You're Not Smart Because You're Thinking.

You know that your child has the ability to take off his diaper.  You know that putting him down for a nap without shorts over his diaper makes it even easier for him to take off his diaper.  You know that the one time your child takes off his diaper in his crib unsupervised there will be fecal matter involved.  You know that it can happen, and you do it anyway.  It appears that you are not too bright.  Why in the world would you do something which could so obviously turn out poorly?

Motherhood makes you less "smart."  Not only because you have opportunities to lose sleep in such large quantities that are impossible to ever re-coop, but because your mind is taking in and sifting through much more than the bottom line, pardon the pun.  You are thinking that it's over 100 degrees outside and he'd be cooler without shorts on.  You are thinking the shorts he's been wearing today are very cute, but don't seem like they'd be very comfortable to sleep in.  You are thinking he's very tired and usually plays for a few minutes and then drifts off to sleep.  You are thinking that ordinarily you would just put him in another pair of cooler, softer shorts except that you are already mentally doing laundry and packing for next week's trip and would prefer to make it a one-pair-of-shorts-per-family-member kind of day.  You are thinking he's slept like this hundreds of times before and it's never been an issue.  You are thinking how he prefers to take off disposable diapers, and today he's wearing a cloth diaper.

It's not that you don't make logical connections out of all the pertinent information.  It's that you make too many logical connections out of all the pertinent information.  "Smart" says, "Shorts are always required for nap.  Period."  But, Mommy says "Because of all of the above information, I will now engage in ill-advised, reckless behavior because it seems the most comfortable for my child and the most prudent use of laundry time" on this ill-fated t-shirt-and-diaper nap day.

And you leave the room.  And you go back into the room because of the screaming that you know means your child has his leg stuck between the crib slats.  You dislodge it, and he asks for more milk.  You bring him more milk and tell him it's time for a nap.  He screams.  You leave the room again.  He's quiet for quite some time.  Then he's talking again--not all that remarkable.  He does this many days.  Then you hear the piercing scream of limb-caught-in-crib-slats again.  You wince and wish you had the guts to put him in a big boy bed already.  You go in, and no amount of reality tv could have prepared you for what you see next.

He is, indeed, stuck between the crib slats again.  But he's standing up.  He's diaper-less, which as has been mentioned above, is not entirely surprising.  And before you see the rest, you smell it.  When your brain processes the smell it tells your lungs to sigh before you even know what you're signing about.  You just know it's not going to be good.  And your brain is right.  Your child begins motioning violently toward the other end of the crib, showing you that he pooped in his diaper, took it off, got poop everywhere, decided he should smear his pacis in it, and then try to climb out of his bed.  The climbing out part makes a lot of sense.

A second wave of realization hits you as you see that he topped it all off by tinkling all over the poop-smeared sheets and pacis.  Lovely.  You repeat your favorite motherhood phrase:  "Urine is sterile."   You are strangely relieved by the fact that the new data concerning the urine did not increase the net amount of germs in the current equation.  You thank God that you finally ignored the research stating that Caucasians under 5 are seldom if ever lactose intolerant and started your paci-dipping child on Lactaid last month.  You shudder at what could have been.

You do not have the presence of mind to take a picture for all of posterity, because every fiber of your being has the overwhelming desire to retrieve your offspring from any setting in which you find him freely intermingling with human waste.   As you immediately remove your child's shirt and gingerly carry him to the bath tub, you hear yourself saying something to him about poop belonging in the potty.   You wash and wash, but once you allow yourself an inspection-type sniff you are disappointed.  You go into turbo-cleaning mode as a sinking feeling comes over you.   You realize that every square inch of his scrubbable body has been scrubbed (or gently lathered and rinsed due to a propensity to skin irritation and eczema), but all evidence points to the fact that he must have put his defiled pacis into his mouth.  Thus the lingering smell.  "At least it was his own poop.  If you're going to mouth human waste,  best-case scenario is that it's your own.  Good call, Spencer," you think to yourself.

You're quickly and loudly hearkened back into reality because your child still thinks it's somehow in his best interest to act as if he hates baths [the same child who cannot get enough of you chasing him around the backyard with a water hose spraying him in the face], so as your mind begins searching its database for the "easiest" ways to deal with the little treat awaiting you in the nursery, your child screams and cries providing you with the perfect test as to whether you have the ability to simultaneously hold him in the bath tub and devise a hazmat disposal action-plan.  You realize that you cannot think and bathe him at the same time.

The rest is really not worth recounting.  I'm sure you can imagine what has to be done.  An hour later, your squeaky clean (on the outside) toddler is finally asleep in his crib, having only lodged his leg between the slats two additional times since nap time take two.  And to think you could have just turned the thermostat down a couple more degrees and made peace with washing a few extra pairs of shorts.  So much for getting through the day with only one pair of dirty clothes per person.


Dear Spencer, it's the little things...

that I want to remember about you.

We brought your castle slide inside.  It's been hot outside, and sunscreen really irritates your face, so I asked you if you wanted me to get your slide.  You answered with your token, "'Kay."  I dragged it inside while you stared at me.  I told you that I was taking it into the living room, and you ran in there to wait on me.  I so enjoy feeling as if we communicate.  You've played on that slide more in the past week that you have in the 9 months that it's been in your backyard.  Probably because we put it in front of the television.  Now at least you're getting exercise while you watch your movies.

Many of your toys are just taking up space in your closet.  I'm tempted to get rid of all of them and start over, but my more practical, thrifty side would never let me do that.  I still attempted to sort through some of them, and while I did it, I would hold each toy up and ask if you liked it anymore.  Every time I did this you adamantly replied, "Nah!" ["No!"] and shook your head as hard as you could.  I think you totally understood what I was saying.

I have been putting you in your crib for time-outs.  It's only happened four times, but it's changing my life.  It's a good fit for my personality because I automatically have a game plan when you disregard what I say.  I don't have to stand there and think about what I'm going to say or how many times I'm going to tell you to stop or whether or not I'm going to "fight this battle" with stronger "discipline."  I just say "No."  And if you ignore me, I just pick you up and say, "We don't 'X.'  You're going to your crib for a time out."  I don't get angry or frustrated or flustered.  I put your in your crib and walk out of the room.  Your longest time-out has yet to exceed 35 seconds, and each time I've gotten you out you have not repeated the offense (at least not immediately).  I feel so secure in these new boundaries.  I'm sure you will too.  =)

One day last week around 11:15 or so you climbed up in your high chair and wanted to eat lunch.  This is not normal, and i embraced it whole-heartedly.  You fed yourself yogurt and ate chinese beef and broccoli.  You said "yum" and talked all about it.  Many days don't go this way, and it's so much fun when it feels like some of what we strive for (eating, speaking, not throwing every piece of food handed to you across the dining room) is getting though to your little mind.  

Today, like many days lately, you didn't want me to rock you before your nap.  A few nights ago you fussed and cried until I just laid you in your bed and then you stopped immediately as I told you goodnight and covered you up.  Clearly it's not you who's keeping the "rocking before bedtime" dream alive.  I'm committed to letting you phase it out.  If only you'd give up the pacifier while we're at it.

One morning this week after I changed your diaper, you pulled me down and pressed my face up against yours, holding my face down beside you as tightly as you could, insisting that I lay there next to you as you watched your morning dose of PBS Kids.  You were holding me down in a really awkward position, but I just soaked it up.  You're such a sweet little boy.  Usually not a day goes by that I'm not completely amazed at the blessing we've been given in you.  

When we went to get my allergy shot this week, we had quite a lively visit.  You are so comfortable there, that you want us to walk straight into the shot room, so I have been trying to teach you that we wait our turn until they call my name.  As soon as we go back you start pointing at the dum dums and asking for one.  If I'm not in the mood to have you covered in sucker drool, I just pick out a flavor that I know you won't like, for example: root beer or bubble gum.  It's really funny to watch you taste it and then shiver.  After that you dance around on all the chairs and built-in benches.  You did some twirling and only had a few near death encounters, and for the first time you didn't want to leave.  I basically had to carry you out of the office crying, which causes people to stare, by the way.  Thanks for that.   We then headed straight for the post office, where you were awarded another--you guessed it--dum dum.  The clerk was very nice, and I felt bad for him when you didn't act very enthusiastic about the sucker.

We've had quite a few interactions today where you have tried to say a new word!  Horray!  Just when I feel like giving up.  You also said "thank you" to the man who gave you a sucker at the post office.  After the post office, I really pressed my luck and took you to the grocery store.  We had a few not-so-great moments, but on the whole you did great.  You ate blueberries and a cereal bar in the basket and danced around (literally), while trying to open every package of food.  Anything at all "delicate" has to be put on the bottom of the grocery cart.  The person who checked us out did not seem to appreciate my logic in putting so many small things down there.

When we finally got home, you ran to your beloved black rectangle in the living room, saying "Mmm Mmm Mmm," until I turned on Dora.  It started in the middle of an episode that I didn't think you liked very much, so I skipped it and you went ballistic.  I quickly got back to the spot where it had originally started, and you were back at ease.  You then promptly looked up at me, waved, and say "bye bye."  As if to tell me that my work here is done and you'd like to be alone with your media.  I'm not complaining.  I unloaded and put away the groceries in peace.