The Years of Living Dangerously

As anyone who has survived toddler-hood knows, a significant portion of  time is spent simply trying to keep your kids alive.  SB (Small Boy) has an astonishing gift for sniffing out dangerous things, and I spend most of my days running after him, begging him to be careful.  There could be a room full of fluffy, non-lethal things and he’d find the one teeny tiny thing that could kill him. 

For example, we were at the local aquarium last week for “Fish School” – a nice two hours spent doing arts and crafts, learning about the ocean and eating snacks.  There’s a tide pool area right near where the class is held, and during a break all the other kids were sitting on a rug doing quiet kid things, and SB was trying to climb into the tide pool.  So there you go.  My life in a nutshell.

When I try to explain to him that some things/activities are dangerous, such as jumping down the stairs; running amok in parking lots; chasing after strange dogs, etc., he wants to know why.  I try to explain that he could get hurt, and then he wants to know EXACTLY what would happen.  “Would I get smushed?  And be in bad shape?  Would I have red blood?  I want green blood.  Why can’t I have green blood?  Would I have to go to the hospital?  In an ambulance?  Would I get a band-aid?” (He LOVES band-aids).

Then I’m basically stuck.  He thinks ambulances are the greatest things in the world after garbage trucks, and a ride in one of them would be the thrill of his life.  So then I bring out the big guns.  I tell him he’d have to get a shot.  That usually puts an end to it, but I’m now realizing I’ve really screwed myself up.

Next month we have to go for his three-year check up.  I’m pretty sure this will involve shots, and it’s not going to be pretty.  Last time we were at the doctor’s office it took three people to hold him down so that they could simply check his ear tubes.  I think we’re going to need a few more people, a sound-proof room, and possibly some duct tape for shot time.

I hope they have VERY cool band-aids. 


The Road Trip From Hell

Used to be, in the good old days, that SB (small boy) would fall asleep about 15 minutes into a long car ride.  Then I was left in peace to listen to my music, glare at bad drivers, snack, and enjoy the peace and quiet until we got to where we were going.

Not any more. Here’s how the two-hour drive up to Los Angeles went with “the Boy Who NEVER Stopped Talking”:

Mama, is that the blimp?  Can we ride in it?  Why is it blue?  Does it go fast?  Wish I had a blimp. Can we get one?  Why not?  No it’s NOT too big to fit in our garage!! 

Mama, where’s the train?  Why is there a train track?  Is it Thomas?  Percy? Can it come with us?  Who’s in it? 

Mama, why is the dog asleep?  Can I wake her up?  I have my fingers in her ears!  No, I don’t want to leave the dog alone!  Why did she move so far away from me?  No I am NOT bugging her!

I’m hungry.  I’m thirsty.  I want a snack.  I dropped my snack and now the dog’s eating it.  No, I’m not tired.  I don’t want to sleep.  I don’t want my blanket!  Stop singing mama!  (I tried…)

Are all these people going to Grammy’s house?  Where are they going?  Where’s the blue car going?  The green car?  Why is that truck red?  What’s in it?  Is that a bridge?

At this point I figured I’d turn on the music and try to drown out the chatter.  Turns out the Boy Who Never Stopped Talking was also “the World’s Bossiest Backseat Driver”. 


For someone who can’t pull up his underwear without it looking like a thong, he’s pretty bossy.  Plus it was my favorite Rolling Stones Rarities CD.  Who knew two year olds don’t like Keith Richards?  Go figure.

Then we hit traffic up by the airport.  Oh, yay.

Mama, go faster. Why not?  Will the policeman come and yell at you?  What’s the policemen’s name?  Why are there so many cars?  GO AWAY CARS!  Mama, I want to get out now.  Can I come sit up front?  I am too big enough.  Yes I am!

This was followed by about 20 minutes of kicking the seat.  But at that point I didn’t care anymore.  I was too busy banging my head into the steering wheel.

Mr. Friendly

I’m happy, of course, that SB (small boy) is a friendly, outgoing little guy, but sometimes it’s a lot like living with a game show host.  Whenever we go to the park he’ll walk up to a kid and say, “Hi, what’s your name?” and then show them whatever toy we brought along.  Nine times out of ten the other kid will take the toy, and off they’ll go – a new friend!

But if the other kid’s not interested, SB goes into crazy stalker mode.  He simply can’t fathom how anyone wouldn’t want to play with him, so he’ll follow the poor kid around the park thrusting his toy at him, saying, “see?  SEE?”  And if they still won’t play with him, he’ll say, “Mama, what’s wrong with him?”  Oof.  And then he’ll go off and stalk another unsuspecting kid, until he either finds one who will play with him or they run away – which he takes as an invitation to chase them.   

A couple of weeks ago the house down the street was getting new carpet installed.  Mr. Friendly stood by the front window as the workers passed and greeted every one who walked by.  So I figured this was a good time for the “We Don’t Talk To Strangers” speech, but every time I tried to make a point I was countered with the ever popular, “why?” 

So how do you explain to a kid who’s in love with the world that we don’t talk to strangers because not all of them are nice?  First I started with telling him that some people are naughty (one of our favorite themes these days), and tried to tell him in a non-terrifying way that some people do bad things.  “Like biting?” asked SB.  Yes, I told him, like biting, but worse.  “Kicking? Hitting? THROWING??”(a big no-no at our house) Oy.  This was going nowhere fast.  So, like any good parent would, I let it go, thinking we’d talk about it some other time.

Oh no.  SB, in his obsessive little way, brought it up all night long.  “Is mama bad?”  “No, mama’s not bad.”  “But remember the time you threw that toy, mama?”  Dammit – I forgot about his elephant-like memory.   We discussed whether or not his friends from day care were bad.  Anyone who ever kicked, hit or bit him was discussed in detail.  I tried to change the subject and turned on the TV to distract him.  Success!  Phew.  I did it. 

Wrong.  The next day we were at the grocery store and he pointed to the woman in front of us at the checkout line, and said, rather loudly, “IS SHE BAD???”  I shushed him, but to no avail.  “IS HE BAD???”  God.  Get me the hell out of here right now, please, I’ll never swear again, I’ll go to temple more than one hour every year, we’ll feed the poor, just get me out of here!!

Of course now everyone’s suspect – SB’s world is filled with people who could potentially bite, kick or hit us.  Ironically, he’s the one who usually lands in time out for being naughty, but that’s not discussed.  Smart kid. 


The Pool

Ok, I’ll be honest.  As much as I love taking SB (Small Boy) to the pool, it scares the @#*@&^ out of me every time we go.  I don’t know if it’s from my days as a lifeguard when I was (much, much) younger, or our pediatrician reciting drowning statistics every summer, but I turn into a hyper vigilant weirdo every time we’re near water with SB.  It’s like Baywatch, but instead of gorgeous people running in slow motion, there’s a lumpy mom floating around the pool with a death grip on her son.

I live for the day he actually learns how to swim – not that I’d let down my guard, but at least I wouldn’t be holding my breath, taut with nerves and anxiety every time we go near a pool, drive by a pool, talk about football pools, etc. 

And the worst part is that SB’s FEARLESS.  The first time we took him to the beach, he ran towards the water and would have been out to Catalina if we hadn’t stopped him.  He has developed a bit of a thing about getting his face wet, so at least I can use that to my advantage now.  Sneaky and underhanded, yes, but it puts a damper on his wild flailing when we’re in the pool, and I can actually breathe a little.

Today we drove to our pool (actually about a three-minute walk, but with noodles, squirty toys, floating grasshoppers, etc., we have enough stuff to invade a small country) and had the whole place to ourselves most of the time we were there.  I like that because it’s easier to tow SB around the pool without having to dodge big kids doing big kid things in the water.  The game we enjoyed (?) today was SB flinging himself at me from the side of the pool.  Fun the first few times, but after the 300th fling my enthusiasm started to wane.  It would be a great workout though; I could stand in the pool and have someone throw a 40-pound ball at me over and over…

On the bright side, the pool knocks him out so I’m guaranteed a long nap anytime we go.  Maybe the fear factor’s worth it after all?  As long as I don’t dream about water, I guess we’re ok.

Potty Training…In the Trenches

I’m not going to mince words – Potty Training is Hell.  Forget about war and bedtime, hell is a stubborn two year old learning to use the potty.

We’re at day five of “Operation Do or Die Potty Training”.  Days one and two were really, really great – we’d plop him on his super cool Disney themed potty, he’d do his business, we’d pull up his Disney themed big boy underwear, and give him a Disney themed sticker.  Clearly no potty training would ever get done without the Disney Empire.

 Day Three – SB (small boy) pooped on the potty!  Dancing, lots of high fives, applause, singing and celebration ensued!  A new remote controlled jeep was purchased and SB was thrilled with himself.  So what if he insists on taking off ALL of his clothes to use the potty?  Whatever works.  Piece of cake, I thought – we’ll be done in a week.

Day Four – SB pooped AND peed in his DTBBU (Disney themed big boy underwear) because he didn’t want to stop playing with his damned remote controlled jeep and take a potty break.  I was whining about this to a friend and she pointed out that no one really wants to stop having fun for a potty break.  Point taken.  And not to be too graphic, but cleaning up little boy underwear is not high on my list of fun things to do.  Let’s just say that underwear Buzz and Woody were not amused.

Day Five – today – SB went off to school with five extra pairs of DTBBU’s, and three pairs of spare shorts.  So far I haven’t gotten any phone calls, but it’s only 11:00.  The teacher seemed on the ball and listened politely to my rambling on how to do this (apparently SB’s not the first kid in day care to go through this…), so I’m keeping everything crossed that all goes well.  I did go and buy ten more pairs of underwear just in case.

And just to add to the fun, we now have a little Disney themed potty in the middle of our living room.  Our new decorating style is Early American Outhouse.  Classy. 

And I won’t even get started on the laundry. 

How long does this take?  Weeks?  Months?  Will he be applying for his Driver’s License in diapers?  Aside from crate training and hot dog treats as one of my snarky dog trainer friends suggested, any tips from potty training survivors out there? 

The Night We Met Small Boy

Now that we’ve started potty training and SB (small boy) is slowly becoming a Disney themed underwear kind of guy, I’ve been thinking about how it all began (well, we know how it all began, I mean the Big Delivery Day).

Maybe it was because I had a scheduled C-Section, but the logistics of his birth pretty much amounted to making sure someone could take care of the dog and wondering what a nursing gown was.  Of course we poured over the pregnancy books before he was born, “look, he’s the size of a bean, a raisin, a Volkswagen, etc”, but the coming out part?  Not so much.  Once again, denial ruled supreme.

The night my water broke (a week early), BB (my husband, or Big Boy) was sleeping in the other room – he claimed my snoring was so loud that it sounded like a freight train was barreling through our bedroom.  Hmmph.  That’s the thing about pregnancy – I really gave up any semblance of dignity early on (I wore silver Birkenstocks to work, for God’s sake), and by the time I was due I frankly didn’t care about anything except weighing less than BB when SB was born.  I also cared A LOT about chocolate covered raisins, but that’s a story for another day.

I was so clueless that when my water broke that I’d thought I’d wet the bed.  I sat there like an idiot, and then I realized what happened when the first contraction hit.  And here’s the crazy part – I got totally calm.  For the four of you who actually read my blog, you’ll note that calmness isn’t usually my strongest point.  I woke up BB (who, by the way, was doing some pretty impressive snoring too), we loaded up my overnight bag and away we went.

The rest of it was pretty standard stuff – the C-Section, the overwhelming awe and love and bunnies and sunshine and rainbows upon meeting SB, lots of crying and then we were in our room with a tiny baby and no Owners Manual.

The nurses at our hospital were angels – truly.  No one laughed that I actually packed a book in my overnight bag.  And no one said anything when I kept clicking the little painkiller thing to get more drugs – I felt like Keith Richards in a nursing gown.

And now we’ll fast-forward two and a half years later.  It’s Saturday night, and instead of going out and whooping the night away, we stayed in and whooped that SB pooped in the potty.  The times, they are a-changing…

How did your big D-Day go?  Were you prepared?  Did you bring any reading material?  And does anyone really know what a nursing gown is?