Living with a three year old is sort of like living with a tiny tyrant. It isn't unusual to live in fear of the little despot's next tirade that inevitably will leave everyone reeling it its wake. Anything can set them off: the wrong sippy cup, the right sippy cup, the mere suggestion that they are still a baby, the mere suggestion that they aren't still a baby....
You get the idea.
I am currently living this reality. My little Connor has reached the height of his terrifying threes and I am currently hunkering down, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible and not try to rock his little boat anymore than absolutely necessary. After all, he really does not seem very emotionally or mentally stable right now. I live in constant fear of whatever half-baked plan he is going to come up with next.
And since a picture is worth a thousand words....this is just one example of the stuff this kid comes up with:
|His dining room artwork
|cleaning up the wall
|Apropos. He really does drive Mommy Crazy!
And so you can see why I will never tell my son that we won't go to the potty if he asks. With my luck, the first time I say no will be the one time he has finally decided he is interested. Connor, of course, has my number on this and he takes full advantage of the situation.
"Mommy, I have to go potty."
"Are you actually going to use it this time?"
(smiling so sweetly I practically go into sugar shock) "Of course Mommy."
And off we traipse. Sometimes we get in the bathroom and he looks at me and starts giggling, "Just kidding Mommy, I'm not going to use the potty." Sometimes we get in the bathroom and he runs to the sink and starts playing in the water. And sometimes, very, very rarely.....but sometimes, he actually goes to the potty.
I am sharing all of this in order to set the scene, so you can truly appreciate the special dish of motherhood trauma my Tiny Tyrant served up for me. Yesterday, at the church no less, Connor asked to use the potty and actually went. I even got to witness this myself in a rare moment where he didn't slam the door and demand privacy. Because of this I was very excited when we were in the hallway at Piper's theater class and he asked if he could go to the bathroom.
"Hooray," I thought, "Two days in a row, that is awesome!," and off we traipsed.
When we got in the bathroom he ran to the stall and shut the door. (I feel compelled at this point in the story to point out that we are in a public restroom at the local recreation center).
"I need privacy Mommy."
I figured it might be a few minutes, so I leaned up against the counter, crossed my arms and waited. All the while I was listening to the sounds inside the stall. I heard dripping noises. Then a long pause. Then I heard his feet shuffling back and forth. Then more dripping and finally a flush.
"Holy Cow," I am thinking, "did he just go potty again?! Twice in two days! I am going to do the happy dance!!"
Oh how sad and foolish are the hopes of the tiny tyrant's mother. The door opened and the sight I was greeted with did not register in my brain immediately. He was standing there, dripping from his head, creating a pool of water around his feet.
"What the heck? Connor, what happened?"
"Well Mommy. I didn't want to use the potty, so I stuck my head in the toilet and flushed it."
I have no doubt that if anyone had been in the bathroom with us at this point they would have gladly described my resulting reaction as being somewhat akin to Edward Munch's The Scream, but as we were completely alone, you will just have to take my word on it.
"I. Am. Sorry. You did WHAT!?!"
"I put my head in the toilet. And then I flushed it... And I drinked some too."
I am pretty sure that was about the point when I started becoming dizzy and lightheaded. The shock became physical as I stood there fighting a rising tide of nausea and horror.
In a much calmer voice than I ever thought I could muster under the circumstances, "Could you tell me why? Why did you stick your head in the toilet? That was really not a good idea buddy. You could get really sick from doing that. *suppressing more gagging* That is really, really not ok. Please, please, please promise me you are never, ever, ever going to do that again."
"Ok, just don't make me use the potty."
I wanted to scream that it was his idea to come into the #$%ing bathroom in the first place, but I was very impressed with how calm I stayed. I washed him up as best I could, dried him up a little with a towel and sat him on the wall in the hallway until Piper's class was all over. Then I packed him in the car, drove straight home and dumped him unceremoniously into the bathtub, where I scrubbed the holy heck out of him from head to toe.
The moral of the story? Three year olds are seriously crazy sometimes. The things that occur to them to try is mind boggling, and just when I think that after two kids I have this stuff all under control, that I can think of anything they might think of, Connor finds some new level of creativity to stoop to.
To all those parents out there fighting their own potty training battle, or living with their own tiny tyrant.... you are not alone. Let us link arms in solidarity and remember the age old mantra, "This too shall pass."
In the meantime, I am going to go take another shower, because I am still super grossed out.