Interlude: real parenting

I need to pause this vacation slide show (don’t worry, it’ll resume tomorrow) for a story about what happened yesterday. I am at that age, you see, when a sizeable percentage of my Facebook friends are expecting their first child. Registries? Nursery colors? Agonies about co-sleeping? Fantasies about drug-free deliveries and easy breastfeeding?

Let me tell you how it really is.

Yesterday started off nicely. Mimi went to playschool in the morning, and I spent the time doing laundry and getting a pedicure. I had just put the last load in the washer when it was time to pick her up, which I did. I took her home and put her in her crib for naptime.

She didn’t nap. The 2-year sleep regression? The long, hot, bright summer days? Naturally growing out of napping? I don’t know. Forty minutes later she was awake and unhappy so I got her up and we packed ourselves off to Sam’s Club for diapers and beer (we have our priorities straight). As we returned home, the neighbor popped by to say that he had rented an inflatable water slide for his visiting grandson (age 4) and Mimi was welcome to come over and play.

So I put the beer in the fridge for my husband (who am I kidding… I left it in the trunk of my car, from whence he rescued it when he got home and wanted beer), tried to get Mimi to eat an ice cream bar for a snack (she wouldn’t eat it; first she demanded to eat mine instead, then wouldn’t eat either one), and put a swim diaper and her little bikini on her. Here is her bikini:


We trotted over to the neighbor’s yard and for an hour she and the grandson happily played. Mimi has an absolute mania for slides these days. They have wholly supplanted the swings. This slide proved to be too hard to climb and too high to be happy at the top of, but I placed her halfway up it a couple of times and then she fell to climbing in and out of the place at the bottom where water collects. The neighbor and I were in the middle of speculation about the neighborhood bylaws when I saw it: the blowout.

Mimi loves slides so much that they literally excite the poo out of her. Is this blog still going to be here in fourteen years when she is dating? Probably. Nothing on the internet dies. Mims honey, right now you are two and slides excite the poo out of you. Swim diapers, alas, neither absorb nor contain, so this poo had escaped up your back and probably contaminated the slide. The neighbor was eager to get the grandson out of cold water so we all quickly parted.

Returning to general narration: we had exited the house through the back door of the living room, so we re-entered there. From there one has to cross the living room and go down the whole length of the bedroom hallway to get to Mimi’s room, or 3/4s of it to get to the bathroom. Because Mimi had a smear of poo up her back I didn’t want to carry her, but because she’d been playing on a water slide on grass she was both wet and covered in grass clippings. I would rather have grass clippings on my floor than poo on my shirt, so I let her walk. She made her way across the living room without incident–leaving a trail of soggy grass behind her–but when she hit the hallway she started to slip. And fall on her butt. And not hurt herself much, because she was padded with a soggy, poo-filled swim diaper. And every time she fell, it went splat.

By the time she got to the bathroom she had fallen twice and was so upset that she wouldn’t let me put her in the bathtub… so we trailed grass clippings and made one more big poo splat on the way to the changing table in her room. Once there she began pounding her feet on the wall, smearing grass clippings all over it and poo all over the changing table.

The neighbor had told me, half an hour earlier, that I was an excellent mother who really loved children. This is why I didn’t hate my life at this point. I put on a Madonna-like glow of patience and sympathy. I was the toddler whisperer. I got Mimi’s bikini and diaper off of her, then I talked her into getting back in the tub, and submitting to a shower. And liking it.

I had had her in showers twice before in her life. Both times she screamed bloody murder.

So now she is clean and likes the shower so much she doesn’t want to get out, and I have a hallway and bathroom and child’s bedroom and living room that are all literally splattered with water, grass clippings, and soggy poo. I decide to leave her in the shower while I clean up, figuring that she can’t possibly drown in it.

NOTE TO EVERYONE: I realize in retrospect that she could have turned the temperature knob and scalded herself. Except that our water heater isn’t turned up that high, so she wasn’t in danger. But it was something that I didn’t think of at the time, and I STRONGLY URGE you never to leave your toddler unattended in the shower, and not just for the reason that follows.

I got some rags and a bottle of 409 and more or less cleaned up the trails and smears all over my house. It took me about three minutes, because I have Skillz. Then I came back to Mimi. She had pulled the shower curtain back so it wouldn’t impede her view outside of the shower. Water was spraying everywhere. Bathroom was soaked. But, you know, still technically clean. So whatever. What do I care.

I get her out and dry her off… and then she won’t get dressed. She wants more shower. She wants bath time. She wants more slide. She wants the kiddie pool. I spend the next thirty minutes getting a diaper and sundress on her, then when we are finally settled in the TV room (because after all that, My Little Pony is GOING TO HAPPEN) she gets me up off the sofa six times to run errands for her. She has the triple-threat of no nap, no snack, and supercharged water slide excitement behind her, and believe me she is a persuasive force of nature. I mean, come on, she’s cute.

It was six errands. She wanted:

1. Grapes
2. String cheese
3. More string cheese
4. Bongo the monkey
5. A fancy drink
6. A pink pillow

I hope you’re tired reading this, pregnant moms-to-be. If you think this won’t be your life, HA.

And then I folded and put away the laundry, cooked dinner, did half the cleanup, took strawberry shortcake to the neighbors as a peace offering, put the toddler to bed, and did not finish assembling a flat pack bookshelf.


5 thoughts on “Interlude: real parenting

  1. Oh, what a day you had! It happens to all of us! My daughter just gave up her nap when she turned four and I do miss that afternoon break. How many days does Mimi attend playschool each week? My daughter will start preschool this fall three mornings per week. She has been home with me the past four years. I think it’s time though, for the both of us!

  2. Mimi attended playschool for two mornings a week starting at 12 months old, and three mornings a week starting at 2 years old. I honestly couldn’t cope without those breaks, I just don’t have it in me. How do you make doctor’s appointments? Get haircuts and oil changes? Vacuum? Clean her room?

  3. Oh, man. What a day! I had Kira just before Fiona turned two, and was working full-time. YEESH. I do not miss the poop-storm days. 🙂 Glad you both got through it with style and sass.

  4. Since Charlotte recently gave up her afternoon nap I am having a hard time coping… Oh, I miss that break! My mom is retired and lives close by so I usually drop Charlotte off at her house when I have an appointment. And cleaning, well it’s definitely been placed on the back burner these days. I am looking forward to having a little time for myself again!

  5. Sorry, but I had to smile while reading. No having my third, which is 16 month old, I really look forward to those days (not). My older kids are already 9 and 7 so I nearly forgot the joys of toddler days 😉 Great how you stayed calm. Happy summertimes for you 🙂

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