved that the women in my playgroup have known Ethan since the days in which he was a red, screaming, shaking, swaddled mess in our "mom & baby yoga class" so they, in some ways, see him as an extension of their own families (as I do them and their kids) and therefore, they love him in spite of this new-found persona of Ethan the Destroyer. And thankfully, they don't look at me like a horrible mother or cluck their teeth in my general direction when my child, yet again, smacks one of theirs on the head. We sort of all accept that this is part of a toddler's quest to find boundaries and express frustration when the words simply can't come. We also realize that a toddler rarely learns what the boundaries are on the first test.

Unfortunately, random bitchmoms at the Thomas Train table in Barnes and Noble apparently have PERFECT toddlers who never misbehave and therefore they feel the need to humiliate us moms who dare to bring our imperfect spawn out into public. Yesterday, as Ethan played happily by his lonesome at the Thomas table, the 4:30 rush began and in a matter of moments, the room had all but filled up with wobbly toddlers looking to get their grubby paws on a train.

This is always a tough transition because imagine the bliss of having that train table all to yourself, 4-5 trains at your disposal, all tunnels and bridges yours for the conquering. Then suddenly, a bunch of kids you've never seen before come looking for a piece of the action. As much as I know Ethan needs to learn to share, my heart always breaks a little bit for him when a bigger kid (because if they're over a year old, they're bigger than him) walks up and claims dominance, and half the trains.

One woman (I will refrain from describing her, but let's just say she has good reason to be bitter at the world, based on her appearance alone) stood along side the table, ever vigilant and watchful (a Thomas table Madame DeFarge, if you will---see, Dickens?! I really read the book, so it's okay to use the line for petty little problems) as the kids played. I, on the other hand, sat in one of the tiny green adirondacks and chatted with Karen. I have made a conscious decision not to helicopter parent, so unless there is trouble brewing, I let Ethan have a fairly long leash to figure the world out.

At one point, I saw Madame D's child swat Ethan (unprovoked--just because I'm not on top of him doesn't mean I'm not watching...) TWICE in the head. Nasty ugly mom--does nothing. Ethan did little but look at the kid like, "Dude, what the hell was that for?" and he walked to the other side of the table, so I took a few deep breaths and let it go. They worked it out on their own. No big deal (although a little "it's not nice to hit. I need you to apologize to the little boy" would have been a nice gesture, right?)

Moments later my child is seized by the demon and he hucks a train in the general direction of another child (please note: not her child). You would have thought, from her reaction, that my child had opened up his jacket to reveal a bomb. Please imagine the biggest, most dramatic gasp you can. I'll give you a second. I swear, had the woman been wearing pearls, she would have been clutching them.

Given the rousing reaction he got from her, Ethan, amused, picked up yet another train and threw it. Again, NOT at her child. Nor did it hit anyone or anything on it's trajectory to the floor. But of course, Madame DeFarge lets out a "gasping back to life after an epi pen to the heart" gasp and CLUCKS her FUCKING TEETH AT ME!!!

Obviously I collected Ethan up, made him apologize to the little boy whose direction the trains were hurled in and I apologized to the kid's father before putting Ethan in the stroller to leave. Fortunately the man was sane and rational and said, "eh, no problem. It happens. He didn't him anyone," and let it go. Meanwhile Madame DeFarge is over there shaking her head; if she'd had her knitting, you can be damn sure my child's name would be on her list.

Every fiber of my being wanted to say something to her about her own child hitting mine and why the need to mortify and humiliate another mom like that? Aren't we, in some way, all in this together?? Did she not see (I know she did!) her own child swat Ethan on the head not once, but TWICE??!! But I was shaking with anger too much to form a thought besides, "BITCH!!!!!" and truly, that's not really appropriate talk for the Thomas table, now is it?

My heart breaks for Ethan because I know so much of this aggression is related to Husband's being out of town so often and sensing our stress about this move. And, you know what? He's two. It's tough being two with all the emotions and so few words to express them with. I know it's not "okay" for him to throw his hands at kids or to pinch or throw things. But I also know he is overwhelmed with everything going on right now.

So we start time outs and read our Hands Are Not For Hitting book eleventy billion times a day. He thinks time outs are hoot right now, but hopefully he'll catch on soon.

And now to the best of times. I have a few things in that department as well....

1.) He pooped on the potty!!! This will probably only be of interest to the grandparent-types reading the blog, so everyone else can feel free to skip down to the other items, but when Grandma's in Africa, this is the only way to spread the news. Last night, there was much pointing to the bum and pointing up the stairs saying, "poo poos. potty. poo poos. potty." This has been a regular occurrence for months with no poo poos materializing in the potty as of yet, so I put little to no stock in it, but what the hell, let's climb the stairs, go through the whole riggamaroll; it's almost bath time anyway.

So I got him ready for the potty, handed him his favorite barnyard animals book and went fold some laundry. Wouldn't you know it, he came running into the bedroom two minutes later, a piece of toilet paper hanging out of his bum (I may never stop laughing about that; gotta love him for trying) saying, "Poo Poos!! Poo Poos!" and sure enough, there it was in the Elmo potty.

I have never done a happy dance over poop before, but I figured it was in order. He was literally aglow with glee. I do believe that particular poop was his life's masterpiece, as far as he's concerned. We could not fall asleep last night until thirty minutes after our usual too-late bedtime because he had to keep telling me the story of how he pooped on the potty. (It's a short story..."poo poo on potty!" over and over again pretty much sums it up).

We shall see what else happens. I am not rushing to potty train my 25 month old boy, especially with the move coming up. He can use the potty whenever he wants and that's fine with me.

2.) Why I continue to love co-sleeping: Ethan, out of deep sleep last night, laughed. I was lying next to him watching Leno on closed captioning (see, I do still read before bedtime) and he gaffawed right out loud with a huge smile on his face. Then, without ever waking up, went back to wherever he was in dreamland. It was truly one of the sweetest things I've ever seen and I was so happy that even though he's having such a tough time during the days right now, that he is having happy dreams at night.

3.) And let's just file this under the "so funny I think I might have peed a little bit" category. Yesterday while standing in Starbucks waiting for my grande skim, no water, extra hot, six pump chai tea latte, I overheard this.

Scene: Two drinks sit on the barista bar. One, an white cardboard cup, complete with heat-absorbing sleeve and opaque white plastic cover. The other, a clear, plastic cup, with clear plastic lid, obviously containing some sort of iced latte. Make no mistakes, the ice cubes are visibly floating around in the latte.

Woman to barista: "Excuse me. Which one of these is the iced vanilla latte?"

Barista: "Um. The one with the ice in it."

There are no words, my friends. My two year old might beat the crap out of everyone at
playgroup, but you bet your ass he could figure out which of the two cups had the ICE in it.

That is all. Carry on.


Becca said...

Oh gosh! Too much funny to mention everything but I was laughing out loud through the whole post. We have had more meltdowns at that train table! We've been having to leave the party earlier and earlier as Charlie approaches two--most recently he smashed two blocks on either side of a kid's head like cymbols. I gave him my best horrified "We do NOT hit!" while the other kid's dad couldn't stop laughing and said "9.5 Charlie! Nice!"

Sarah said...

I agree with Becca-- laugh out loud funny. I particularly enjoyed "my child is seized by the demon "

I wish you would have described bitchmom-- which is my favorite new compound word since momhag.

I'm right there with you-- love the 2's. Love them.

Sarah said...

Also? I meant to tell you that I could not be "alone" w/ the kids for that long and handle it with such aplomb-- last night Ben had a golf outing for work, and I thought I was going to keel over by 6 pm. Way to go!!

Emi said...

LMAO Good job sis..Thank you for keeping us updated amidst the craziness.

Amy said...

Man, poop on the potty??? JEALOUS!

Hang in there -- I feel your pain of the single-parent duty. At least you have an end in my sight. My stretches endlessly like a desert. (Dramatic much Amy?)

Crystal said...

This entry made me giggle out loud a good 3-4 times. Be proud of yourself for not going to passive-aggressive route with bitchmom, even though a snide, "Ethan, throwing things is almost as bad as hitting people!" would have been well deserved!