After a series of notes from school and conversations with his teacher as well as constantly refereeing fights between him and his brother I was becoming unglued. I was exhausted and more frustrated than I can ever remember being with this kid. So, when I walked into the living room just as he was about to execute a near kamikaze stunt involving the firepace hearth, the couch, and a number of blankets and pillows I knew I had a choice to make. I could lock him in the garage, tie him to a chair, or run away from home.
Realizing that none of those were really viable options, I stuck the kid in the bath tub and gave myself a time out. As I stood outside the bathroom door, I listened to him play and sing in the tub. He was everything sweet and calm and adorable, as he soaked in the bubbles. When he was sufficiently wrinkled, I pulled him out of the tub, toweled him off and sent him to his room to get jammied. Maybe all he needed was a little alone time to soak and relax, I told myself, pleased with the new, calm Grouch.
I hadn't even finished draining the tub and putting the bath toys away before I heard Stinker yelling, followed by Grouch's cackles, coming from the hallway. Oh good grief! I diffused the situation and quickly whisked Grouch off to bed, his day was done, even if he wasn't! As I tucked him into bed, he wrapped his little arms around me and apologized for being a handful. I nuzzled into his freshly washed neck and sighed.
Dear God, help me with this kid! I prayed silently and as if he heard me, Grouch pulled back, placed his little hands on my cheeks and looked me straight in the eye and said, "Its okay mommy. I'll grow up tomorrow. And when I'm big, I won't make you crazy. I'll be just like Dad, everything will be fine."
I kissed his forehead, told him I loved him and left the room. Just like Dad, eh? Not sure whether that made me feel better or worse in the moment, to tell you the truth!
I returned to my room and thought about all that Mr. Grouchy Pants is and how much he is already like his dad. Although he climbs and jumps and runs through life like a loon, he is also funny, witty, smart, caring and noble. He has a huge heart, loves fiercely and usually has the best of intentions. He is supremely confident, independant and courageous. He is everything that is good and sweet ... he is already just like his dad, and that's not so bad, after all.