We took the toddler hiking at a lovely park south of the city, where we trekked through a short patch of woods to a beautiful stream. I used to take my dog walking there before she died, because she could get right into the water and drink to her heart's content. I was not expecting my son to want to do the same on a 50something degree day, but he surprised me by walking up to the stream, and then attempting to continue walking right into it! When I lifted him back onto the trail and told him he couldn't get into the stream, he began to pull his shirt up with one hand and his pants down with the other. I want bath, I want swim, I want sip, I want water he repeated, again and again, all the while trying his hardest to pull his clothing off. And again and again I had to tell him: I'm sorry baby, but no. No. Finally he cocked his head to the side, looked me dead in the eyes and said very firmly: Mommy, I WANT no!
And here I thought the problem was that he didn't understand! He understood perfectly, and surely not for the last time: he WANTS no! Apparently, it's me that needs some catching up on this concept.
Later in the week we attended an open house at the school where my husband teaches. It was held during the dinner hour, so we packed some food for our little Sunshine (who should really be referred to as an Unpredictable Weather Event from here on in, if his behavior is to be taken into account). I took him into the teacher's lounge and he ate, and then noticed a wooden apple sitting on the window sill. Mommy, apple! he said, and pointed, and so I gave it to him to play with while I washed his dinner dishes. Suddenly I heard a crash and a shatter, and when I turned around the apple was in pieces on the floor! While it looked and felt like wood, it was instead some plastic laminate that was thick on the top (where I knocked to be sure it was safe before giving it to him), and thin on the bottom, where it shattered into tiny pieces on the floor when he dropped it. Oh shit! I gasped, upon seeing it on the floor, and my son echoed: Oh sit! I'd like to tell myself he's practicing commands for the dog we'd like to adopt someday, but I guess it's time to start watching my mouth.
At our last appointment with the pediatrician she asked if I had started potty training yet. I told her about the small potty I bought when he was very young, and how starting at 8 months he would use it if I sat him down on it before bath time, but then he decided one day that he absolutely hated it, and refused to sit on it all, screaming bloody murder if I tried to bring him toward it. She suggested the smaller seats that go onto the adult toilet, and so I bought one. Our bathroom, in a strange design I've found to be disconcertingly common in older houses, has a window right next to the toilet, and the window looks out on our driveway and the neighbor's house and backyard. His favorite part about sitting on that potty is pulling the curtains open to look outside. And when I say favorite part, you know I mean the absolute only thing he likes about the potty at all, right? So now I find myself asking: You want to sit on the potty and look out the window? I've thus far refrained from adding: at the neighbors?
When he grows up to be a nudist I suppose I'll have no one to blame but myself for teaching him that sitting naked on the toilet is a good time to catch up with the crew from the neighborhood. I'll try to shift the blame back onto him. Sorry kiddo, I'll tell him: I told you it wasn't a great idea, but you WANTED no!