If you never want to have kids, you might want to skip this one. Because it mostly has to do with poop.
If you were considering having kids any time soon, then this is for your benefit. Because it mostly has to do with poop.
Our afternoons lately seem to be falling into the same pattern. My oldest will get home from preschool, be happy and a bit tired. We will pleasantly have lunch and talk about her day, many smiles and hugs are shared. Then some little thing happens and all of a sudden she morphs into TANTRUM DEMON CHILD.
When she was tiny, her tantrums were kind of cute. Now that her head comes up to my chest and she can put 40 pounds of force into stomping around and slamming doors, it’s not so cute. (Oh, and her volume… I need earplugs. For Mother’s Day, ok?)
Today’s adventure centered around the toilet. Be forewarned a second time.
Sofia had done her business, but in the process of cleaning herself up (she no longer asks for help, which is both a blessing and a curse) she she got poop all over her hands. She used an entire roll of toilet paper to wipe them off. (OK, fine.) She put most of it in the trashcan (OK, good) but what she did drop in the toilet was enough to stop it up. Breathe deep and smile. At least she didn’t try to take it all back out of the (poop-filled) toilet with her bare hands and deposit it on the carpet, like that one time of which we shall not speak, right?
So now I have a kid with poopy hands and a stopped-up potty that I have to plunge. It’s fine. I calmly explain that first things first, she needs to use sanitizer on her hands. I guide her over to the sink. Except:
BEGIN SCREAMING FREAKOUT. Wails and kicking and fighting me. Wrestling and running away from the sink. I try to position her in front of the sink and she will not give me her hands, hold them out, anything. I take one and put sanitizer in her palm and she flings it off all over the mirror.
What?? What the what?? We wash our hands every time we use the bathroom. We sanitizer our hands frequently. I am completely confused. I try to talk it out with her, but she will not stop touching things. She flails at me. She pushes away the soap dispenser. She shoves at the faucet. With her poopy hands. Words are nonexistent. She is saying helpful things like NA NA NA NA NA and BECAUSE IT’S NOOOOOOO and just incoherent yelling.
I do manage to get enough words out of her to determine that maybe she wants to wash her hands first and then sanitize? Ok, let’s try that. I tell her it’s fine to wash her hands first. (But please keep your hands in the sink. Please don’t take them out of the sink. Please put your hands back into the sink. Please stop flapping your hands around. Please put your hands into the damn sink, child.)
I must stop the spread of the poop, so I lift her up from behind and put her hands into the sink. Her yelling increases in volume. In an astounding display of abdominal strength she flips up her legs so her feet are against the vanity and levers herself away from the sink.
I am still trying to keep calm, using my nice words, asking her to please explain WHY she doesn’t want to, to PLEASE use her words, please TELL me what the problem is. She is yelling and kicking and keeps turning off the faucet and grabbing objects and OH MY GOD THE SCREAMING. (I was using my router earlier today without earplugs, but this? This is louder.) I catch the word “cold”, ask her if the water is too cold, she sobs that it is too cold (it was in the middle) so we move it a bit to the left, then she screams it is too hot and she slaps it off again (silly me, thinking I could let her go for one second).
So now I have poop on my hands and shirt, a writhing flailing demon kid with poopy hands, a toilet to plunge, and ten surfaces to disinfect.
It is getting harder to keep very very calm. My smile feels like rigor mortis.
One more try to get her to explain why suddenly she is inexplicably freaking out over doing the same exact thing we’ve done every time she’s gone to the bathroom for the past two years.
“Sofía, you have poop on your hands. I like that you tried to clean yourself, but now we have to wash off the poop. It can make you sick and it is dirty.”
“NOOOOOO IT’S STUUUUUUUUPID!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S JUST STUPID AND NOOOOO!”
Meanwhile, my one-year-old is alone in the kitchen eating her lunch. I don’t like that she’s eating unsupervised – we’re experimenting with bigger pieces of food lately, and of course I didn’t buckle her into her high chair because I hadn’t thought I’d be gone more than a quick second – but I can’t let go of Sofia because she will wipe poop all over, and probably try to suck her poopy thumb, as she has already done each time I let go of her wrists. I’ve been gone entirely too long already.
So after two more “if you do not wash your own hands I will have to wash them for you” warnings, I finally wrestle her over to the sink, pin her in place, and scrub her hands for her. She writhes and fights me and flings poopy water onto the toothbrushes while she bawls her fury at my enforcement of hygiene.
After we wash, I sanitize her hands and now she’s screaming this wail so high-pitched that I’m afraid it’s going to shatter all the glass in my cabinets. Because she has a cut on her finger and it stings, and that is totally a pain worth bursting everyone’s eardrums for. I put her down and since the ordeal is over she is now quiet and sniffly. While she dries her hands I explain to her why I am upset by her behavior. I point out all the extra work she has made for me. She glares at me, then throws back her head and howls. My eyeballs begin to bleed.
I pick her up and put her into her room, because she refuses to walk. She will stay there until after quiet time (she does not nap any more, but we still have “quiet time” every day where she plays or reads in her room.)
Josh and I try not to spank. Sometimes we fail. Today I did not fail – but I feel like if I had spanked her, she couldn’t be any more upset but at least I wouldn’t still be this angry.
I plunged the toilet, sanitized every surface I could find, dipped the toothbrushes in straight vinegar just in case, changed my shirt, refilled the toilet paper holder, stung my own winter-cracked fingertips with a second round of sanitizer, and came back to check on Lilu.
Who had thrown every single item of food on her tray, down onto the freshly-mopped floor.