The toddler tantrum can come at any moment. Your day (or night) can go from Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy to Holy-F***ing-Sh**-Balls in less than 2 seconds. And that is exactly how it went down in my house last night.
It was just a simple bath. 2 toddlers, 1 bath, 7pm. This is how we do it. Water is good. Soap bubbles are fun. Routine helps the active child. Until it doesn’t. And then you enlist the trickery. Glow Sticks. Water Paints. Bath Color Tablets. Last night it was the latter.
“If you get into the bathtub you can pick a color and make the water change to blue or purple or red. Your choice, but you have to get into the bathtub first.”
My youngest totally took the bait; he shed his clothes (with some help) and climbed in as fast as possible. My older guy was on to me. He knew that this water-color-changing-thing was maybe cool but not nearly as cool as running naked back and forth between the bathroom and the bedroom, taunting me with his new found 3 1/2 year old contrariness.
“I don’t want to take a bath, mommy. I will never take a bath. Never-ever-ever!”
“OK sweetie, but then you don’t get to make the water change colors. It’s your choice.”
I’m working on the whole “It’s your choice” thing. I get it. It makes sense, it does, But I hope it doesn’t mess him up later in life when he realizes that he doesn’t always get a choice. But that’s for an entirely different post. Let’s continue.
The “I will never take a bath – well it’s your choice” dialogue went on for about 5 minutes; my youngest splashing away happily in his purple magic water. At some point during our enlightened conversation, I noticed that my 3 1/2 year old was playing with his penis. This is normal. He’s a young boy. Exploring his parts. And stretching them! He was wrapping his penis around his finger like it was a Twizzler. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it but I was afraid he might be hurting it. I don’t know. I don’t have one. Does that hurt a penis? He kept twisting it and screaming in my face.
I very gently said, “Sweetheart, please be careful with your penis.”
He screamed back, “I will not be careful with my penis.”
I whispered, “OK, it’s your choice (arrgggg) but don’t break your penis.”
“I will break your vagina!”
WHAT? Wait, what did he just say?
“I will break your vagina mommy.”
“YOU ALREADY DID MISTER”… that’s what I wanted to say to him, but I refrained and instead I just burst out laughing. He wasn’t sure what to do. His little toddler face went from mad to happy to confused and then back again. His lips were somewhere between a smile and a snarl when I simply repeated him.
“You’re going to break my vagina?”
“Yes, I’m going to break your vagina. And if you try to stop me I will bite you.”
I stuck my arm out and asked that he please bite me instead of breaking my vagina. Giving him a choice, see. He thought about it for a minute and then he simply climbed into the bathtub as if nothing had ever happened.
The rest of the night was the Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy kind of night; but I did sleep with my light on.