Monday, May 16, 2005

Isaac the Terrible

Isaac is two. And up until this weekend, I've been pretty okay with that. He has his meltdowns and his temper tantrums, but generally I can keep him under control. It's actually been much easier than those terrible times from 16 -22 months when he couldn't quite understand me. I would tell him to stay out of the street but he wouldn't understand why. Or I would threaten him with a time out if he didn't stop kicking his sister, but he wouldn't get it. Now that we can have actual conversations, it's much easier for me to control him.

For the last few months I've been halfway holding my breath, waiting for the terrible twos to kick in. And I've started thinking that I've really got this parenting thing down, because here Isaac is, in the midst of the terrible twos, and he's actually a pretty good, easy kid.

Now would be a great time to start laughing.

This weekend, my pretty good, easy kid disappeared. And left in his place an irrational, demanding, stubborn whirling dervish. On Sunday morning, he had been in time-out 5 times before 9 o'clock. He got into the spice drawer again, tore apart the dustbuster, got grease all over himself from playing with the lawn-mower, and refused to get dressed. Although he spent a good part of the morning in hysterics, truly I was the one in need of professional help. You might expect a two year old to be having a tantrum on a Sunday morning; you would not expect his 35 year old mother to be on the floor outside his room, weeping and pleading, "please, please Isaac, please can't you be a good boy?" (And Isaac yells from inside, "Be good boy! Isaac no like good boy!")

Sadly, for Lance and I, the appearance of Isaac the Terrible coincided with the morning after a barbecue we hosted for 10 of our friends. Good times, good fun, good beer, late night. Sunday morning started at 6 am with a chorus of "Mommy! Mommy! Isaac want to get up!" and "Shhoogagg dad dada bwah!" It went quickly downhill from there. In my defense (though when is a hangover a "good" excuse?) the weeping and pleading may have been in response to the pounding headache, the chalk mouth and the exhaustion as well as to the whirling dervish who ate my son.

Now, most of our day goes by like this, "No! Isaac don't like shirt! Isaac like Grover shirt! No Grover shirt! Isaac don't like Grover shirt! Isaac like elephant! Isaac want to ride elephant! Don't get dressed! No! Nooooo! Isaac like to get up! Isaac don't like quiche! Isaac don't like sandwich! No sandwich! Isaac like french fries! I like french fries, Mom! Mom, I don't like sandwich! Isaac like ice cream! I like to play toys! Nooo! I don't like night-night! I don't like that story! Isaac want to pick out story! No . . . .

Thursday, I got a hint of this monster to come. Isaac was in his room, refusing to nap. After about 40 minutes, I went in to check on him. He had pooped, so I leaned in to pick him up out of the crib. And got grease all over my shirt.

"Wha. .?" That's when I noticed that Isaac's hair seemed wet, and shiny. And the sheets were shiny. There was grease all over the crib. And also an empty jug of Aquaphor. (Aquaphor is heavy duty lotion, vaseline-like in texture.) He had shimmied his crib over to the changing table, opened the jar and spread the lotion all over the place. On his hair, on his clothes, on the walls, on the teddy bears.

So that is what I've been doing the last few days. Trying to survive life with my little tyrant.

Where is Vivian during all this, you ask? Hmm. Well, in a spectacular show of good parenting this morning, I allowed her to fall from the tray of her high chair (about 3 feet off the ground) to the hardwood floor.

The high chair sits in the breakfast nook, which is just off the kitchen. When I am in the kitchen, as I was this morning, I can't see the high chair around the corner. Not a problem, as once I put Vivian in the chair, she can't get out. Or so I thought. In fact, so sure was I of this fact that even when Isaac said this morning, "Vivi, sit down!" I never thought for a minute that she had managed to crawl out of the seat and onto the tray. I didn't even turn around. I just thought Isaac was being goofy. THUNK.

She is fine, fortunately. (Sitting at the doctor's office for 1.5 hours with a tired and possibly brain damaged 11 month old did nothing to improve my mood, as you might imagine.) I, on the other hand, have nominated myself for mother of the year, and hope that you will vote for me.

If you're not sure I deserve your vote, here's something else: The reason I can't strap Vivian into the highchair is that a few weeks ago I had to throw away the straps, since they were so covered in mold from old crusty food, they were growing penicillin.

Happy Monday.

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