On Parenting The Male Variety.

“That bad smell you’re sniffin’ is my feet.”

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Because that’s what a little boy tells his sister, who is across the room, when she happens to have the sniffles.

He was sitting in my lap, though, so I should know – he wasn’t wrong.

His shoes have smelled so dead-rotted-carcass lately that one night I was in the living room after his bedtime, and I put all the throw blankets in the laundry room to wash and had sniffed every pillow on the couch before I realized that his shoes were hiding under said couch.

It’s like he plants little surprise gifts for me to gleefully discover while he sleeps.

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But he’s not just a rancid smell.

He’s also a confidently panicking backseat driver.

He can see my gas gauge. And notices when it turns from blue to orange. And freaks. The crap. Out.

“Mommy please can you get gas right now? There’s a gas station! STOOOOOOOOP!!!”

And then there are his veiled suggestions.

“Mommy I’d just like to let you know that the Waffle House is nearby.”

Never gonna happen, kid.

But his latest craze in over-stepping his job description is being a hands-on-the-wheel hawk. I really had no idea how often I took both hands off the wheel (usually when moving half a mile an hour or less) until Noah decided that freaking out about it was his new mission in life.

The first time it happened, I thought it would be fun to egg on this annoying little quirk in my son, so I began singing and holding my arms in the air like I just didn’t care.

I mean. What’s the point of having a new car with perfect alignment if not to drive without my hands on the wheel?

This did not help my life.

It did, however, ramp up his constant state of car anxiety by a gigapanic. He could see every microsecond that took place while I switched between driving with my right hand and my left hand and he would start screaming and/or crying. Because nothing makes a Mommy a better driver than a needlessly wailing five-year-old.

As I was driving out of the Chick-Fil-A drive-through (at a quarter mile an hour) and handing the children their bags of food, he began crying and yelling “Don’t drive right now!!! PLEAAAAAAASE!!!”

After the fifteenth time of telling him to never mention that my hands weren’t on the steering wheel again, he adopted the habit of simply growling quietly.

Your Life Skills Underwhelm Me

His anxiety also bleeds over into his life ambitions…such as this conversation we had.

“When I grow up I want to shoot fireworks.”

“Okay buddy.”

“But I don’t know how to.”

“You can read on the internet how to do it.”

“But I don’t know how to read.”

“You will when you’re grown up.”

“But where IS the internet?”

“You know what I’ll just teach you how to shoot fireworks.”

“Okay.”

And he has many questions about the future, too. Questions I do try to answer with the best of my abilities.

Noah: “Mom, what does voting really mean?”

[I explain the entire democratic system]

Noah: “Well, [Redacted toddler friend] says voting is showing our booty and that isn’t nice.”

…It doesn’t take much to imagine the conversation that particular friend overheard her dad having about voters showing their booty.

But Noah’s greatest talent, by far, is his ability to always plant his elbows firmly into my boobs.

Whether he’s in my lap and sitting up, or crawling into my lap, or I’m three rooms away and there’s no need for elbow-to-boob contact of any kind, he slays me. Literally. And it’s not like I haven’t told him every single time to never ever plant his elbows into my chest ever ever again, but apparently, elbows have no long-term memory.

Right now, because I’m still not allowed to lift him, his use of elbows to lift himself has become even more pronounced.

Which is how we reached the climax of our elbow/boob misunderstandings.

I was laying on my bed first thing in the morning, and he came in to cuddle with me/beg me for breakfast. Instead of going around to the other side of the bed like a NORMAL HUMAN, he decided to lift himself up and over me.

Instead of pushing on the bed with his palms to lift himself like a NORMAL HUMAN, he planted an elbow in each boob and lifted his entire 48 pound body with a double-elbow-to-boob deadlift as if he was going to use them to javelin over me.

(And they totally felt like javelins, lemme tell you.)

…Except that he didn’t seem to know how to transition from hanging from his elbows to climbing onto the bed, so he just hung there, looking at me expectantly.

In the eternal second during which my boobs were being ground into my spinal column, my thoughts went as follows,

“THE PAAAAAIN!!! Oh crap I can’t lift him over me I’m gonna die I’m gonna die right here whatdoIdo to get this kid and his pickaxe elbows OFF MY BOOBS RIGHT NOW!?!?!”

My survival instincts kicked in and completely eclipsed my nurturing mother instincts. Without processing what was happening, I grabbed his shoulders and in one move, shoved him off of the bed.

MOMMY. FAIL.

He landed a few feet away in a clump, and I looked down in horror at what I had just done (okay really I was just hoping that this finally taught him to respect the boobs.)

He started crying and climbed up onto the bed (this time with no boob contact) to be comforted, but not without giving me a shocked and accusatory look. After a full examination, I was able to determine that his feet got a bit rug-burned from the fall.

(But this rug-burned feet recovered way faster than my boobs, so there’s that.)

Since I know his Book of Blame has an extremely long-term memory and he’ll be saying “Hey Mom remember that time you threw me off the bed?” for the next fifteen years, we’ll see if that helps his elbows remember the lesson from the moment.

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…But if I had to bet on it, I’d say they did not.

Just Because It’s Friday…


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“Hey Mommy. Is my butt still clean?”

“You mean your bottom? Clean from what?”

“My bath last night.”

“I mean, probably…why?”

“Well, I’ve touched it twice today with my hand and haven’t washed it.” (Holding up a finger.)

“You touched your bottom with that finger?”

“Oh no I touched my butt with my whole hand. Both times.”

“Hmm. Well, I guess you could smell your bottom and see if it was clean…”

“Oh MY. I sure smelled it earlier in the bathroom when I pooped. It smelled TERRIBLE.”

“I see.”

“Oh – and I didn’t flush, either – since I stopped up the toilet the other day and Daddy told me not to flush that night. You should go see if I used too much toilet paper. So is my butt still clean?”

“You should probably go wash your hands. Just in case.”

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24 Hours with a Five Year Old.

The following happened between the hours of 8:30am December 21 and 8:30am December 22.

Monday.

8:30am: I threw clothes at him and told him to get dressed – we had to go to Physical Therapy. After a few mandatory whines about the unfairness of having to wear clothing, he disappeared into the bathroom.

The next time I saw him, he looked like this:

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I sent him back to the bathroom to turn all the things around. I could only assume his underwear was on backwards too because what are the chances.

9am: In the car, on the way to Physical Therapy…

“Is God wearing sandals right now? Because the last time he was here he got holes in his feet and they probably hurt.”

9:05am: still in the car…

“Hey Mommy whoever wants to go to heaven should touch a power line. Because that’s how they can die.”

Such a problem solver. But maybe not that great of an Evangelist…

9:30am: Arrived at Physical Therapy…

He pulled out 4 Sour Punch Kids from his pocket and ran them back to my Physical Therapist. (Because I’m nice, I had supplied him a Ziploc bag for that treat before we left the house…after he’d been carrying them around in his hands for a while.)

11:45am: In the drive-thru line at the bank…

We were behind a ridiculously slow person, and after realizing that the other lines had turned over four times, I backed up to get in another line while saying “Good grief what is this lady DOING!!??”

To which Noah added with a huff, “O…N…G!!!”

I asked him where he heard ONG.

“Oh, you know….TV shows. And a babysitter.”

I texted Chris our son’s newfound vocabulary.

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3pm: I noticed a BabyBel cheese sitting on the coffee table – one he’d offered me but I didn’t want.

“Hey buddy – go put that back in the fridge so it doesn’t go bad.”

He looked up, surprised, and said, “But I have the rest of the cheeses in my treasure box!”

“What??”

“In my box. See?”

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“When did you put them in there?”

“I don’t remember…a couple of hours ago….”

5:30pm: (After putting the BabyBels back in the fridge), he apparently decided that I needed an awesome hug. I was laying on my side on the couch trying to get my neck comfortable, and he got a running start and leapt at me, aiming directly for my neck.

In an effort to protect my rather damaged neck, I instinctively threw an elbow in front of myself (oops) which caught him in the cheek.

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We ended up both quite damaged in that exchange.

5:35pm, after recovering from taking an elbow…

He threw a large blanket on the coffee table, where there was a cup of water he’d insisted on bringing me.

Water everywhere, cleanup ensued.

6pm: I sent myself to my room until after the children were asleep…to “rest my neck.”

Tuesday.

8am: Noah came running in my room, where I was still in my pajamas but had my computer out and was doing a little work from bed before getting up.

“I’m cold I’m cold I’m cold I’m cold and YOU ARE SO HOT, Mommy. You’re the kind of hot that I like.”

I suggested he get in bed and cuddle with me while I finished my work. He went back to his room to retrieve his favorite blanket, then gleefully shoved himself into my armpit.

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“OOOOOOOH You are SO HOT, Mommy!!”

He dove under the covers to steal all my warmth, then peeked his head out and said,

“….I can see part of your bottom, Mommy.”

“Then you shouldn’t be looking at it!”

“But that part of you is so hot I can’t stop touching it!!”

“And why is your leg so GIANT?? I mean look at it – it goes from here to here. It’s so BIG!!!”

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Five is going to be a good year for him. I can tell.