Friday, February 22, 2008

torture of the 3-year-old kind

"You happy now, mommy?" Donovan chirped at me, from across the table. I think my scowl said it all. If Guntanamo Bay was smart (can the Bay be smart?), they'd recruit 3 year olds to dole out torture. It would be a good move because a) they way they'd inflict mental torture for hours straight and then, on a dime, change their tune to, "I love you! You happy?" would be far more serious than physical; b) when the general public got wind of what was going on, their horror would quickly be forgotten by smiling faces who know how to manipulate you with a single phrase. Such as, "You're a princess, mommy!"

I think Donovan has a problem with refined sugar. He's like an addict. "Just ONE candy mommy?" You just had one. "But just ONE more??" No. Begin weeping/wailing/gnashing of teeth.

I think Donovan has a problem with stubbornness. "Can I bring my bat in the car to be Wah-din Hood?" No. We don't hold bats in the car (I don't need to tell HIM that one very important reason is because it will, inevitably, become a poking/skewering stick at some point). "Pweeeeeeeeez, Mommy. But I WAH-DIN HOOOOOOOOOD!" I'm sorry, Donovan, I said no. Begin weeping/wailing/gnashing of teeth.

I think Donovan has a problem with hitting people. "Can I have a hanger/broom/flashlight/papertowel roll/longsharpobject to pway with? I won't hit anyone." See, he adds that last part because I used to give him said object and say, 'Don't hit anyone!' Except. He always does. Eventually. Or he plays the stupid kid-game of holding it about a half-inch from Ainsleigh's eye and when she gets mad and pushes it away, he then hits her with it. Or runs around poking her in the back with it. In any case, no more poking objects. Begin weeping/wailing/gnashing of teeth.

I think Donovan has a problem with mimicry. Perhaps this one is more my problem. Recently it has become more difficult for me to bend over and get stuff. It's not that I can't, it's that I don't WANT to. It makes my pants tighten around my abdomen which may or may not set off a mini-contraction, or at the least squeeze my thimble-sized bladder. So a couple days ago I was asking Donovan if he could please pick up his socks and he was sitting on the stairs whining that they were too far away. "Dono - get up and get your socks. They're RIGHT.THERE." Oh, he moans. He can't. Donovan, PLEASE help me with this. "But Mom-MEEEEEEEEE. I CAN'T. My beh-wee iss too BIG." Touche! That would have worked when you were 6 months old. But not today. Perhaps some weeping/wailing/gnashing of teeth ensued - I couldn't tell you from whom.

I think Donovan has a problem with making up his mind. "I don't want a bwaynket!" Fine. I start to walk out. "I WANT A BWAYNKET!" Okaaaay, here's your blanket. "NO! I too hot!" or "I go sweep by mysewf." Ok, goodnight! "I WANT YOU WOCK MEEEEEE!" No, you chose to go to bed. "NOOOOOOO!" Fine, I'll rock you. Twelve seconds later..."I go sweep by mysewf." OR "I want my soo-tuh tahw." Ok, I make his scooter tall. "No, I want it TINY." Ok, I shrink it down. Boy proceeds to throw scooter down and whine that he wants it tall. Repeat this scenario about 7 times until I tell my neighbor I'm going to throw him out the window. Which would require me to take him INSIDE and then throw him out. It's the PRINCIPLE.

And so all of these "problems," now added together, bring me to the remarkable conclusion that Donovan has a problem with turning 3. Or, rather, the problem is that he IS TURNING THREE. *interject dramatic eye-rolling, back-of-hand to forehead, mini-swoon here* Because when the weeping/wailing/gnashing of teeth begins, it doesn't stop for a good 45 minutes. I try to go on with my day - to work on my taxes or clean up the kitchen or fold laundry. But after a while, this alternative form of chinese water torture with someone screaming "GO AWAY MOMMY!" at me and then chasing me down and saying, "I WANT YOOOOOOOU MOMMY!" and then reverting back to that first one over and over, is just a downer. Or perhaps he's screaming that he wants a snack. Or his poking stick. Or to do whatever. I put him in time out and he screams that I need a time out. Don't think I haven't tried - I locked myself in my room a couple days ago. Do you think that went over well? Of course not. But with him kicking and screaming on the other side, my back pressed against the door, tears streaming down my cheeks, I fished my cell phone out of my pocket and called Joel at work and desperately asked if he would be working late that day. He could hear the mayhem coming through the door and said he would leave soon. Of course, this still leaves a good hour or so before he'll walk in the door.

At this point, I wipe my cheeks, empty my thimble, and go downstairs to give the kids eggs and toast for dinner. Donovan's screeching has subsided. I'm exhausted. So I do what I can only do at this point - start zesting limes to make a frozen key lime pie (call it culinary therapy). Ainsleigh delights in her good fortune of getting mashed eggs for dinner. Donovan starts to sing one of his made-up songs. Soon he declares, 'I happy Mommy! You happy?!' Are you freaking kidding me? I can't even bring myself to answer him. He continues to pepper me with questions and affirmations of love. I continue to make a crust, measure lime juice and separate eggs. Joel walks in the door later and sees the mess I'm creating. Donovan asks him what I'm doing. Joel takes him away and says, "Mommy is having a therapy session." As long as my hands are busy, they can't strangle him.