It’s a dark and stormy afternoon. Ok, no. It’s sunny and 75 degrees with a refreshing breeze from the north-east. But my mood? That is dark and stormy. And it was nap time that did me in.
Zoey was watching “Thomas the Train” while I did some cleaning (Me? Cleaning? It’s totally true, I swear). It had been well established that when “Thomas” was over we would transition into nap time by doing our usual routine: sitting on the potty (Zoey) and then reading stories (me). Tikka (our new cat) was sleeping on the couch. While I was mopping the floor Zoey went over and poked the sleeping cat. Zoey knows this is not allowed. She also knows this is not smart as 5 of the cat’s 6 ends are pointy; Zoey has, in fact, experienced this first hand.
“Don’t touch the cat while she’s sleeping,” I said sternly but kindly.
Zoey looked at me and poked the cat.
“Do. Not. Touch. The. Cat,” I said again, with considerably less kindness.
Zoey looked at me and poked the cat.
“Zoey, she’s going to scratch you. Don’t bother her while she’s sleeping.”
Zoey looked at me and (say it with me . . .) POKED THE CAT.
“Time out” I said and pointed to the stairs. Zoey shuffled to the stairs and sat. After her 3 minutes were up I said, “Ok, you’re all done. Sit on the potty and then we can go upstairs and read some of the new books we got from the library. ” I really did use my patient mommy let-bygones-be-bygones voice.
Zoey gave me the laser-beam-hate-stare, put her both hands up in the stop position and yelled, “NO! I WON’T!” Then she began to stomp up the stairs. Half way up she turned and yelled, “I won’t because I don’t like you. Get it, Mommy? Get it?” Then she stomped into her room and “slammed” the door. Her door doesn’t slam very effectively — it sort of sticks and doesn’t make any sort of angry noise. It just kind of goes wooosh. I heard Zoey woosh her door several times and then mutter, “Door. Won’t. Work. ARGH!” I sat alone in my living room, stuck out my tongue, and thought, Suck it, Child Who Can’t Slam Her Door. No stories for you. I am not coming up.
Then I spied on my daughter with the video monitor. She took the plastic vase (filled with water) and flower that Demetri gave her last night off her bedside table. She tucked her feet under the sheet and smelled her flower with a huge grin on her face. Then she pulled the flower out of the vase and began twirling it around. Huh, I thought, No so bad. Zoey began sucking on the flower stem. Then nibbling. “Crunchy,” she commented. I quickly googled gerber daisies and found them to be non-toxic. Eat all ya want, kid. I am so not coming up there.
I went about reading my book and settled in on the couch for my nap. I checked the monitor one more time. Zoey was standing up in the middle of her bed holding the vase. I watched as she slowly poured all the water out onto her bed; There was enough water that it made a good sized puddle. She began to jump. I could hear the squishing without the aid of the monitor. Jump. Squish. Jump. Squish. Next she jumped and landed on her butt in the puddle. Jump. Splat. Jump. Splat. I sat, frozen on the couch in horror, unable to look away from the tiny monitor screen.
Then, mid jump. Zoey saw me. I swear that she had some spawn of satan power and looked through the monitor and saw me. She landed with one more splat, stood up, and peered directly into the camera. Zoey pressed her mouth against the monitor and began chanting, “Josssss-lynnnnn. Jossssss-Lynnn” And she did it in a super creepy frog voice. Unfortunately, I recently saw “Black Swan” and began to worry about my child being some kind of schizophrenic psycho dancer. But then I thought, Well, at least she won’t be a republican. Probably. Zoey continued to chant my name into the monitor at the rate of 6 times per minute. Yes, I timed it. It’s not like I could focus on anything else.
Eventually she got bored and began throwing books against her closet door. The board books made a particularly satisfying bang. She has a lot of books so I knew I had some time. I began scrolling through my phone contacts wondering who I could call to get some FREAKING ADVICE because this situation didn’t seem to be covered in any of the parenting books I had read. I consider this to be a HUGE KNOWLEDGE GAP of all who have ever called themselves “parenting experts”. Where the hell is the chapter on what to do if your child makes his/her bed a POOL???
I called my mom, even though I doubted she had experience with this particular scenario as her one and only child was always well behaved. As I told her what was going on I could hear my Dad snickering in the background going, “Oh geeze! Oh geeze!” My mom had some good advice. Which I promptly enacted once there was a cease fire of book throwing. I put on my game face (the stern but not-overly-invested-in-what-you-are-doing look) and went upstairs.
“MomEEEEE!” Zoey whinned.
“Zoey, it is nap time.” I surveyed the damage of the room out of the corner of my eye. “You have made your choice. You did not cooperate so you do not get any stories.”
“But I prefer not to sleep on a wet bed, Mother.” Mother??? Are you freaking kidding me??
“You may look at some books if you don’t want to sleep. I am not changing your sheets.” Because you’re going to do it after nap time, genius.
And then I walked away.
Zoey eventually fell asleep huddled in the top corner of her bed. The only dry spot. Now I need to go get her up otherwise she’ll be awake until 10 PM. It’s not going to be pretty, people. Not pretty at all.