The Revenge Poop

There’s been a lot of inappropriate bathrooming going on around our house lately… and it reminds me that this is really something we’ve been dealing with for as long as I’ve had kids. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.

When Turbo was just a tiny bean, wearing footy pajamas and a sleep sack (one of those cool suits that is like a sleeping bag at the bottom and zips up and has little armholes at the top… oh hell, THIS: leon_minky_yellow_100

Anyway, when Turbo used to sleep in those, there came a point where I’d go in, expecting to find him peacefully napping. And instead, his crib would look like a scene from a toddler horror film. He’d be sleeping peacefully, NAKED…surrounded by POOP! He would systematically remove his sleep sack, his clothing and his diaper, and then proceed to do God only knows what, resulting in the unmentionable scene I just mentioned above.

To solve this problem, we did several things, all of which he managed to Houdini through at some point:

– Duct tape the diaper on

– zip the feety pajamas up his back instead of up the front

– put the sleep sack on backwards

Anyway, Lunchbox never did any of that. And I thought we were safe.

I was wrong.

It was much later when it started, but now it’s Lunchbox who seems to have a strange sense of humor when it comes to things that belong in the potty.

A classic story around our house is the time when the Major was in a hurry and needed to take a quick shower and get out the door. Lunchbox enjoys a nice hot shower. And he likes to join the Major in there when he’s allowed to. This was not one of those days. That didn’t stop Lunchbox from stripping down to his chubby little butt and darting into the bathroom, only to be told no. He was none too pleased, let me assure you. First he cried, but then he got crafty.

The Major came out of his quick shower to find a naked Lunchbox striding confidently out of his closet, a smug look on his face.

“Why were you in my closet?” the Major asked.

“I pooped in your closet.” Simple. Straight to the point.

“No you didn’t. Tell me you did not. Poop. In. My. Closet.”

“I did, Daddy. I pooped in your closet.”

The Major poked his head inside and turned on the light. And there, strategically placed in the center of the floor was exactly what Lunchbox had told him he’d find.

Commotion and punishment ensued. But later, the Major confided that he felt a surge of pride. I was disgusted.

“Do you know how hard it is to poop on command like that?” the Major asked me. “That’s like performance pooping. I’m so proud.”

I continue to be disgusted.

This has been termed a “revenge poop.” And it was used several more times. Once in Turbo’s closet. I think the days of the revenge poop might be an an end, but now we are entering new territory: the pee of retribution.

Dark times ahead, folks. And lots of carpet cleaning.

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No Apologies

I won’t begin by apologizing for not posting for a while. It is what it is. I’ve been busy, like everyone else at this time of year. There was the crazy weeklong Thanksgiving travel hullabaloo and lots of work stuff going on in the meantime. And those are the big rocks on the bottom of the cup. The little pebbles and the sand that have filled in every spare air pocket of time have been composed of things like Christmas shopping, considering various work scenarios, trying to write a novel and trying to figure out who that strange man is who lives at my house. Oh, wait, that’s my husband? Cool. He’s kinda cute.

Now that we’ve dispensed with that, I’ll get on to something that made me feel like posting. The gluttony of the holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. My house is decorated top to bottom as soon after Thanksgiving as I can manage. And I would keep it all up until Valentine’s Day if I didn’t worry that the neighbors would think it was tacky. I’m loving all the nooks and crannies that the new house offers that are just begging to hold some of my holiday treasures — less loving having to tell Lunchbox continually that pretty much every one of these treasures is “NOT FOR YOU! NOT A TOY! NO NO NO!” He thinks this is a new Christmas Carol that Mommy especially likes.

I love that people become more generous this time of year and go out of their way to help each other. (Let’s just forget that nasty incident that we all read about at Walmart on Black friday. Doesn’t everyone Christmas shop online now, anyway?) My favorite blog, Rants from Mommyland, did a wonderful mommy-helping-mommy thing this year that I got to take part in, and my office also had lots of donation and collection opportunities to help those less fortunate.

With all this giving going on, it is hard for me to watch my tiny gluttons completely miss the spirit of the season. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got spirit… particularly Turbo. He informs me at least six times a day of a new thing that he wants that he believes Santa should give him. Today in the car on the way to school I told him how we had sent a gift card for Target to another family that couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents for their kids so that they would be able to have some toys under the tree. I explained how some children were happy to have even one gift, and how maybe we didn’t need to worry about how MANY things Santa would bring, and instead that we could just feel happy that we could count on Santa at all. I told him about how some children went to bed each night not knowing if they would have food to eat; that some kids just like him didn’t even have their own bed to sleep in or their own houses to live in. I made myself cry, so I know I was really hitting some poignant issues. I was sure that something I said would get through and was just waiting for the recognition to color the next very meaningful thing that he said. So here’s how he responded:

Turbo: “Yeah, Mom, okay, but what about when I turn five?”
Me: “What does that have to do with what I was just telling you?”
Turbo: “Will I still get lots of stuff when I turn five?”
Me: “WHA? Were you even listening? You completely missed the point.”
Lunchbox: “Saaan Claaassss ga ga bada, MY LUNCHBOX!!” (it may be somewhat ironic that one of the only words that Lunchbox can say clearly is now “lunchbox.” I believe it’s safe to say that he also missed the point of my diatribe on how to appreciate the fortunes we enjoy and staying aware that there are those less fortunate than us.)

I’m trying not to feel judgmental of my four year old. I know that for kids, the spirit of Christmas is the sheer wonder that they get to open so many presents all on one day… they love the lights and the glitter and the songs and the magic, and it’s kind of hard to get anything through the thick layer of chocolatey goodness that seems to coat all kid-related Christmas topics. And maybe I shouldn’t try at this age. I just don’t want to raise unappreciative kids. I want them to KNOW that they are not just lucky, but ridiculously spoiled (thanks, grandmas…) I want them to appreciate that there are others who are not so lucky and that they can help. Maybe they aren’t ready for that at 2 and 4.

Any suggestions on finding ways to illustrate the concept of GIVING to others would be very welcome!

Happy holidays to all…

The Incident Report

You smell delicious -- is that baby powder you're wearing?

If your kids are in daycare, you know the dread you feel when their peppy teacher, Miss Whatshername, catches you when you arrive at the end of the day with clipboard and pen in hand. “Oh, hello Callsign Mommy. We had a little incident here today, just need a quick signature.” The Incident Report details for you either how your kid has been an a** to some other little person, or how another little person has done something less-than-friendly to your kid. I don’t get many of these for Turbo these days (thank goodness, because he was showing signs of being the class bully when he was about 2.) No, now we get them for Lunchbox. And I’m not kidding when I tell you that we get them pretty much EVERY. DAY.

I could actually use a bit of help here… when the first few were presented, my heart jumped just a bit as I felt the guilt that comes with thinking that your perfect little angel did something awful to another child. And once in a while, Lunchbox does clobber someone. Usually he bites them. Turns out this is going around in his class. I have signed an incident report almost every day for the last month, because ANOTHER KID in Lunchbox’s class has bitten him. My poor tiny guy has come home with visible teeth marks on his arms constantly. It’s at the point now where I ask when I walk in, “incident report?” And the answer has become a sheepish, “Yes, here you go.”

About two weeks ago I asked if the bites were always coming from the same kid. The answer was yes. A week later I asked in a less friendly manner, as I returned yet another signed form and looked over the new bite on my kid’s shoulder, what was being done about this little vampire’s proclivity for toddler flesh. They told me that they’re shadowing the tiny cannibal and that it’s been effective. Except that I still get an incident report every day. I asked if Hannibal Lecter is biting anyone else, or if Lunchbox just has a bad habit of being in the line of fire. Evidently, many parents are being presented with these forms each day.

Once or twice is not a big deal. Lunchbox has dabbled in the world of peer chomping himself. But every day for a month is a bit excessive. I am struggling with some guilt here because I know that if the daycare informed me that one of my guys could not attend anymore because of a behavior issue, I’d be mortified and completely screwed. This daycare was the ONE here that had a schedule that worked for us that we could actually afford (and bonus! is a Montessori program, which I’m a fan of for preschool). I would have to scramble to find something else, end up driving to yet another out of the way destination before getting to work at 7:30am, and probably end up paying more. And I hate the thought of throwing another parent into that turmoil. It’s hard enough just being a parent. And I’m sure that the parents of little Dracula are mortified enough (they have to sign an incident report each time their kid bites someone, so they must be getting three and four a day!)

I was told on my last inquiry that this child was about to turn 2 and would therefore be moving up to the next class. We didn’t get any reports last week, so maybe the werewolf had his birthday. But guess who else has a birthday coming up and will be moving? Maybe if I wrapped Lunchboxes arms in a protective layer of eggo waffle… or bacon… but that might just invite more nibbles. What if I coat him in Tobasco? That oughta keep Toothy away, huh? Wonder if that burns the skin… Ideas?

Can we skip ahead?

NO. I will NOT put on my pants.

Lunchbox is undoubtedly, unequivocally turning into a two-year-old. I am beginning to remember this age with Turbo. The thing is that Turbo has been the teensiest bit on the far right hand side of the difficult spectrum for so long that I sort of just eke along from phase to phase, suffering in some way through them all. And until we got a refresher on what two was really like, I’d forgotten that it really did stand high and above all the rest of the difficult times. In fact, Lunchbox has become so difficult that Turbo is a shining example of wonderfulness in comparison. And actually, Lunchbox’s recent turnaround into tantrumy toddlerhood has made me realize that, really, Turbo has turned himself into a really awesome little guy.

I’m sure I sound like an uncaring and mean mommy when I talk about Turbo being tough pretty much forever… and a lot of my perception probably has to do with the fact that he’s the first kid I’ve had to personally deal with. I mean, I’d had lots of experience with other kids, but this was the first of THIS kind of kid for me (you know, the kind that live at your house and expect food and attention and clothing and stuff?) Anyway, I’m sure that all the “firsts” had a lot to do with my expectations for happy babyhood being dashed on the jagged rocks of reality, but I’ve also had a good deal of outside confirmation that Turbo may have been attempting to break some records in the areas of stubbornness, aggression and anger in the last few years.

Unfortunately, I understand him a bit too well because he is basically a tiny male version of me. And life as me was not super easy until I realized that I made a choice every day to be happy or sad (or in my case, mad) and that the world was not really conspiring against me. Turbo hasn’t made that realization yet, and seeing a four year old struggle with serious angst is not a fun thing. But I talk to him a lot about making choices about how we see things and how others react to the choices that we make. And it actually seems to be working.

But this is not a Turbo post. This is a response to my frustration at having to deal with the worst of Turbo’s phases again, embodied this time in my tiny, usually jolly little lunchmonkey. Lunchbox has always been an easygoing little guy. He was always smiley and cheerful, easy to laugh, very silly. And that’s all still in there somewhere… I hope. Right now he’s just disagreeable. About everything. All the time. Anything that was once just a normal part of our routine is now something to be fought tooth and nail. 

When I went into their room this morning to wake them up for school, singing my little “good morning, good morning” song, Turbo jumped out of bed (literally. He scared the crap out of me), and Lunchbox greeted me with “NO.” He repeated the word at least six times in the three feet I carried him from his crib to the changing table, where he proceeded to fight me taking off his diaper, putting on a new one, and flat out refused to put on pants. I let him pick out his own pants and things were going well — we got them on! But then came the time where we needed to take off the PJ shirt. After 15 minutes, he was wearing half of the shirt he’d chosen for school (one arm and the head were in), and I left him on the floor of his room, wailing and protesting. 

We got through that eventually, and he went on to protest putting on socks, then shoes. Then breakfast. Then walking. I hope he doesn’t decide that it’s me who is making him breathe and quit doing that.

I thought they were going to call child protective services when I picked him up from school yesterday because I had to bodily force his limbs into the car seat (after 15 minutes of blocking up the curb waiting for him to climb in because lawd forbid I try to help him) and he paired this effort with a soundtrack full of sounds that even I didn’t know he was capable of. At a very high volume. Which continued ALL. The. Way. Home.

He turns two next month. Does anyone remember when this phase ends? Anyone?

I Was Wrong. Again.

So, I’ve spent the last, oh, I dunno… four years? thinking that Turbo would be going to Kindergarten next fall. 2012. I mean, I didn’t like sit down and calculate it out when he was born to see what year he’d be packing off to “real” school or anything, but when he turned four I kind of assumed that since next summer he’d turn five, he’d head to preschool that fall. And the other day I was thinking to myself, in kind of a smug parenting, take-the-high-road, make a tough choice cuz it’s good for the kid, kind of way, that maybe he shouldn’t start until the following year. He turns five LATE in the summer, afterall, and he’d probably be one of the very youngest in his kindergarten class. Plus, if he starts in 2012, he’ll be 3 years ahead of Lunchbox in school, which is a good enough span that they won’t know the same kids, might not have the same teachers, etc. I was thinking that it might be better for both boys if they were closer in school, and maybe that was reason enough to hold Turbo until 2013. Then I was talking to the other moms on the street while the kids rode their bikes around the cul-de-sac this afternoon and told them what I was thinking, and they looked all confused. And I got that feeling that you get when you’ve only just realized that you are an idiot, because they were both looking at me like I was sadly misguided. And in a very gentle voice, one of them told me that the cutoff for public school here is September anyway. Turbo’s birthday is at the end of August. So the choice was never mine anyway. The boys will be 2 years apart, as they should be. And we can just take it in the junk for one more year of crazy expensive Montessori preschool. So much for all my big plans next year of saving money, moving Lunchbox to a closer school so that I don’t drive a full hour between leaving the house and getting to work to drop them off, etc… The best laid plans, yada yada. Poop.

But in the long run, this is the right thing for Turbo, who is not the most socially adept small person at this early age. One more year will do him good.

I’m not upset… I guess I was just kind of ready to dive on into the public school system. Some part of me has felt like he’s such a big kid, and he’s ready… maybe it was just me missing the structure of elementary school myself. I loved elementary school. Not so much junior high and high school… and maybe letting Turbo have another year to mature will give him the advantage socially that I didn’t seem to have.