For all you who have toddlers, had toddlers, or will have toddlers, I’m here to comfort you with a story of one of my parenting fails. I fail daily but always with style. Epic style it seems, straight from Mordor. At any moment I will have destroyed at least one of my children’s hopes and dreams and likely any opportunity they have of being a successful contributing member of society. Sometimes it is because of a boundary I feel compelled to hold such as “I understand you don’t want to wear clothes right now but I can’t let you go to school naked.” Honestly I can relate to that struggle actually. Or maybe “you may bounce the ball outside, not inside, I don’t want another light broken.” Cue freak out. Moments of devastation triggered by boundary enforcement I’m somewhat prepared for, it is, after all, part of my responsibility to help my children understand boundaries. But there are times when I unintentionally and without awareness, wreck havoc on my children’s lives and I just thought I was being helpful. It could be me handing the 4 year old her hat or possibly asking the 13 year old if she had her lunch before she heads out the door for a long day at rehearsal, or inevitably, making a favorite meal I thought everyone would love. Without watching my step, I think I’m doing something positive and suddenly find myself in the midst of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Please note, I’m not exaggerating. There is actual wailing and actual gnashing of teeth. Something I didn’t even know was real until I had children. The other day, I caused wailing and gnashing of teeth that easily rivals any scene of Gollum shrieking “MY PRECIOUS” as hobbits scurry away.
I ruined my child’s life by flushing the toilet.
Sugarbaby (2) is convinced I’m a horrible mother who doesn’t love her, doesn’t understand her, and truly doesn’t want her to be happy. She came to this conclusion when I flushed the potty for her. I know, I know, obviously flushing the potty would wreck her day, I just wasn’t thinking. In no uncertain terms she let me know “I FLUSH IT! NO MOMMY FLUSH IT!” And promptly peed again so she had a reason to flush the potty.
Only she didn’t flush it because she wanted poop in there to flush too. Gollum shrieking because alas, she couldn’t produce more poop. Slime oozed from her nostrils which greatly added to her distress. Ever helpful, I thought she wanted me to wipe the snot on her face (please? Do we have to look like Gollum too?) and feeling terrible that I had foolishly flushed the potty for her, I asked her permission to wipe her face and interpreted her continued wails and freaking out about the snot to be an affirmative response.
Only I was wrong.
Now she wanted me to put the snot back on her face. I tried, I really did, dabbing the offending tissue on her cheeks, lips, and nose, but she didn’t fall for it. So I threw the lying thief of a tissue in the toilet. It deserved to be banished, to dissolve and disappear forever.
I was wrong again.
She screeched that her snot was in the potty, screaming “my snot, my snot back on my face!” I offered to get her a new tissue, she rejected the offer and stormed out, standing just outside the bathroom in full-lung protest to the world. A sound the likely sent shivers up spines half way around the world.
Naturally, since she was occupied and actually not in the bathroom with me, I took the opportunity to pee alone, you never know when that will happen again.
And then I flushed the potty.
No worries, she had fully replaced the snot I wiped away, that was evident when she stormed back in the bathroom screaming “I FLUSH IT! NO MOMMY FLUSH!”
Sometimes the difference between my toddler and Gollum is that Gollum at least was obsessed with a thing made of gold and with magical powers of mind control, my toddler gets obsessed with poop, snot, and flushing the potty.