He went to the dentist for the first time ever and was a model patient. He was quiet and obedient and his only move in the chair was reaching for my hand to hold it while the hygienist cleaned his teeth with the chocolate toothpaste he kept trying to eat. He was rewarded with a Spider-Man sticker (to go on his Spider-Man t-shirt) and a Green Lantern ring.
Then we went to the shoe store and he picked out Batman sneakers because he’s been longing for superhero shoes. He also got Avengers crocs (do you sense a theme?). He was perfectly behaved.
We went home so I could eat a late lunch and he played Legos until we went to the playground he requested. He had a fabulous time and climbed up every ladder and slid down every slide again and again.
Then we took Zoe to martial arts class and he was relatively content, coloring and chatting until class was over and he seized the opportunity to grab a light saber (a piece of foam pool noodle they use to practice defensive moves with) and run in circles brandishing it, which is a fully sanctioned activity once classes have ended.
Until suddenly he wasn’t fine at all, and all the other kids except mine had gone home and he didn’t want to relinquish his weapon and he didn’t want to leave and the tantrum began and I had to gather our things and scoop him up and walk to the car, hoping he wouldn’t escape from my grasp in the parking lot and hurl himself onto the asphalt. I had to leave my water bottle and his sippy cup on the ledge outside the studio because I needed to secure my grip on him and I hoped Zoe would see them there as she followed us to the car and bring them. She did.
I forced him into his car seat while he screamed and I flung his Batman shoes into the back of the car. Not the most mature thing to do, but it kept me from futilely screaming back at him.
All the way home he screamed and yelled, shouting ow ow ow as if he were being tortured. I turned the music up to an uncomfortably loud volume to drown him out.
At home I let Zoe out to go inside and Zeke and I sat in the parked car in front of our house while he screamed. I could tell he was getting hoarse and losing steam. Abruptly, he stopped crying and said, “I’m calm now.”
And he was, briefly, until we went insid and discussed bathing. And then he wasn’t, but he did settle down to happily eat dinner and eventually consented to the bath after a brief standoff that was at least quiet. And after the bath I held him and rocked him until it was past time for him to put on his diaper and pajamas. Another fight commenced and after I struggled to diaper him, he took off the diaper and stood there defiantly and said he didn’t like it. I explained that once he started using the potty all the time and wearing underwear he could wear it to bed and not have to wear a diaper. “Oh!” He said, as if this were a perfectly reasonable revelation. Then I said, “let’s wear underwear to school tomorrow,” and he said, “nope!” But I pressed on. “You can wear your Green Lantern underwear!” He agreed. Who knows what his thinking will be about underwear in the morning.
Unsurprisingly I fell asleep while putting him to bed and after I woke up all I could do was stumble into our bedroom and fall into our bed, unable to venture downstairs and face the dishes or read a book or talk with my husband, all of which I had been planning to do. I fell asleep wearing my glasses, without brushing my teeth or taking my pills. And then I woke up to the sound of Zoe moaning in her sleep. Fortunately she had quieted by the time I used the bathroom and retrieved a glass of water. And now I am awake, listening to Randy breathe beside me and waiting for Zeke to wander in and climb up into our bed, which is what often happens at this time of night.
And here he is.