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Candles, Flowers, Frustration

Sitting next to me at the table, her little body was shaking, arms bent at 90-degrees, fists clenched.  “You know daddy, when I get frustrated, I smell a floor and blo ow a cannel,” she says so fast I couldn’t quite translate the three-year old speak into English.

“What?” I respond laughing.  “You do what when you get frustrated?  Why are you getting frustrated?”

“You know,” she begins to shake again, “when I get frustrated, at school, Miss Jen says when I get frustrated I smell a flower and blow out a candle,” she says, thinking she made her point clearly.

“You smell a flower and blow out a candle?” I ask slowly, enunciating.

“Yeah.  At school when I get frustrated,” she reiterates, offering her wide open eyes and nodding head as evidence of her conviction.

“Who taught you this?  Your mother or school?” I ask, more curious to discover if I’ll believe she is telling the truth when she answers than what her answer is.

“Miss Jen said at school,” her arms assume the position, but no shaking this time, “when I get frustrated, I should smell a flower and blow out a candle,” she says, not showing any signs of actually becoming frustrated during my uncalled for inquisition.

“Smell a flower and blow out a candle, eh?” I mutter to myself, this time widening my eyes as I take a deep breath through my nose and exhale through my mouth.  “Ha,” I say, rolling my eyes, smirking.  “What will they think up next?

How To Raise A Toddler

(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)

Okay, bedtime story complete; she’s down.  What the?  Why would they make something a toddler is supposed to put in her mouth out of cardboard?  It took less than two hours for her to flatten the red-party-favor-blower-thing with her brimming with saliva little mouth.  Gross.  Yep, I’m throwing it out.  I’ll just deal with her tomorrow.  She probably won’t even remember that it existed. (#1)

“Daddy!”

Yup.  She’s awake.  I’d guess that it’s probably around 8:00 am.  It’s got to be.  I already heard my housemate leave for work.  Let me just check my phone to see what time it is…  7:00 am!  Oh well.  I want waffles this morning anyhow, so I could use the extra time.

“Daddy?”

“What is it?”

“Where’s my red thing?”

“What red thing?”

“Daddy, can you turn on the light in your room?”

“Just eat.  When you’re done, you can turn on the light yourself.  You’re a big girl now.  You can reach all the light switches in the house.  Turn them on and off yourself as you please.”

“Daddy.  I’m done.  Peez I get off the table?”

“You’re done?!  You haven’t finished your waffles.  How are you going to have enough energy to make it to lunch?”  (#2)

“Daddy.  Peez I get off the table?”

“Fine.”

“Daddy.  Where’s my red thing?”

“I threw it… it probably got thrown away.  It was broken.”  (#3)

“Who breaked it?”

“It’s ‘broke’, not ‘breaked’, ‘broke’.  You did.  Don’t you remember?”  (#4)

“I breaked it?”

“‘Broke.’  Yep.  You sure did.  You should be more careful next time.  Okay, hurry, you have to go to school.”  (#5)

“But I didn’t break it.”

“The point is, it is gone.”

“Are we going to the mountains today?”

“No, you have school today.  We’ll go to the mountains on the weekend.”

“Oh.”

“Okay, let’s get moving.  I’ll get your clothes, time to go potty.”

Not quite making it to school (daycare) on the first trip, I was back in the driveway needing to grab the bathing suit I had told myself  not to forget.  Leaving her in the running car on the drive during the short trip into the house, I thought of all the morons who’ve car-jacked a car with a kid in the back.  Not even fully closing the front door for fear of locking myself out, I might as well have put out the bat-signal.

Feeling the front-door give a little as I twisted the just unlocked handle, I pushed further only to curse myself.  Apparently I didn’t remember to lock the deadbolt this morning before leaving like I told myself I would last night during a bout of all-too-common laziness.  Who invented deadbolts that require a key to lock it on the inside of the house anyhow?  Safe neighborhood, I’m sure.

Upon approaching the car, her child seat was empty.  More curious than concerned, I saw movement on the other side of the seat.  Good for her.  She finally knows how to unlock the seat-belt.  Finally, we made it to the ‘Early Learning Center’.

Crying , she wrapped my pinky and fore finger in her left and right hands which had acquired the grip of a python overnight.  I pried my fingers free and left her in the arms of some accented foreign lady who is her teacher.

This is probably not doing any long-term damage to her.  (#6)

Instructions for How To Raise A Toddler:

Step 1 – Lie as much as you can to the toddler and yourself.

Step 2 — Use the fact that all other parents are also lying as reassurance that you’re on the right track.