Welcome to this week's Wednesdays with Wendy!
Wednesdays with Wendy: I Don't Sit on Your Toilet, So Please Don't Poop on My Sofa
by Wendy Bradford
Technically, I do actually sit on your toilet. So scratch that. But the rest of that still applies.
Sometimes, with kids, one has to be very explicit. Don't play on the stairs. Don't put your feet on the table. Don't leave the water running. And yes: Don't poop on the sofa.
I try to get too much done at once. Often I get nothing done for months at a time. So there's a lot of catching up to do. And when I am in catch-up mode, common sense escapes me, and I do crazy things. Like leaving the kids on their own while I type away in another room.
And this is what I heard as I tried to work on my laptop in the kitchen this afternoon:
I'm giving you a shot! You're the patient!
I want to be the doctor! You're always the doctor. No fair...
I smell poop!
There's poop! There's poop!
What's going on here? Why is everyone naked?
We're playing doctor and we had to take our pants off.
And he has poop on his butt.
Ewwww! Poop! There's poop!
WHAT?? What happened? Why is there poop--oh my god, what the--there is poop everywhere!
I went to the bathroom and pooped.
WHY didn't you tell me when you were finished? I would have wiped you!
I didn't know I was done. And mommy, I wanted to play. Can I watch TV?
Mommy, look at his underwear!
How could you not know, oh my god--what is this? You have to know. From now on, okay, TELL me when you have to go. AND TELL ME WHEN YOU ARE DONE. Okay? And YOU TWO put on your pants!
There are moments when I am yelling at the kids for behaviors that are entirely my fault. Like when I leave things out. Any things. Keys, pens, brushes, lipsticks, checkbooks. And they take them and write on them, hide them, use them on their dolls. Or put them in the toilet.
This is an interesting age. I see my friends with toddlers in diapers and I think "Whoa, thank goodness we are done with that." And I see my friends with babies and think, "How nice it is to put your kid in one place. And he's there when you return."
But my kids are four and one-half and six. They can turn the television on, the cable box on, find their channel. They take the step-stool from its hook and get themselves crackers from the cabinet. They pick out their clothes. They tell me about their day, and they help clean up after dinner. Yet they cannot open the cheese stick packaging. A new box of printer paper is an invitation to use their surprisingly efficient kids' scissors to make confetti. A lot of really small pieces of confetti. Everything they find has a really awesome and fun purpose other than for what it was intended. Dishwashers are a great place to hide legos. The world is open for exploration and the rules don't apply until after the fact. They cannot be trusted with big decisions. And "big" is relative to the moment, clearly.
So I got my cleaners out. Cleaned the kid. Threw another pair of size 4 robot underwear in the garbage. Scrubbed the couch cushion. For the second time today, I thought that having a dog really does prepare you for kids.