I can’t complain about my kid. All the pranking and obnoxious behavior aside, I’ve actually had an easy time with him. I see what my fellow parent friends have to put up with and I applaud their patience and ability to not murder strangers after only getting 40 hours of sleep for the year. Even at a young age, my son slept well into the night and I never had to deal with colic or screaming for hours on end. I KNOW HOW LUCKY I AM. You don’t have to remind me.
Sure, like most kids, he had tantrums, but they were manageable, and then we’d go about our merry way, laughing about farts and how Captain Hook is the real victim in Neverland.
The point of this blog post, as you may have guessed, is that my kid, like most toddlers, has grown into the “I DO WHAT I WANT” phase. And unlike other parents, I was wholly unprepared. He was such a good kid! He didn’t use the word “No” until he was 2 1/2! Now he doesn’t want to eat my food and the idea of duct taping him to a wall has almost become a reality and I don’t even know how to do this whole “time out” thing I hear people talking about. I tried calling the hospital and informing them that someone had switched my baby for a monstrous alien that burns crop circles into my carpet with all his running around and maybe they should offer a refund, but the nurse just cackled and hung up.
A few weeks ago we went to the grocery store. It was meant to be a quick trip. I wanted to make homemade pizza because sometimes I get the urge to be moderately healthy and put green things on my pizza, so I needed to buy said green things and more mozzarella cheese because no house can ever have too much cheese. I grabbed the veggies without a fuss and then tossed a bag of shredded mozzarella into the basket.
Then the shrieking began.
“NOT THE GREEN CHEESE!”
“NOT! THE! GREEN! CHEESE!”
“This cheese isn’t green. It’s white. Like all good cheeses.” I should have know better than to try to reason with a toddler.
“NOT THE GREEEEEEEEEEEENNNNN CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE!”
“The cheese in NOT green! The packaging is green! Come on, you’re being ridiculous. Let’s go.”
And there, in the middle of the dairy aisle, in front of cookie dough, yogurt, and all the things I love, my son fell to the floor, refusing to move unless I put away the green cheese.
My first instinct was to trick him into thinking I put the green cheese back, but that seemed kind of malicious and besides, we had garnered too many onlookers for me to get away with such a tactic. In that moment I tried to call up what I knew about other parents and did my best to emulate what they would do in such a situation. Talking to him didn’t work. He was beyond discussion. All he knew was that green cheese was evil and he wanted nothing to do with such nonsense. Even Dr. Suess would have failed.
So I did the only thing that made sense in that moment; I grabbed his sweaty little hand and half-dragged, half-carried his flailing body to the checkout line. I didn’t want him to know that he was wearing me down, so I kept my face as stern as possible, ignoring his screams and the concerned stares of strangers.
After an eternity, we got into the car (“NOT THE GREEN CHEESE!”), drove home (“NOT THE GREEN CHEESE!”), and I made the pizza (“NOT THE GREEN CHEESE!”).
Which he ate.