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Of Tots and Tongues

November 10, 2008

When it comes to tantrums, meltdowns, and those other rites of passage falsely advertised as “developmental milestones” that afford us mothers nothing but extra crows feet and hemorrhoids, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy the lesser end of that evil continuum.

That’s not to say we haven’t had our fair share of uncontrollable crying fits brought on by just slightly tepid yogurt or my eyes being open too wide when I asked how her day was.
But here at our house, we generally enjoy a combination of sassy mouth, mouth farts, and foot stomps.

Now when performed individually, I do my dutiful “1-2-3 Magic” counting, which most often quells the behavior by a strong “2 plus mommy glare.”

However, the combination punch is a bit more difficult to handle.

It usually starts with the “parent parrot,” followed by a hearty mouth fart, and then large dramatic foot stomps bested only by German soldiers and the Conshohocken High School Marching Band.

“No YOU go clean up your toys. *phhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt* STOMP STOMP STOMP.”

The other day, he decided to throw a few toys at my head and punch me pretty hard, innocently of course, but still pissed me off enough to make him stand facing the corner for as long as I could possibly stand it without giggling as he told off the wall in a flurry of rapid arm movements and head shakes.

But just yesterday, he decided to add the tongue, strategically timed just after the circular stomps to respond non-verbally to my corner-pointing finger.

There it was. That little pink tongue that used to suck on my boob and roll sweet potatoes into a glob on his bib now sticking straight out of his mouth right at me.

No sounds. No pffffffffrrrrrrting. Just a tongue.

After arriving swiftly at his favorite corner, he decided his time in confinement should be used wisely, like by perusing the new Toys-R-Us catalog. I responded by instructing him to put it away, and was met with yet another tongue.

Aside from tossing the catalog straight in the trash, which might have just killed a little teeny tiny part of my toy loving son, I realized this was a teaching moment and took a few minutes (after the world tragedy that was a catalog in the trash was over) to offer him other more appropriate ways to express his anger — you know, breathing, counting to ten, or separating yourself from the situation.

However, I might as well have told him to go drink a fifth of whiskey because he just glared at me and said with absolutely no hesitation, “Well, if you weren’t so mean to me, then I wouldn’t get angry.”

Apparently I forgot “Blame it on the people who love you most,” an excellent co-dependent way of dealing with the stress and frustration that comes with being a three-year-old with way too large of a vocabulary for his own britches.

I guess now all I have to look forward to is “Of Four-Year-Olds and Fingers.”

I’ve already got it saved as a draft.

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