The boy. He is spitting. A lot.
Remember when babies learn how to blow raspberries and it's the cutest freaking thing ever and you encourage them to keep doing it precisely because it's the cutest freaking thing ever and then you pick them up and blow raspberries on their little baby bellies and they giggle and blow more raspberries and OHMYFREAKINGGOD, THE CUTE!!!!!!
Remember that? Yeah. Good times.
It is, however, slightly less "cutest freaking thing ever" when that little baby has turned into a two-months-shy of 4 year old and has suddenly decided that blowing big juicy, slobbery raspberries is the COOLEST thing ever.
I know. Because that kid is mine. My kid. Is a spitter. Sigh.
It started a couple weeks ago; at first, he was just blowing raspberries while he played, or using them as punctuation at the end sentences. Example, "Dinner was good. Can I go play now? pppppbbbbbbttttttt." At first, Husband and I chuckled or smiled. He's a cute kid. He does cute things.
But then? The raspberries started coming fast and furious, and inappropriately, in peoples' faces, young and old(er) alike. His friends? He'll blow raspberries on them. His teachers? Yup. Husband & me? Right-o. Raspberries all around. And during cold & flu season. So, that makes him a BIG hit with the other parents. We're so proud.
Two days ago, his teacher pulled me aside to let me know that his friends are starting to get fed up with the spitting, and that she had to excuse him from several activities because of the spitting. And my stomach sank. My kid? My sweet, adorable, loving, amazing child is *that* kid. The one that, right now, no one wants to play with. Because he blows icky, germy, wet raspberries in their faces and laughs. One of my friend's little girl is sick right now and I can't help but wonder---did MY kid raspberry her kid's immune system into submission? Oy.
We've talked to him. We've talked about alternatives to spitting. We've talked about using words if we're frustrated and other ways to try to be funny when we want to make our friends laugh (because spitting is so NOT funny, kid!!!). We've done time-outs. We've cancelled playdates, because if you're just going to spit on your friends, we're not going to ask them to come over for that. There have been floods of tears. There have been apologies. There have been promises that the spitting is done.
And then there has been more spitting.
What is a mother to do?! I really want my kid to be a free spirit and express himself in a fun and playful way. I struggle with the fear of breaking his spirit. But the spitting has to stop because it totally gets in people's space, they don't like it (again, with the omg, he's *that* kid) and frankly, it's just gross. He can't really be a free spirit at the expense of other peoples' personal space and health, right?! That's what I thought. But the things that always work to redirect his iffy behavior just aren't working.
So I ask you, WHAT do I do next? How do we make our home a spit-free environment so we can go back to having play dates, and Mama's not biting her nails down the quick every day at preschool pick-up. Help me, interwebs!