Monday, March 1, 2010

Careful What You Ask For

Elisabeth never does anything without clearing it with us, and usually requesting help.  "Mommy, do you want to come with me to the bathroom?"  "Mommy, I'd really like it if you just sat there and watched me sleep, I get so lonely when I'm sound asleep."  "Mommy, can you help me put on my underwear?"  "Mommy, can you  help me brush  my short, straight, tangle free hair?"

Oh, and she pretty much never does anything without being ordered.  Get dressed.  Get dressed. GET DRESSED.   Put on your shoes.  Put on your shoes.  PUT ON YOUR DAMN SHOES.  Except of course I can't say "damn" because she'd not only repeat it to all of her classmates and teachers, but she'd email her grandmothers with it.  I make up for choice words with volume and threats of leaving her home.  Getting her out the door in the mornings pushes me to the brink of crazy.

As I was discussing with a dear friend, it is enough to want to make me change my name from Mommy to something else - and not tell her what I've changed it to.  She will drive you crazy!  A million times I've wished for a self starting, independent kid.  I should note that when I mentioned this to the preschool teachers, they about choked since - apparently - Elisabeth is totally self starting and independent and a leader at school.  I guess those three hours must totally wear her out as far as independence goes.

Anyway, along comes Charlotte.  Charlotte puts her own shoes on and tries to throw them at you if you even look like you might come over and help.  She picks out clothes and comes downstairs wearing them - even if both legs are in the same pant leg.  But, yesterday alone made me want to retract every time I ever said or thought "please give me an independent self-starting child."

Around noon, I looked up and saw her trying to jam a straw into a juice box.  We've had the juice boxes at kid accessible height for years because Elisabeth always asks before diving in.  Clearly this plan has its flaws.  Fine, I'm not such a scrooge that the kid can't have a juice box.  But it has to be at the table.  Off to the table she goes, with me warning her to be careful and not squeeze the juice box.  Three minutes later I see her licking a Magic Tree House book, licking it like its covered in sugar.  Oh, wait.  Right.  It's covered in juice. Hollering ensued, which doesn't phase her, at which point she informed me that not only had she spilled juice but she had also had an accident.  Because, oh yeah Mom, I decided it was time to potty train too.  I'm not wearing a diaper.

Fast forward a few hours.  I put her up into her room for "nap time."  Which, by the way, she has given up napping entirely just like her sister did at this age.  A child locked in their room for an hour and a half every day is bound to come up with some doozies, but Charlotte's a stealthy little thing.  Elisabeth would give running commentary to everything she was doing.  I didn't realize "making muffins" was her code for "spreading poop all over the place," but had I been able to correctly interpret - I would have been able to intervene and stop quite a disgusting mess.

Well, yesterday was Charlotte's muffin making day.  She came out around 3:30 and asked if quiet time was over.  I told her she could come downstairs.  I noticed she wasn't wearing a diaper, which was cause for concern.  I asked why and she said that she had tried to go pee pee.  I was sitting within sight of her room and had not heard her leave and traipse to the bathroom, so this assertion was surprising.  Convinced she had peed on the floor, I went upstairs.  No diaper.  No pee.  I looked and saw brown on her knee and upon closer examination determined it was, in fact, poop.  Oh look, more poop on her arm.  And other knee.  And neck??  Into the bathroom we went, where I discovered poop all over the stool and... all in the sink.  In her defense (am I really defending this?) I think she was trying to clean herself up.   Notably, and disturbingly, I did not ever find a load of poop.  I can only hope and pray that it has been safely (and extraordinarily quietly) flushed away.  I did find a completely clean diaper, so it isn't in there.  

So throughout the entire cleaning up ordeal - and I'm still not sure I found all of the spots - I'm explaining (very, very patiently, obviously - and stop laughing right this minute) to Charlotte that I'd like her to please ask me when she wants a snack, ask me when she needs to go potty, ask me before putting on big girl underwear and it occurred to me that this is exactly what I deserved, what I requested.  To each statement, I got the dreaded, "why?"  Because poop is nasty, Charlotte!  But why mommy?  I sent her downstairs while I 409'd the bathroom.  And Princess Cat for good measure.

I came downstairs, frazzled from the afternoon with her, and, I kid you not, that child had gotten another juice box and was sucking it down.  Utter defeat.  But I'm bigger than she is so I snatched it away and put it in the fridge for another day.  I don't know what the score is at this point, but I'm pretty sure I'm losing by a wide margin.

Charlotte is probably a lot like her daddy was as a kid.  Quietly getting into things.  Telling you the truth, just not all of it.  Elisabeth is like me.  Constantly aggravating her mother and constantly in need of assistance.  My mother tells me that she had to get me dressed until I was ten...