You must be joking

I swear to Neptune I feel like I’m living in a cartoon today. Brace yourself for a long panel.

This morning was a pediatric appt. for both boys. (Aside: One and Five? Holy guacamole, how did that happen?) Predictably, the young one with strong opinions protested the ear check (oh, shocking…ear infection number eight in nine months) and getting his diaper back on.

Also predictably, the older one with strong opinions (and intensity and persistence and resistance to change and sensitivity) refused to get weighed or measured or checked until it was on his terms. I convinced him to see if he was taller than Dad, to see if he weighed more or less without his clothes, and to let the doc probe him by explaining what a liver, hernia, and scoliosis were.

And then, while I was cuddling the baby post-iron-check, the nurse got tired of waiting for Peanut to agree and told Spouse to hold him down for shots. He screamed, used his words, and tried to hit them, but they gave him four shots completely against his will.

That became the topic of the day.

“Mom, I’m going to kick that nurse if I ever see her.”
“P, it sounds like you’re really angry. We don’t kick when we’re angry. Can you think of a way to say how angry you are?”
“Dear nurse, you’re a fucking nurse.”

He went to school and hung out with the wrong crowd, and I watched him making horrible choices in the yard while I sat in the car with the sleeping toddler.

We went to ice cream with a friend and got several seconds of happy silence.

Went home and he went to wash his hands while I fed Butter. I heard something unusual. Three times. And as I hollered, “What are you doing?” he came crying, terrified, up the stairs.

“I turned on that fire thing.”

I figured he meant the wall heater, which he is forbidden to touch, and which I feared would cause a fire if used. I went into the downstairs bathroom and saw smoke everywhere but no flame or source. I freaked out. And as I whirled to go get the phone to call the fire department, saw the fire extinguisher. Pin removed, covered in white powder. The same stuff floating in the air.

Cue parenting moment…

Charged up the stairs and he ran, face registering that he sensed a beating coming. (NB: we don’t believe in beatings. Or spankings. Or hitting of any kind. But that kid is no fool.) I yelled.

M: Get back here!
P: [terror, tears, compliance]
M: [hugging him gently] I’m not going to hurt you. Don’t ever ever ever ever EVER do that again.
P: [nodding, sobbing]
M: That is dangerous. The chemicals in that can hurt you. That is for grownups in emergencies. Not for playing. Don’t ever ever ever EVER do that again.
P: [nodding, sobbing]
M: Don’t touch things that you don’t know about. There are reasons for rules, reasons for high shelves in cabinets, reasons for locks on doors.
P: [nodding, sobbing]
M: What you did was very dangerous. You could have been hurt. You are not hurt. You are okay. The bathroom is okay. I am okay. Butter is okay. Don’t ever ever ever ever EVER do that again.
P: [nodding and sobbing]
M: I can clean up the chemicals. The very dangerous chemicals. Very hurtful chemicals that are bad for breathing, bad for seeing, bad for bodies.
P: [nodding]
M: Ask before you do new things.
P: [nodding] That fire thing hurt me! [sobbing resumes]
M: Hurt you?
P: Yeah, it hurt my feelings that I did that.
M: Good. It should. That means you know good decisions from bad decisions. And you made a bad choice. Choose differently next time.
P: [nodding]

And then there was soccer. And dinner. And bath. And bedtime. And the poor kid was nice to his brother and calm and fun to be with every moment from 3pm on.

Apparently he needs the sh*t scared out of him, twice, to be an easy little creature.

Worth it?
Cleaning monoammonium phosphate SUCKS. That stuff goes everywhere; burns eyes, nose, and throat; and lingers after sweeping, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming.

And writing letters to fucking nurses tries my patience.

If Dennis the Menace and Bill Waterson’s Calvin and Eeyore and Yosemite Sam had a love child, s/he might give my kid a run for his money. Barring that…