Friday, June 4, 2010

Things my Two-Year-Old Taught Me: Part XI

We’ve been having a lot of “ansigents” lately.  And by “we”, I mean bug.  And by “a lot” I mean several hundred thousand hundred-thousand.  Sometimes, he’ll have a really good day with no ansigents at all, only to ruin the winning streak the next morning.  Sometimes, he tries really hard and we miss by mere seconds.  And sometimes it seems like he isn’t even trying at all.
I knew it would be difficult.  I procrastinated this period because I was afraid of it.  I was afraid that it would be hard for ME, not for HIM.  I knew it would require patience, acceptance, love, patience, persistence, consistence, praise, patience, and did I mention patience?
I try to be very understanding about ansigents.  I know that he doesn’t have them on purpose.  (Or does he?  Is this kid playing me?)  I clean him up, I wash his clothes, I kiss him and tell him, “It’s ok.  It’s no big deal, bug.  No biggie!”  But the truth is, sometimes it IS a biggie.  Sometimes it’s NOT ok.  Like when we are in the middle of Walmart and a steady stream runs down his legs and out his pants leg, puddling on the floor.  It’s NOT ok.  Or when we’re at church and his teacher brings him to me completely soaked from head to toe - and I really can’t be sure how he managed to have an ansigent all the way up his dress shirt so that even the tie around his neck is wet - and of course, I have no extra clothes for him because we were in a hurry to get to church on time.  That’s not ok.  OR when I am changing the smelly foulness for the UMPTEENTH time in a day and there’s just no clean underwear left in the ENTIRE HOUSE so what am I supposed to put him in?  Mine?  Sometimes I wonder if, when I tell him it’s no big deal, I’m trying to convince him or myself.
I can’t help but wonder why it’s so hard.  We do it every day.  I do it.  Daddy does it.  Everybody does it!  Why can’t he?  We have the same routine.  We keep a schedule.  We made up a special celebration dance and song.  We have a big basket of rewards that he loves.  Why - after all our efforts - is he still having “ansigents”?  Will he be 35 and still in diapers?
This week, when we went to the store, I had a foreboding feeling.  I should learn to listen to my instincts, because that day they told me to stay in bed.  I didn’t.  I got up, got us all ready to leave, drove to the store and began the marathon shopping trip.  I needed all manner of things from food (we had absolutely NOTHING to eat in the house - except a large tub of smart balance.  Oh, and catalina dressing.) to rakes (because we have never done any kind of yard work - besides mowing - our entire married life until THIS YEAR).  
I was smart this time.  I had it all figured out.  I allowed the kids to pick one toy each to take with them.  I gave them each SEPARATE snack cups with SEPARATE crackers.  I gave them each their own cups.  I strapped them to the seat in the cart and went merrily on my way - reveling in my cleverness.
It worked.  The whole time, there were no shouts, pleadings, kickings, screamings... the 2’s were angels.  Even I was surprised at the level of obedience and just plain NICENESS they were able to achieve.
Then I got in line for the checkout.
That was when I realized I didn’t have my wallet.  I would have to go home.  I looked at the sky high pile of items in my giant cart.  Oh, how I dreaded the thought of having to do my shopping all over again.  Once is hard enough.  I knew they’d probably frown on my taking a cart of unpaid for merchandise out to my car, but the idea of getting the kids out, buckling them into the car, going home, coming back, getting them out of the car, buckling them into the cart, shopping AGAIN, unbuckling them AGAIN and getting everything back into the car, was enough to exhaust me to tears.  There was absolutely no hope for the 2’s to be THIS angelic through the proceedings.
I pushed the cart to the service desk and sheepishly explained my predicament, asking if I could leave my cart there until I came back with a form of payment.  They were ok with that.
I got the kids out, high tailed it to the car, and got them settled.  Then I noticed my checkbook sitting politely in my console, waving and smiling, as if to say, “I knew you’d need my someday!”
I grabbed the checkbook, got the kids out again, ran back into the store (as well as you CAN run while hauling a huge clunky car seat and dragging two 2 yr olds behind), plopped them back into the cart and got into line again.  I paid with a check and was relishing the triumph of not having to go all the way home when the cashier brought me back to reality by informing me she needed my driver’s license.  
Seriously?  Leaving the cart by the register, I got the kids out once more and dragged everyone back to the car.  I buckled them in.  I turned the key.  I noticed my smiling face grinning up at me from the console - where I had placed my license the night before and then promptly put it from my mind.
Back into the store.  I got the items through the checkout one more time, and miraculously, despite a few whines and cries, the 2’s are doing ok.  Which was not only heaven sent, it was pretty much necessity by this point, as I was so frazzled and harried I wasn’t sure I’d make it out alive.
I did.
As I drove home, I fumed at myself for the fiasco.  It was no one’s fault but my own.  I was the one who had taken my wallet out of the diaper bag and forgotten to put it back.  I was the one who hadn’t thought to take both my checkbook AND my license into the store.  And what was even more irritating: this wasn’t the first time this had happened.  Just the other week I forgot the whole diaper bag at home.  At least once a month I throw my schedule into a tizzy with my forgetfulness.  You’d think I’d learn!
At home, I put the groceries away as the 2’s ate lunch.  That was when I discovered that I was missing several items.  
It appeared I’d left the store without one of my bags.
That was the final straw.  In undeniable mounting frustration, I let out a gargled, growling cry of annoyance.
bug looked up to see me, head in hands, muttering my aggravation to the countertops.
I heard a small voice, “It ok, Mommy.  It no big deal.  No biggie!”  He said in a reassuring voice.  How interesting that my son understands frustration at such a young age.  He’s experienced it, too.
I thought about it.  I smiled.  He was right.  In the grand scheme of things, it WAS ok.  Just like in the grand scheme of things, a few (thousand) wet pants are ok, too. 
Archer J. P.  Martin said that “much can often be learned by the repetition under different conditions, even if the desired result is not obtained.”  This is why we continue to try, even when we fail.  We learn by repetition.
I have accidents, just like bug does.  The only difference is that mine don’t involve the potty.  Mine involve running out of gas right in the middle of a busy intersection when I’m 8 months pregnant, locking myself out of the house, forgetting my wallet, or sliding off the road into a ditch during icy weather.  
Oh, and he will eventually outgrow his “ansigents,” while I - try as I might to learn from mine - will probably still be just as forgetful my whole life long. 

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