Last Monday, I attacked the kids’ bathroom with a spray bottle of bleach. I cleaned the countertop and the toilet. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the floor. I wiped down the light switch and the faucet.
It looked clean. It smelled clean. It was clean.
And I felt like Super Mom.
Then, just three days later, I had to give up my cape. Because that bathroom reeked of urine. Already.
I tried to envision all the things that Anthony could have done because, let’s face it, blame for this had to fall on the 4-year-old.
Did he pee in the trash can?
Nope. That wasn’t the source of the smell.
Had he peed on the floor?
Nope. That didn’t seem to be it either.
Could it have been the dog?
And then, I walked in on Ant in the bathroom. And I saw a stream of urine rising above the toilet instead of going down into it.
There he stood, pointing his penis up in the air as pee bounced off the back of the toilet seat, sprayed behind the toilet and basically went everywhere but the bowl.
I stood silent for a second before launching into a tirade that left the little man in tears.
I don’t know that anything could have prepared me for raising a boy.
By the way, guess which room I’ll be cleaning again today.
Let me start off with an “I’m a bad mommy” confession.
Sometimes, when I have a lot of editing to do, I head back to my office (AKA my bedroom) and let the kids have the run of the house. They entertain themselves with television and video games and their own amazing imaginations, and when they need something, like food or drink or someone to tattle to, I’m only a few feet away.
So, yesterday, I was logging hours in the “office” when Cera came in to request a snack.
“Mommy, can Anthony and I have some popcorn and peanut butter crackers?” she asked.
“Sure thing,” I replied. “Be right there.”
As she walked back down the hallway, I heard her tell her brother, “We’ll have our snack soon, Ant. I just placed our order.”
Placed our order? What?
But, wait, it gets better. Today, Anthony made his way to the office.
“Mommy,” he said, “can I place my order for lunch?”
You know, I’ve been wondering what I’m going to do next year when Anthony goes to kindergarten. Maybe waitressing is in my future …
A few weekends ago, my mom, whom the kids call Moo, stayed at our house while Jerry and I spent our 10th anniversary in Virginia wine country. Cera and Anthony usually go to my parents’ place when we’re out of town, but since school was still in session, we decided it was best for them to stay here. And they were quite excited to have some quality time with Moo on their own turf.
Flash forward to tonight in our backyard, when Anthony started climbing on top of the kids’ playhouse, a big no-no in his overly cautious Mommy’s book.
“Moo let me do it when she was here,” he argued. “She told me I could climb on the roof as long as there was an adult around.”
“Well, Moo and Mommy have different rules,” I replied.
“But she’s your Mommy,” he shot back. “So you have to listen to her rules.”
Excuse me, but did I just get out-logiced by a 4-year-old?
Anthony had two requests for breakfast this morning: an apple and a bowl of pear soup.
The apple was easy enough – sliced and with the skin removed, just as he likes it.
But pear soup? My mind raced for a moment until he padded off into the kitchen and returned with this:
Pears. In a can. Or, in Anthony speak, pear soup.
So I poured them into a bowl, and breakfast was served.
Cera was so enthusiastic in her puddle stomping yesterday afternoon that she somehow ran headfirst into the mailbox at the end of our driveway. This photo doesn’t really do her injury justice. But still – ouch!
Even worse, after a day of explaining to her friends and teachers how she hurt herself, I think my little girl’s ego may be bruised even more than her pretty face.
I never really wanted a dog.
My daughter, on the other hand, had been asking for a puppy since she could talk and, about a year ago, started accompanying her pleas with pictures of she and I walking a dog (and sometimes multiple dogs).
“It would be good exercise for all of us, Mommy,” she would tell me, waving her drawings in my face.
Yes, she is completely manipulative.
So, after she’d proven herself responsible though more than a year of helping to care for our neighbor’s dog, Jerry and I relented, and, in December, Aidan joined our little family.
Turns out Cera wasn’t quite ready for the responsibility. And I certainly wasn’t, although I should have been. I mean, I’m the one who’s home all the time, so it would make sense that I would do the majority of the feeding and the walking and the picking up of poop.
But, like I said, I didn’t really want a dog. And I became resentful of him.
So, when Jerry and Cera headed to Washington for a week and Aidan decided to pee and poop all over the house and start eating the kids’ toys and the books from bottom shelves and pretty much anything else he could find, I called Jerry and tearfully told him that when they got home, the dog had to go.
I didn’t want to hate the dog. I really didn’t. He made my daughter happy. And there are few things that make me happier than when my daughter’s happy.
But I hated the dog.
And the dog? Well, the dumb dog loved me. Because I was the one who fed him and walked him and picked up his poop. We had a bit of the initial Annie-Sandy relationship going on. You remember, when Annie sang about having nothing to offer Sandy, but he still followed her wherever she went?
Turns out I calmed down before Jerry and Cera got home, and I didn’t make my girl give up her dog.
And, then, sometime over the past few weeks, this happened.
Yep, I started to love the dumb dog.
Maybe it’s because the accidents decreased and now the only poop I clean up is in the yard.
Maybe it’s because we now crate him when we leave the house and thus come home to much less destruction.
Maybe it’s because he’s less aggressive around other dogs since we got him neutered.
Or maybe it’s because I started to accept the increased responsibility like the big girl that I am and just allowed myself to enjoy having a pet that, for some unknown reason, absolutely adores me.
There are few things that can make you feel like more of an inadequate parent than not being able to put together a toy for ages 5 and up.
And one of those things is when your husband comes home from work and assembles the whole thing in less than 10 minutes.
But I’ll take inadequate any day if it means I get to see this little man smile.
Today was a big day for you. A day you’d anticipated for a long time. Your first day in hockey skates.
I loved watching your face as I emerged from the equipment room with a pair of sleek black skates with white laces instead of the usual bright blue figure skates with buckles.
I loved walking behind you as strode to the rink, a bit wobbly on those new skates but with a sense of determination that I’d never seen in you before.
You told me, “I’m going to do good today.”
And then, before the door to the rink had even closed, you were on your butt. Two more strides, and you were on your butt again.
It looked like you’d never been on skates before, not like you’d been faithfully practicing every Tuesday and Thursday morning for the past three months. Instead of joining your “fast friends,” you hung back with the rookies, taking baby steps, arms at your sides for balance, something I hadn’t seen you do in weeks.
In the observation area, I started to hear murmurs from the other moms.
“What’s wrong with number 30?”
“He’s usually zipping around the ice.”
“Maybe he has an inner ear infection.”
It was frustrating to hear.
It was frustrating to watch.
And I knew it must be even more frustrating for you.
My eyes welled with tears as I watched you lift yourself off the ice again and again, hoping that you weren’t losing the confidence that you’d built through months of hard work.
And the tears began to fall in earnest as I watched you skate off the ice at the end of 30 minutes, obviously weary and probably sore (I can only imagine the bruises you’ll have by bedtime). But I didn’t cry because you looked in any way upset. I cried because – after taking more falls than you had in your past month of classes combined – you were still wearing your ever-present grin.
“This was a tricky day,” you said matter-of-factly as you stepped out of the rink.
And then you took my hand, looked up at me with those big blue eyes and asked, “Can I wear hockey skates again on Thursday?”
And my heart swelled with pride and admiration and love.
So, yes, Anthony. You can wear hockey skates again on Thursday. And, if you want, you can wear them every day for the rest of your life.