Twenty-nine more days

Oh, sure: summer is nice. Long days, bone-warming sunshine, delicious fruit, swimming, and popsicles. Delightful summer goodness.

But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, for counting the days until both boys are in school. 29. If I make it through today.

Butter, our two-year-old, can now handle his own bathroom needs, and his running pronouncements that he’s on the way don’t mean I have to drop everything to help him avert disaster. I finish up my task, then join him for the end-of-task cleaning.

Further, Peanut, the six-year-old, is making frequent, concerted efforts not to beat the crap out of his younger sibling for toddler-esque transgressions.

And they have both adopted several new adorable phrases this summer.

In response to my request that they end play to do something dreadful like eat or go on an adventure, the toddler makes intense eye contact, furrows his brow, and shouts, “Mommy, I heeyo zhou! One moe mini!” So charming. He hears, he acknowledges, he wants another minute. Sure. Can’t wait until you try that on a teacher.

Peanut, the six-year-old, just rolls his eyes at anything I say. He sighs, “Oh, come on,”  exasperated with my existence. Clearly I should reconsider my position after such a persuasive argument. I generally tickle him into submission and move on with my day.

He has been particularly moody and mercurial, though, acting out in wildly annoying and nasty ways. So I’ve sought help from my favorite internet and offline opediatric resources. Dr. Sears notes that an angry child is often a forlorn creature whose needs aren’t being met. Easy diagnosism, then: the older one is pissed because he gets very little attention.  The younger child is still quite dependent.

But I try. I read a book to Peanut, with Butter whining and shrieking for attention. “Excuse me, but I’m reading to Peanut. This is important to him. When I’m done I’ll listen to what’s important to you.” Textbook response that honors both and should buy me a few minutes. Right?

Yes. Four minutes, to be precise, during which Butter went upstairs and ate a quarter of a tube of toothpaste.

Does fluoride poisoning cut down on sassy comments? If so we might come out ahead on that one.

I tried to give the big guy some soul-food attention the next day by planning and working on a science project with him. Butter made lots noise about needing company while he played, but I told him this was Peanut’s time, and that he could watch or wait to do something together with me in just a few minutes.

Mind you, the kid gets 13.75 of 14 hours a day. Peanut wanted fifteen minutes. Needed it.

So Butter got my stash of chocolate out of the freezer and gnawed happily on it. A lot. I found him standing on the stepstool, freezer door open, half a bar of Dagoba lavender chocolate gone. Quite tidy, for what that’s worth: no chocolate on his face at all. Mad skillz. Hard to criticize the waste of electricity, safety issue, and violation of chocolate privacy.

Yesterday, as I stood watching, the little guy figured out how to climb one of our backyard trees into his brother’s treehouse. Not with a ladder, y’all. We pulled that a year ago so the big guy could have some space just to himself and so the little guy wouldn’t be tempted. But yesterday Butter quickly scaled the tree branches into the treehouse. At age Two. In the giant outdoor playpen we call a backyard, into which I shoo both children each evening so I can make a lightning fast homemade meal.

He was very proud of himself. And yelled at me when I offered to help him down. So I watched and waited, and the second I turned my back he climbed back down and stood grinning, proclaiming, “Me need Mommy…no!”

So we’re looking at 29 days of freezer meals. I guess it’s a good thing Butter made room by demolishing my chocolate.

15 thoughts on “Twenty-nine more days

  1. Oh my lord. I don’t know where to start. So much I could relate to.

    For now, think this. butter sounds like an Olympic athlete in the making. And, your writing is just as understated and humorous and wry and great as ever.

  2. I can’t say I’m pleased to read that the vying for attention never ends, although I guess I knew that. I just keep telling myself that soon (it had better be soon, anyway) my older son will calm down and in just a year or so my two boys will be absolute angels who will entertain each other, allowing Mommy to sneak off to eat ice cream by herself. Or drink several gin and tonics, depending on how the day has gone.

    Obviously, I am totally delusional. But I cling to my delusions.

    • And I encourage them. The readers of this blog reassured me with such delusions when Butter was new and Peanut was awful.
      They lied.
      And I contribute to the lie by photographing only the moments when they’re playing nicely together. Wishful photography…

  3. Vertical Mr. Butter! Oh my, Mama…you’ve got some emergency room visits in your future. I can just imagine our little chocolate thief scaling that tree!

  4. I know, I know. This summer vacation thing is loooong. We need to take a page out of Japan’s book. Don’t the kids there go something like 560 days a year? THAT’S the way to do it.

    Also: It could be worse. Think of the horror of a kid who goes for the bag of baby carrots instead of the chocolate bar. This is proof you are raising logical children. Kudos, you.

    (Thanks for the advice in your comment on my blog, btw!)

    • I would love year-round school. Summer break is, like, three weeks. I could handle that.

      Had I known you weren’t warned about boy diaper changes, I would have posted a “so you’re having a boy?” article here. Good luck and congratulations!

  5. I feel your pain. I truly do. I remember those days all too well.

    To give you a little hope (I’m not rubbing it in, I promise!) I want to share: this has been the first summer when I am actually dreading the first day of school. My boys (ages 8 and 9) have been so much fun, so helpful, so little drama and conflict, I honestly can’t believe myself when I say it out loud but I’m really going to miss them when they go back next week. Crazy, right?

  6. I so get this, and know I will be in your shoes next year, but we, on the other hand feel like summer is just beginning! Finally cast free I’m trying to salvage these 29 (now 28) days of summer! With any luck, I’ll see my toddler climbing trees withing weeks! On second thought….no. I think I’ll keep him away from the trees for awhile.

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