I have no experience with children, but how hard could it be? I’m sharing some essays highlighting things most parents won’t admit to themselves let alone other people. Children are little assholes. Sure they’re cute and they have their adorable moments, but we all know that somewhere deep inside you also kind of loathe them.
It’s a humor column about the ups and downs of raising two toddlers, being a teacher, and what it means to have children in my life.
I was four years old and I can remember the conversation I had with my mother like it was yesterday. It was shortly before my younger sister Mel was born and we’d been talking about names.
Me: Why did you name me Miranda? (I remember spitting the name out like poison)
Mom: Well Miranda, we were going to name you Ariel but we couldn’t think of a middle name that went with it.
Me: WHAT!!!!??? Why didn’t you name me Ariel?! That’s a way better name mom!! You could have called me Ariel Mermaid duh!
My mother to this day won’t let me live it down. To be completely fair, I would demand to watch The Little Mermaid at least four or five times a day. I actually wore a copy of the VHS tape out, split red cool-aid on another and in fear of a little broken heart my mother went out and bought extras.
Fast forward 26 years.
Luke: I’m Ariel Mermaid! I’m Ariel Mermaid! She’s sooo cute!
Grandma: You’re sure you don’t want to be King Triton or Prince Eric?
Luke: Nope, I’m Ariel Mermaid.
I’m pretty sure that Karma has hit me square on the back. Luke and Leia, Luke in particular, love The Little Mermaid. I foolishly put it on in a nostalgic moment of weakness, thinking that they might sit through 20 minutes of it so that I could drink a cup of coffee in peace. Now they demand to watch it at every free moment. If given the opportunity I believe they would would put it on permanent repeat.
The other day Leia wouldn’t take a nap. Most of the time she reads to herself and eventually passes out. But this particular day she was not laying down. I’m in the next room when I hear what sounds like 2 year old opera. This isn’t so surprising as Leia developed an instant love for Andrea Bocelli when I played her a video. I walked into her bedroom and she has both arms draped over the sides of the crib, chest out, head back and she was singing the Ahhh Ahhh Ahhh moment when Ursala bargains for Ariel’s voice. I wish that I’d walked in with my phone on record.
I’ve recently learned how to add the Disney app to their tablets (yea, we can argue that out later.) so they can watch The Little Mermaid without forcing me to partake for the twelfth billion time. Oh how I’m sure my mother would have killed for such a devise in the 80s.
I’m not sure what induces dreams, I won’t pretend to be an expert about it. What I can tell you is that I’ve always been an ardent dreamer, both awake and asleep. Lately though, Luke and Leia have been feeding into them more then I’d care to admit. They’ve been morphing my usual pirate ship adventure and kinky deserted island dreams into something much more family friendly.
Last week I had a dream where I was standing in a field of bulldog puppies. The grass was a vibrant acid green as far as my eyes could see and the sky was painted the purple and pinks of a northwest sunset. Who doesn’t love running in a field of puppies while clearly in some Wonderland adjacent realm?! I decided that I would keep one when the owner of said puppies, offered me the litter (of more then 100). I couldn’t responsibly take them all but one wouldn’t hurt. The next thing I know my bulldog pup is talking to me. In fact, I’ve named him and we have full conversations. This doesn’t weird me out of course, it’s a dream and anything less then a talking dog would be a disappointment. However, when the dream shifts and I’m spending the rest of my night potty training this pup to use the toilet I have to draw a line.
My adventures last night started pretty normal, I was dancing on the cliffs of the Grand Canyon with my dream-life boyfriend. We tangoed, we cha-cha’d, and we waltzed until my phone rang. Weird, my phone never rings in my dreams. In fact, I specifically leave that in the real world as they are far less useful in dreamland. I answer though, because clearly it would be rude if someone went so far as to try and call me while I was cliff dancing and I ignored them.
“Hello?” I ask.
“Miranda! Luke needs you, you have to come back to the house with haste.” (because who doesn’t talk like that in dreams?) said the voice on the phone.
Needless to say, I left my lover and the next thing I know I’m at the house with Luke and Leia.
“Auntie Emmm!!!” I hear Luke call from the bathroom.
As I make my way around the twisting hallways and winding house (because as we all know houses grow considerably in size in dreamland) I eventually find myself in the bathroom with Luke. He has his back too me, and his pants are down as though he’s going to sit on the toilet. He stands a mere three feet from the toilet and starts to squat to take a shit.
“Luke!!! Hurry, hurry, hurry!! Get on the toilet!” I yell at him hoping he’ll stop. Except he doesn’t, instead he reaches around his bottom and poops into his hand. He stands up saying “I did it Auntie! I went poo-poo in my hand!” He promptly stands up and proceeds to smear feces all over the bathroom as I watch in horror unable to move or do anything about it.
Is anyone out there a dream expert? I’m being haunted at night by monsters!
Chloe, our Great Dane, likes to play keep away. She doesn’t fetch, but she’ll happily keep a ball away from you for hours, running away from anyone who tries to take it. So a couple of weeks ago, Luke is outside playing in the last of the summer’s heat. I’m folding laundry and I can hear him outside running with Chloe.
“I got it! I got it! I got it!” Luke yells. I assume at this point that he’s talking about Chloe’s ball or some toy she’s tried to lay claim too.
I turn to look at the sudden noise and find that Luke has smashed himself against the screen door. “Auntie I got it! I got it!” He is beaming with pride clear as day in his voice. He opens the screen door and only now do I realize he’s got something in his hand but it’s not the ball I was expecting.
This happens quite quickly for the record but my mind nor words are nearly as fast.
At first I think to myself That’s so weird… Who bought the kids a toy rat? Than it occurs to me that no one would buy them a toy rat, because (in my opinion) rats are gross. I think briefly maybe my sister (who they call ‘Uncle Moe’, the brother I never had) did, as she has quite a different opinion about what the definition of gross is.
Luke steps into the house swinging a rat by the tail as he runs to me on repeat, “I did it! I did it! I did it!”
Only when he is three feet from me do I realize that what he is holding isn’t some squeak toy. Oh no, he’s got a dead rat in his hands. I squealed at first out of surprise. “Let it go! Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!”
Luke is literally stunned into dropping the rat, his eyes have grown double in size and he’s not sure why I’m yelling about his accomplishment: getting the dead rat away from Chloe.
Than my pathetic stomach reminds me that a dead rat is vomit worthy. I proceed to not only prevent Luke from touching anything, so that I can get him cleaned up and germ free, but also keep my breakfast from resurfacing.
Damn kids are pushing my comfort boundaries both day and night. Because oh yea, that last one wasn’t a dream.
My first novel deals with aliens and time travel. Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But Miranda, how does that relate to toddlers?”
Oh my fine friend let me tell you all about it. So I was telling someone a bit about the aliens in my novel over the weekend. That is, in-between cleaning up toddler piss. Let me explain…
Luke is three and a lazy boy who tells me daily “No auntie, I don’t want panties. I wear diaper.” Leia on the other hand is two and will pull her diaper off at nap time, piss all over the bedding, stuffed animals, and books because “I don’t want diaper, I wear panties.”
Needless to say, this weekend was spent working on potty training. Hell I tell you! Hell!!! Leia went through six pairs of panties before we got the timing just right and she peed in the toilet. The trickling noise scared her into stopping mid stream; either that or it was my sudden burst of cheer and clapping. This of course assured one more accident before the day was through.
I found myself at one point wondering what life on other planets is like. Do they spend hours, days, weeks potty training their young, walking behind them cleaning the piss out of carpet? Or do they know how to use the seashells? How primitive I feel in this moment.
I feel this weird need to give my appreciation to every parent who has potty trained in the past, what a feat you have accomplished. Seriously take a moment and buy yourself something pretty because dude, that shit (pun intended) is no joke! But let’s be honest for a moment. Did it take you a week? Two? Three? I don’t care who you are, if you tell me that you potty trained your kid in three days I know your lying. And to those of you who would be so cruel as to tell me that you managed it in one, we both know you’re just trying to see if I’m gullible. I’m not!!! Oh you’re still standing your ground? Than come to my house, I have two little assholes that could use your expert assistance.
I wrote these episodes little bit ago about my niece and nephew. I wanted to share them here in their full beauty. With the hectic scheduled, I’ve not posted in a while, but these original three are sort of wonderful in their own right. I’ll post one a day for the next couple of days. I’ve considered moving future posts to this page so bare with me as I see if it seems to fit. Without further adieu, may I present a little child humor…
“Emmmmm!!!!!!” Screams Leia at the top of her lungs. God forbid she walks out of the hall and into the dinning room to ask for help, no. She stands and screams my name while looking up at her jacket six inches too high for her to reach. I have no doubt that this is “normal” for children. They are the center of their own world after all and probably don’t think much of anyone one else’s eardrums.
“Yes Leia? Can I help you please?” I say after sauntering to her side. No one gets to demand anything from me. I don’t care if you’re two years old or two hundred. Ask politely! How hard is it?
Leia smiles up at me with snot dripping down her face and points to the hat. “Auntie Emm hat.” I’ve been working on teaching her sign language because I read somewhere that children under ‘full sentence conversational age’ pick it up quite quickly. Then instead of staring at puppy dog eyes while pulling hair out wondering what the hell the kid wants, they tell you. Leia made the please sign for me so I grabbed the hat and handed it off to her.
Two months ago I spent my entire day working on my novel, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and sometimes getting dressed to do the aforementioned at a coffee shop instead of in my PJ’s at home. Usually when I’ve run out of said coffee. Okay only when I run out of said coffee.
But then the world came crashing down, while not quite so abruptly it still happened. My youngest sister doesn’t make good choices. She was living with a convicted felon who was arrested multiple times for reckless endangerment of his own daughter, not to mention a little birdy told us he was being watched by the local PD for selling drugs. Oh and did I mention he has obvious meth mouth? Also, if that wasn’t enough to make you shiver: she’s sleeping with a registered sex offender behind the first guys back! There are some more details to the story but for now this is enough to paint a pretty, pretty picture in all of your lovely minds.
My parents and I had a little pow wow about the situation. We all agreed that we couldn’t in good conscious let the children stay in that environment. Long story short, two judges agreed. So now my single ass, lives with her parents (at thirty no less) to help mold two young minds (I hope you caught the sarcasm there).
Leia is not quite two years old. I’m sure some good parent would spit out some magic number here like “Leia is 23 months old.” Actually she’s damn near two so knock it off. Luke on the other hand is three and some change, a strapping young lad. The two of them share everything. Including boogers. And they didn’t come gift wrapped with a bow.
Can I take a moment and say that jumping into a parental roll without any sort of build up to it fucking sucks. I love them – and don’t ever think I’m doing this with a gun to my head. I know where the door is and I know how to use it. It doesn’t change the fact that, truth be told being a parent is hard and children are little assholes.
Luke gets put on timeout a lot. A LOT – A LOT. His latest game has been telling his sister to do things he’s just been told not to.
“Luke, stop sitting on the cat. Get off of him, he doesn’t like it,” I say.
“He doesn’t like it?” Luke replies with an ear-to-ear grin, still remaining on the cat.
“Do you want me to sit on you like that? Get off! I promise you won’t like it, and neither does he.” I attempt a firmer voice. I walk over to him and he jumps up the moment I’m in arm’s reach.
“I love you auntie Emm,” he says with a grin I’ve grown to associate with being a monster.
“Come here Luke. Lets talk.” I figure if we can have a coherent conversation about what just happened then maybe he will understand and stop. Treat the kid like a human. None of this baby talk shit.
“Luke, we don’t sit on the cat. It’s not nice. It hurts him.” Small words, small sentences. I probably read that somewhere too.
“Don’t like it? Okay…” Luke says, in a soft remorseful voice. I’m sure with this reaction he gets it. 1 point Auntie Emm!
“Okay, I love you. Go play.”
I continue make their breakfast, because while they don’t ever seem to eat a lot at any given point, they are ALWAYS eating. It’s like feeding a heard of elephants all the time. Little mini elephants, that run and jump and want to eat everything in sight. And there own food isn’t good enough, they have to slobber all over mine. Germs are gross. Kid slobber is gross. While I’m bending to the ick factor, I’m not quite there just yet.
But wait. They’ve gotten quiet. Too quiet. Kids are never silent. I tiptoe to a closer position where they can’t see me, to listen.
“Leia sit on the cat. He likes it. Sit on the cat Leia,” says the oh so remorseful Luke.
What a little asshole. While I’ve never called him this, it’s like a chant playing in my mind over and over. What a little asshole.
Not only do I have to tell Leia not to listen to her big brother, which she does without question by the way, but now I have to put him on time-out for telling his sister to do what he’s just been told not to. What a little asshole!
Lets take a moment for some Q & A. I’ll ask a question to the wide void of the web and we’ll see what answers come back. Today I’d like to know what the fascination with shit is. Literal feces. It’s like if there was one pile of dog crap on a deserted island, Luke would find it and play with it.
We live on a farm, and among the collective barnyard animals are three dogs. While initially I’m sure I said something like “Don’t step in the dog shit Luke!” it has more commonly (and kid safe might I add) become, “Don’t step/play/look at/touch the stinky poo-poo.”
Aren’t Monday’s your favorite day? I was solidly ready to get some work done, and even have a baby sister on the way so that I could be productive at the increasingly elusive coffee shop. I was wearing my brand new pair of jeans and my hair wasn’t doing the stupid flippy thing it likes to do. The kids are outside playing in the back yard and I was doing the fifteen-minute count down until the sitter arrived.
“Auntie Emmmmm!!!!!” Luke yelled from outside.
It wasn’t his I’m hurt cry or his I’m stuck yell, that was his I’m going to do something I shouldn’t voice. I jumped up and went outside to see what he was going to do. It’s not like there much trouble he can get into in the back yard. Fully fenced, toys, oh and that deserted island dog shit.
“Luke, what’s up?” I asked from the patio. He’s pointing at the ground and smiling.
“It’s stinky poo-poo.” I wish I could capture his mischievous grin for you.
“Luke, leave the stinky poo-poo alone. Walk away.” I’m trying to give him my most warning voice.
“It’s stinky poo-poo auntie. Grandma clean it up?” He asks, still pointing at the pile of dog shit.
I’ve slowly started to make my way to him. I would hate to startle him into stepping in it before his chance is gone. “Yes, grandma will clean it up. Leave the stinky poo-poo alone or you’ll have to sit on time-out. Do you want to sit on time-out?”
It was in this moment that he decided he was going to loose his opportunity. He looked up at me, smiled and stepped in the dog shit full force. God dammit you little asshole!!!
“Luke! Now you have to go on time out.” But before I could reach him, and before his shoes actually came off he bolted for the house. Oh shit… Remember that perfect Monday morning where I was all ready to go? It turned into twenty minutes of scrubbing dog shit off the floor and my mothers couch.
Children fucking suck sometimes. I know there is no way in hell I’m alone in my thoughts. At some point every parent in the world has to have thought to him or herself, in this moment I hate my child. He is such a little asshole.