Bag Balm on the rug

Today, it started with the paint. Red and black paint, to be specific. It was my fault–I left it on the table. I know better by now, but regardless, I left my acrylic paints, brushes, and painting palettes on the dining room table.

I didn’t want to sing to him tonight.  I didn’t even want to spend anymore time with him.  It’s been a long day with this challenging toddler, and between fighting to recover from an awful cold and still trying to take care of the normal family meals, kid pickups, and grocery shopping, I’m just completely worn out, and I didn’t even want to spend that special time with him that normally we both love.   That doesn’t happen much.

Today, it started with the paint.  Red and black paint, to be specific.  It was my fault–I left it on the table.  I know better by now, but regardless, I left my acrylic paints, brushes, and painting palettes on the dining room table.  I’d been running herd on the kids since 6:30am, and it was a fairly normal morning until it was almost time to go.  I made that dreaded decision that all moms of toddlers have to make sometimes–I decided to go use the restroom before we left, and I figured that the toddler couldn’t get into TOO much trouble in those 5 minutes, especially since I’d forbidden the older two to watch TV or play on the computer–“What could happen?”  Right.

When I finished in the restroom and went to get the kids out the door, I found the toddler in the dining room…with red paint all over his clothes, on his arms, on the floor, on the table, on one of the chairs, and red and black paint in the palette and on his chosen paint brushes.  Of course, since I was in a hurry, I freaked.  I FREAKED OUT as only a mom confronted with a small child with paint everywhere can.  I put the older two to work cleaning up the floor, table, chair, getting clean clothes for the toddler, while I stripped and scrubbed up the toddler.  We managed to get everyone out the door and the kids BARELY got to school on time, but it was handled.  I needed to reupholster those chairs anyway, right?–the fabric is ugly.

After dropping the older two at school, we took care of the shopping.  It wore me out, but I accomplished it, got home, and put groceries away while letting the toddler play in the (fully-fenced)  backyard.  After I finished, I noticed that he had been awfully quiet, so following my intuition, I checked the front yard, and sure enough, he was happily playing with his tricycle in our driveway.  He has lately been climbing to reach things, and this one was a trellis he climbed on to reach the latch on our 6-foot privacy fence.  Apparently it’s time to start padlocking that gate.

After a bit of a race, a visit with the neighbor whose house he ran to, and a drag home, it was nap time.  He fought it, of course, as has been his custom lately, but I got him tucked in after singing about 10 songs to him and giving him kisses.  At least I thought he was tucked in.  About 30 minutes of quiet time later, I hear the doorknob rattle, so I went to investigate.  I’m not sure that words can truly do justice to the scene that met my eyes, but I will endeavor to try.
I first noticed the doorknob was a bit gummy, but I didn’t think much of this at first.  My attention was all for the toddler standing there with his pants off, in a swim diaper, with his arms, legs, hands, shirt, rug, and carpet covered with what I later identified as Bag Balm–a wonderful moisturizing ointment we use as diaper cream.  The smell of it was everywhere, and he was so greasy I didn’t even know what to do with him.  Try and clean him up with wipes?  No, he was standing there holding out his hands and saying “clean hands…clean hands…” and behind him I could see the wipes container on the floor with wipes pulled out of it and covered in Bag Balm, laying crumpled on the rug.  Obviously we were beyond wipes.  Wipe him off with his shirt?  No, that was beyond redemption–I couldn’t see a clean patch on it.  I was going to have to strip him and drop him in the bathtub.  Once I did that, I saw what he had attempted…there was bag balm all over the inside of the swim diaper he had pulled on, and all over the privates of his that he could reach–he had simply wanted to put bag balm on his bottom.

I never was able to get him completely de-greased, despite my best attempt, but we made it past that, barely.  He fell asleep in my arms on the couch and was still sleeping when we left to pick up his siblings, but when we got home he woke up with a vengeance, full of little-boy piss and vinegar.  His favorite trick lately is climbing up onto the counters in the kitchen, and he has perfected the art of knocking over our baby gates so quickly it’s laughable.  I spent the rest of the time that I wasn’t in the kitchen actively cooking or preparing dinner dragging him off the counter tops and trying to keep him from destroying the rest of the house.  So, over all, it’s been an exhausting day today.

I’m sure he’ll get past this phase–they always do–and sometimes it’s really cute, but some days it’s just exhausting.  Bone-draining, soul-drenching, mind-numbingly exhausting.  He’s such a boy, all motion and excitement, stubbornness and cuddles, and I know he will do great things, but for now, I just want to survive tomorrow.  One day at a time, right?  Mama said there’d be days like this, but she didn’t mention anything about the Bag Balm on the rug.
I did sing to him, but we held it to only four songs.  Mama’s tired.

bag balm james

bag balm

Baby oil…really.

So, kids are fun.  Seriously.  Because where else could you go for entertainment, challenges, absolute love, emotional endurance training, and housekeeping training, all in the same pint-sized package?  Kids really are something incredibly precious.  I say these things to remind myself why I’m not absolutely batsh** crazy yet.  If I focus on the blessings they truly are, then I can grab the camera to document when the toddler dumps nail polish in his hair, rather than freaking out right away.  (PSA, if this happens, copious amounts of baby oil, then lay the toddler down in the bathtub so the hair is submerged, and gently comb the nail polish out–it took me 30 minutes, but I’d assume the time will vary depending on the amount of polish and the amount of hair.)

My toddler can be either the sweetest, funniest, most loving child, or the terrorist from hell.  There’s not really an in-between.  He is constantly reminding me of that old rhyme: “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.  When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.”  When he is good, he is seriously SOOOOOO cute, and sweet, full of laughter, intelligence, bright, shining eyes, and he loves everyone.  He is sweet to the dogs, loves to cuddle, is curious, and is, frankly, just wonderful.  When he’s unhappy or knows he’s about to get in trouble, he is the devil.  He is devious, sneaky, runs away from me, screams so hard it makes him quiver; he hits, yells NO!!!  at the top of his lungs, throws things, and fights with a strength and speed that is, frankly, surprising in one so young.  The dichotomy between the two aspects of him, while not at all uncommon in a toddler, never fails to surprise me and catch me off guard, and is the reason I walk that line between ‘Normal Mom’ and ‘Crazy Mom’ on such a regular basis.

So, if you ever feel like, as the parent of a toddler, you’re losing your mind, know this:  You are not alone.  You are NOT alone.  You are NOT ALONE.  We’re here–all of us who have gone before you to fight the potty training battles, all who are traveling the road of messes and tantrums with you, and all who will follow in your sticky jam-covered footprints well into the future.  You are not alone, and I will always stand in solidarity with my sister-mothers out there, fighting the good fight to turn these wonderful little people into even more-wonderful older people.  I am here for you.  We are all there with you, and you are loved.  Hang in there Mama–we got your back.