My Episodes in Toddler Parenting
I often wonder what goes through a child’s mind as they dump their drink all over the table, toss their plate in the floor or otherwise make a mess. Let me rephrase that. I often wonder what is going through MY child’s mind.
My baby boy recently turned three. He has an impressive vocabulary, he’s remarkably intuitive, extremely busy and absolutely adventurous; however, he also seems to be mastering the art of manipulation. Let me explain to you some of the things that my toddler has done and his rationale behind each.
The Soda Incident
The other day, his father brought him a treat from the store – a Hit’n'Run Cherry Vanilla Pepsi. Now, in our area, Hit’n'Run is an addiction for a lot of people. The fountain sodas are amazing and they have zero calorie sweet tea – a bonus for me (the tea addict). My son rarely gets a soda, let alone one packed with sugar AND caffeine, so this was definitely a treat.
That evening, his father left right before dinner to go help a friend work on a car. As my son and I were finishing up our dinner, I looked up just in time to see him dump what was left of his soda on his high chair tray. Thankfully, he had already drank the majority, but what remained was still enough to make a good sized mess. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed the paper towel. While I was cleaning up his mess, I asked, “What made you decide to do that?” He looked at me confidently and said, “Mommy! It’s so daddy will get me another one when he comes home!” Ugh!
The Go-Gurt Incident
Last week, we had skipped the night bath because he passed out on the couch, so the next day, he got a bath in the early afternoon. Later that night, he wanted a bath again and I refused, telling him that he wasn’t dirty and he could wait until tomorrow evening. He then asked me if he could have a snack. I agreed and asked what he wanted. He chose a Go-Gurt. Fine. We haven’t had any problems with Go-Gurt in months. Yet, I walk out of the room to grab something to drink and come back to a child that looks as if he’s been bathed in blue slime. I asked him, “What on earth possessed you to do that?” and he replied with a smile, “I told you I want a bath.” Mission accomplished.
The Underpants Incident
Okay, my son is completely potty trained and has been for quite some time now. The only issue we seem to have is when he wants to wear a certain pair of underwear…like Buzz Lightyear underwear or Lightning McQueen underwear. For instance, one day, he happened to be wearing his Mr. Incredible underwear and he saw me bring the clean laundry up from downstairs and start folding it. His Toy Story Woody underwear were in the pile I was folding. He snatched them up and said, “Mommy! I want to wear my Woody underwear. Can I? Can I? Please???” I told him that he could wear them after he had his bath that night, but evidently that wasn’t good enough for him. He asked again and again, but my answer was the same. So, what does he do? He goes in the hallway and pees in his underwear. Now here’s the kicker…he doesn’t pee in them to soak them – it doesn’t even get his pants damp - just enough to force me to allow him to change his underwear. I’m telling you, he’s really got this “I’m gonna get my way” thing down to a science!
The Self Induced Vomiting Incidents
About eight months ago, he was making himself throw up in order to manipulate us to get something that he wanted. He started doing this when he realized that crying didn’t work very well. If you’re a parent and you’ve ever been through that, then you probably know how it feels. You’re angry because they continue to do it, but somewhere in the back of your mind, you’re thinking it might be some other issue. Aside from that, you’re worried that he might go to bed hungry or if he’s hurting himself in some way by doing this.
Well, this went on with our son for a few months – not daily, but at least weekly and sometimes he would do it twice in the same day. Of course, I asked his doctor about it when we went for his checkup. His doctor recommended putting him in the shower with his clothing on after any little outburst where he caused himself to throw up. My son was deathly afraid of the shower, so it seemed a little bit harsh to me.
In fact, I had to let his father do it the one and only time that it took because I didn’t have the heart. I stood there with tears streaming down my face as my son looked at me and begged me to rescue him. I finally had to leave the room because I couldn’t take it. The water was room temperature and he wasn’t being hurt in any way, but the look of utter terror on his face just made the whole act seem so cruel. I’m thankful that his self-induced vomiting came to an abrupt halt after that because I don’t know if I could endure another shower incident. I felt like such a horrible mother both during and after and I wasn’t even the one who did it!
Laughing Is Healthy
Although I don’t recommend laughing about the incident in front of your child (because then they will think it is cute and do it again and again), I do recommend leaving the room to laugh it off. As frustrating as the moment may be, you have to find the humor in it because you’re likely going to have several more incidents of this nature before the toddler years have passed. Some days are a bit rougher than others, but I take them all in stride. And, although I’m pretty sure that it’s thinning, I do still have my hair and my sanity.
Have you experienced any of these things with your children? Share your story!