To Pee or Not to Pee

Well, that’s not exactly the question. But whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the bodily fluids of another’s progeny or take arms against a sea of urine and by opposing end it.

In other words, what do I do when someone else’s kid pees in my bathtub?

This was my moral dilemma during a recent play date. This sweet little friend initially aimed into the proper receptacle. But for some reason, he stopped mid-stream and moved into the bathtub.

So it wasn’t an accident. It was just one of the many super-weird things young boys do for no good reason other than to make grown women wonder when the mothership will return to reclaim lost mini-Martians.

I was mad. But I didn’t know what I should do. If it were Wee Man, time-out, lecture and forced-cleaning would follow. But this was not my son. I understand and respect the fact that different families handle these kinds of things differently. Not sure what I can or should do to discipline and housebreak another’s child.

Ay, there’s the rub.

I asked this boy what he was thinking. Of course, he had no good answer. He agreed he would not like it if I went to his house and peed in his bathtub. (Inspired line of conversation, I know.) I handed him the bathroom cleanser and paper towels. I stood over him to ensure he gave it a thorough scrub. I fished the paper towels out of the unflushed toilet when he dropped them in there once I declared the tub clean. That required still more deep breathing and lessons on hygiene.

Of course his parents were horrified. Turns out this is something they’ve been working on for a while.  They’re also at a loss.

I know when I make a huge production of an infraction around here, it rarely works out well for anyone. Drama begets drama. But how do you get through to these people? How do you correct bad behavior that seems to be done simply for effect? Do they really want to get in trouble because mad parents are somehow exciting and entertaining? Is it all just a twisted power trip?

I’d like to react with love and kindness. I can imagine my aura shining gold with an angelic glow as I point out the error in a nurturing way that inspires them to do better and be better. A flock of ivory-billed woodpeckers flies overheard as a unicorn prances by on his way to the final signing of an irrevocable world peace accord. It’s a pretty picture.

But I get pissed off at pee in my tub. (Terrible, terrible pun.) With someone else’s children, I do a better job of maintaining my cool. Conscience does make me a coward. But with my own kids — the people I love more than anyone else in the universe — I find myself more often than not regretting angry words and escalated conflict.

I know all my sins will be remembered. Lord knows grudge-holding runs in my family. I just hope that by the time my kids are old enough to pick out my nursing home, they will have grown from hilarious, wacky, irrepressible, fabulous little people into larger versions of who they are now, and that those sins are forgiven.

And that no one pees in my tub ever again.

Fine Dining

Wee Man came home from preschool with a peculiar notion: It’s time for a Green Lantern dinner party.

He set the table with leftover party plates and cups from the 4th b-day Soccer Buddies/Green Lantern blowout last month. I got in trouble for eating off one of the plates. It wasn’t dinner, after all. He rearranged his setting with Martha-like attention to detail: pizza-flavored Goldfish go here, grape stems on this plate, apple sauce squeezers go there, Ritz Bitz next to his spot. It was quite deliberate.

The Wee Man is quite pleased with how his table is coming together.

When the Roo came home from school, she added an extra touch of sophistication. She wrote place cards and invitations on construction paper and delivered them to me as I sat hunkered over this computer working to meet a deadline.

“Please com to are party Mom,” it reads. She made one for Dad, too.

I was in that work-zone that I mastered when I was working full time here in the mouth of madness. I knew there was activity in kitchen, but I figured as long as I didn’t smell smoke, we’re good.

I came in to find the table cluttered, the OJ spilled (they’d poured it into Green Lantern cups to freeze for dessert) and the two of them ridiculously pleased with themselves.

I’m ridiculously pleased with them, too. Despite the mess, it’s wicked-sweet.

And honestly, it looks about the same in there as when I’m allegedly in charge of feeding us.

So it’s time to go enjoy my Ritz Bitz and junior chefs. Right after I pour myself a big ol’ glass of wine.

Bon Apetít.

Love and Illogic

“Mom, I messed up my bed,” the Wee Man reported with his stopped-up-nose voice.

“Why did you do that?”

“That was your consequence for not giving me a knife.”

Oh. So because you threw your knife across the floor because your sister gave it to you instead of me and I refused to give you another knife, you’re punishing me by messing up your bed, which I just made and you clearly need to return to.

Love that logic.

I know you’re feeling bad, son. I know you’re frustrated. I love that you feel empowered enough to dole out punishments to your misbehaving mom.

But I am your mom. So I’ll see your messed up bed consequence and raise you one calm request to return to your room and fix it. I’ll congratulate myself for not losing my cool and fanning the flames of sick day drama.

Then I’ll go back to my parenting books and see if I can figure out how to temper your sense of justice with a little respect for author-i-tah. Not much, mind you. Just enough that you’ll stop throwing knives.

Sexy is as Stupid Does

“Mom, have you seen the guy who’s the voice of Puss in Boots?” the Roo asked.

Oh yes. I’ve always been a sucker for Latin lovers. I thought I was over it until my midlife crisis recently rekindled los fuegos. My husband knows that a big part of why he doesn’t need to bother to come to horse shows with me is that his supportive presence cuts into my time flirting with other men who are, for the most part, chulos.

Fortunately he is secure and trusting enough that he thinks it’s funny when I email him pictures of cute boys who are young enough to have been my children had I been a trampier teenager. When I text him to tell him Have fallen madly in love w Peruvian who lks like A Banderas. Flying 2 Peru 2moro in his lap. Pls bring kids to visit for Xmas if ur not 2 pissed, he laughs and shows it to his friends.

So of course I know who’s the voice of Puss in Boots, the Nasonex bee and the hot pervert in ¡Atame!

“Yep. His name is Antonio Banderas. He’s very handsome. He’s Spanish. I think men who speak Spanish are sexy.”

“What’s ‘sexy’?”

Hmmm. Not sure how much a 6-year-old needs to know about this. Better stick to general terms here.

“Handsome, attractive, good-looking…” I thought those were safe.

“Oh. Like Daddy tries to be sexy to keep your horse show boyfriends away?”

¡Madre de Dios! Where did that come from?!

Perhaps from those photos and texts, Mrs. Science.

If I were smarter, I’d remember my kids are much smarter than I am. Unfortunately for both us, they’re much, MUCH smarter than I am.

The Lion, the Arachnid and his Wardrobe

The Wee Man is all about dressing up. If he were vaguely normal, I’d say his closet was a candy store in which he could be like a kid. But he’s really more like a drag queen in a costume shop with a sugar daddy’s AmEx.

This didn’t really shift into high gear until well after Halloween, and it shows no signs of subsiding just because we’re on to chocolate-coated holidays.

For weeks, he wore his Spider-Man suit all day every day. Sometimes he’d work in a little Green Lantern garb. He briefly mixed it up a little more with Star Wars/Batman/Wolverine paraphernalia that came with birthday and Christmas. Sometimes he’d wear Green Lantern over Spider-Man. Or he’d throw on a couple of his sister’s sparkly hair accessories.
There are all kinds of fashion and social rules this kid is breaking. And here’s the best part: He could not give two craps what any of us think about it.

That makes him my super hero.

Today's outfit: Spider-Man swim suit under horse blanket, toy lion around the neck, birthday crown and pink snow boots that are two sizes too small.