Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Adventures of Contrary Boy and She Who Would Be Two

Warning: I have been toddlerized.

I have come to accept the inherent cereal and milk encrusted feeling of all my door knobs and the fact that no wall escapes a Zorro like calling card.

One can only hope to contain a toddler, not control. They have to consent to any ideas or activities. The moment one says something in imperative voice to a two year old, the answer is already decided. “We need to go.” “You need a diaper change.” “It’s time to play, eat ice cream and ride flying pink ponies while watching TV and jumping off the furniture.” The reflexive response to all three of these commands is NO! Not only no but hell no!

Time to get dressed.

Now usually I bring the clothes down when I get them up and tackle that task while they’re still groggy enough not to reflexively resist. Today I was slumming and it was ten o’clock when I attempted this feat. Going through the laundry to find fresh outfits, my children sensed what was coming and scattered.

I do have a trick or two though. I have found that if I practice the piano, even so much as a single plink on those ivories brings them to practice with me. This secret summoning spell remains 100% effective as long as they are unaware that I am manipulating them.

Plink! Plink! Plink! I want to be sure they come so I play a winner, “The Spinning Song.”

Up they run, my son shouting “I want to play. I want to play!” “Play!” my daughter who turns two in a week calls. She gets to me first.
I take the first comer and wrestle her to the ground to get dressed. “Now you can play the piano.” I explain. She happily plinks.

Now my son isn’t willing to get dressed and stays out of arm’s reach. “Can we go to the fitness center today?” he asks. (They have better toys I’m told at the gym).
“Fitness Center.” My daughter repeats.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe. If people get dressed.” I say, acting casual, as though going to work out would be a major effort and inconvenience to me. He picks out his clothing and hands it to me in a flash.

“Thanks Contrary Boy.” I say as I help him into his shirt.

Make no mistake, toddlers do have super powers; they get sane educated adults to comply with an endless array of tasks through erosion of will.

Yesterday, I needed to make an appointment. The receptionist put me on hold. I witnessed Contrary boy, complete with blanket cape, amble through the kitchen. He found a magnet, a marble, the back of one of my earrings, a cell phone I had given up for dead and a lost bag of chips ahoy to share with his sister. When I cried “Wait!” He bolted out of the room. In the meantime, She Who Would be Two came in, found one shoe, put it on her foot and walked off. She took a marker with her. Returning five minutes later with an entirely purple arm, I hung up. I’d call from my cell with them in their car seats.

Both she and her brother asked for a second round of breakfast.

What did they want?

“Peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches.”

We were out of bread.

“Could I make it on hot dog buns?”

They thought this was funny and I pointed out it looked like a mouth. Impulsively, I added blue berries on top as eyes. My son wanted his to have a mustache. That took some doing but after two minutes of discussion and a smear of peanut butter, I served Groucho Marx PB&J on a bun.

I thought I might squeeze back in the call. The Receptionist put me on hold before I could tell her not to.

“Mom. You didn’t give us napkins.”
“Napkins.” She Who Would be Two repeats.

I find a roll of paper towels and pull off two. Still holding.

“Mom, you didn’t give us drinks.”
“Drinks.” She Who Would be Two repeats again.

“I know.” I responded. “Mommy’s on the phone. The service here is terrible.”

“Terrible.” He repeated.

I started making sippy cups of milk before She Who Would be Two could repeat Terrible as well.

Happiness lasted as long as the sandwiches. She Who Would be Two shredded her bun and got her hair covered in peanut butter and jelly.

“My hands are sticky.” He explained, visibly distressed.
“sticky.” She starts to say.
I grab a towel and sponge off her hands and face first.

As I turn to wipe his hands, Contrary boy frowns. “Mom, We haven’t had lunch.”

I hung up again.


Ello - Ellen Oh said...

That is such a cute story! And Oh boy can I relate! I've got 3 and they make me laugh and drive me crazy every single day. I loved this story!

Suburban Correspondent said...

And people wonder why we go on Prozac....

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