Lately, H has been refining his stalling techniques. Basically, you tell him it’s time to do something he doesn’t really want to do, so he decides to come up with something else to do instead. But that something else is generally important and cannot be overlooked.
Our Normal Bedtime Routine
So, bedtime is super fun. It goes something like this:
Me: H, it’s time for bed
H: Ok (stands up) Owwww! My foot hurts!
Then, we must examine the foot to ensure it is not actually hurt before proceeding to bed.
When the Truth Really Stinks
But last night, he came up with a new one. We brushed teeth, went potty, read a book, went through our “who loves you?” list and then it was lights out.
5 minutes later, I hear the door open. I walk down the hall and he says “I have to go potty” which is a pretty great new stall tactic because I’m not gonna risk it.
Off to the potty he goes and into the toilet he pees.
We go back to his room, I tuck him in again and close the door.
5 minutes later, I hear the door open again. Now, I’m irritated.
“H, you’ve gone potty twice! It’s time for bed.”
“But I have to gooooooo.”
“I don’t think so. Back to bed, buddy.”
“No, I have to go potty again!”
“Ok, I think you aren’t telling the truth. I’m coming with you and I’m gonna watch you pee in the potty because I don’t think you have any pee left.”
One of the strangest parenting experiences I’ve had so far is the park. We’ve been going every weekend since H arrived, so I’ve been 6 or so times now. Each time, I find it stranger than the last.
“What is so strange about the park?” you may ask. Well, read on.
ONE: The parents don’t speak.
Being at the park reminds me of the subway in New York. Everyone is hanging out in close quarters but no one is speaking to each other. On the subway, however, it makes sense. You’re on it for an hour or so. Plus, you have earbuds in or your laptop open, which isn’t really conducive to starting a conversation.
You could find yourself at the park for 2 or 3 hours, however. And you can’t really focus on anything else (more on that in point 4) so you’re just huddled on the sideline with your coffee, not talking to the person 3 feet away, but not doing anything else either.
Now, I’m not from the south. Every time the cashier at Publix rings up something and then asks “are you having a party?” it completely throws me off because why is this STRANGER commenting on my groceries? But even so, I find it incredibly odd that you stand next to someone for hours and not say a word.
Part of this is on me, I’m sure. I could say something. But I’m the newbie (even if my kid is 4). I looked around for context clues the first couple of weeks and came to the conclusion that I would be the weirdo if I just struck up a convo. People just don’t do it.
TWO: Parents don’t play with their kids.
If I went to the park and no one was there but me and H, I would totally go down the slide and swing on the monkey bars. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable park behavior.
Instead, parents are expected to stand there while their kids get to run around. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but maybe this is where the obesity problem is coming from.
Even if I skipped the monkey bars and opted instead for some casual lunges around the park perimeter, it would get some stares. You’re unofficially expected to stand or sit there until your feet or your butt go numb.
The ONLY parents I’ve seen actually playing with their kids in the park are the helicopter moms who are SUPER concerned some bigger kid might knock poor Johnny over, so they literally follow around their kid like a shadow and (the worst part IMO) even make the kids go down the slide sitting between their legs.
I guess it’s in case the kid got a wild hair to LEAP off the slide, they wouldn’t be able to because the mother has gone to years of yoga and her inner thighs are like steel traps, the muscles specifically developed to keep kids from escaping.
THREE: You know the other kids’ names.
This kind of ties into the weirdness from point one. You have no clue who these parents are but I can tell you all about Gabby. She’s 3 AND A HALF. She has a puppy. Sometimes he pees in the house. She doesn’t like getting her shoes wet.
FOUR: Parks are super dangerous.
So maybe, just maybe, the parents don’t talk because they are watching their kids so intently since deep down they know they’ve brought them to a death trap that could mangle, maim or kill their child at any minute.
Seriously, who designs these things? I know they got rid of teeter totters and those metal spinning circles but I literally watched a 7 year old girl leap from the platform to the monkey bars, miss by an inch, fall flat on her face and get the wind knocked out of her for a good 2 minutes. She didn’t even cry she was so stunned. Just sat there gaping while I ran over and frantically looked around (where was the helicopter parent when you need them?) for a responsible adult.
After I sat her up and dusted her off as best I could, a dad came running up (surprise), checked her vitals and then (surprise again) didn’t say a word to me EVEN THOUGH WE WERE BOTH THERE for a good bit after the fall!
FIVE: There’s always a brat using the equipment inappropriately.
I want to know who keeps bringing their 11 year old to a park filled with 4-7 year olds. Sign your kid up for organized sports. Their motor skills are developed, ok? All they do is climb the wrong way up the slide, throw tennis balls and teach my kid bad behavior.
I’m going to scold them. Don’t put it past me. And you’ll either let me reprimand your kid for breaking the rules or it’ll force you to talk to me.
This is a guest post by my sister, Rita Spann. She’s hilarious. For more of her laugh-out-loud content, follow her on Instagram: @ritas.digest
I can’t believe it’s only been a week. I’m watching H pretend a chunk of cheese is a pirate ship at the dining table. He’s taking a brief break from playing to scarf down some lunch. His legos are spread out all over the living room, there’s a tent set up in his bedroom and there are crayon marks on the coffee table. Lucy and Thomas’s home is now officially a kid zone.
Having a front row seat to this seismic shift in my big sister’s life has been wild.
Becoming a Parent
This time last week, Lucy and I were putting new sheets on H’s bed. She said “Should I have washed these? I mean, I guess I’ll probably be changing them soon. I think little boys are pretty dirty.”
I said “But don’t kids take baths every night?”
Lucy responded “Ugh. I think so. That seems pretty excessive. But I don’t know, they are pretty low to the ground…”
When Thomas got home that night he got started installing a baby gate at the foot of the stairs while Lucy read a book about raising kids who have experienced trauma called “The Connected Child” out loud to him.
Between my sister the planner and her husband the doer, they were going to be as ready as possible.
The Truth About Parenthood
I think the truth is, no one is really ready for parenthood regardless of the circumstances. I realize that this isn’t a particularly hot take, but bearing witness to H’s first week here and watching Lucy and Thomas learn-on-the-go has brought that fact into glaring focus for me. Figuring out what to feed him, teaching him to wash his hands, setting up a bedtime routine. They’re doing an incredible job, but I mean, how can anyone know how to do all this stuff? But once you have a kid and it needs to eat, and be clean, and go to bed, it turns out you have no choice but to figure it all out.
And now that I’m on the topic of “having no choice” and “figuring it out on the go”, I happened to have an opportunity to rise to the parenting challenge myself this week.
H arrived last Friday. We three adults played with him and got to know him all weekend and then Lucy and Thomas went back to work on Monday. H couldn’t start his new daycare until after MLK Day so I happily volunteered to spend the day with him.
We woke up and said goodbye to Lucy and Thomas and I made H some scrambled eggs, bacon, and apple juice. He was eating his breakfast and watching a cartoon (allowed on weekends and, if I’m babysitting, holidays) when all of a sudden he jumped up and said “I have to go to the bathroom!” and darted full speed out of the room. I ran after him and by the time I got on the scene his pants were down and he was peeing in the toilet, liquid poop was shooting out of his butt, and he was bawling.
Poop-splosion: A Part of Parenting
Nothing in my life so far equipped me for this situation.
I had literally no idea what to address first, the tears or the poop. I took a deep breath and opted for tears.
“It’s okay buddy! Accidents happen. Let’s get you out of these clothes.”
I stripped the still sobbing kiddo down and set him in the bathtub.
“It’s okay buddy. We’re gonna get you all cleaned up!”
Gagging, I mopped up the bulk of the poop so I could get next to the tub.
“You don’t have to cry H, we’re gonna get you all cleaned up.”
I turned the faucet on, stood him up, and poured cups of water over his little legs and scrubbed him down. Once I got him cleaned up I ran the bath water and he sat down, stopped crying, and started playing with a toy boat. Tears handled, I got to work cleaning and disinfecting.
I told H “You see, no big deal. But next time we’re going to go to the bathroom earlier, aren’t we? We’re going to go in the toilet, not the floor, right?”
After the impromptu morning bath we took a walk with the dog, went on some quests, played hide-and-seek, ate lunch, and had a generally excellent day all around. And just before Lucy and Thomas got home there was another poop. This one solid, and in the toilet.