I was dragged out of bed this morning by a green elf in footed pajamas. ‘You wipe Henners’ butt,’ he approached my side of the bed, delivering an important message from the downstairs bathroom. This solemn pronouncement from a two year old emissary made me laugh out loud, even if wiping anyone’s butt before 7am is last on my list of ‘fun things to do’.

Thanks to Saturday night’s time change, the boys are now waking up at 6 instead of 7. This is, of course, not a complete tragedy since we Johnsons could stand moving away from the ‘get up at 7.40 and drive to school twenty-ish minutes later’ routine we’d somehow gotten stuck in, btc. Before Time Change.

It’s only a tragedy when, say, a two year old spends an entire night screaming ‘I want Mama’ as he did Sunday night; a delirious combination of sleep-talking and genuine anger at the realization that he’d been ousted from the king-sized bed he’d adopted as his own. Then, when the adults of the house are subsisting on crumbs of sleep, getting up an hour earlier than necessary is grounds for complaint.

One night a couple of weeks ago, while the professor was away, I told the littlest tyke it was time for bed. He scampered upstairs, obediently enough, but when he reached the hallway, he announced ‘I sleep in your bed.’ And, when I returned mere minutes later ostensibly to tuck him into his crib, I found a boy-baby lying in my bed; the covers pulled up to his armpits. A bright orange bracelet (from my verboten jewelry drawer) adorning his right arm, and a DVD in his hand. He looked at me, held out the DVD and asked-suggested: ‘[we] watch a movie?’

Who could help but laugh at the sight of a small boy-baby lying in a king-sized bed, wearing his mother’s bracelet and a gigantic sense of entitlement? But there was no denying bad habits had formed and needed to be dismantled. Mostly because said boy-baby spends his nights tossing and turning, yelling ‘no’ and kicking his legs. Truthfully if he’d been a less disruptive sleeper, we probably would have let him stay a little longer. But getting kicked in the face twice is grounds for ejection. At least, in my books.

Fast forward to Sunday night and the angry imp, screaming at the top of his lungs while bouncing furiously in his crib during an all-night tantrum of Rumpelstiltskin-esque proportions. One that had me fleeing for solace to the guest bedroom. Only to be stirred from my sleep by a dream in which a child was yelling, repeatedly, ‘I want Mama’. Turns out it wasn’t a dream.

I might be deluded, but I’m certain this particular case of terrible-two’s is our worst yet. At the very least, the most stereotypical. I just don’t remember the older boys pouncing on the floor in anger when they were two and the very specific thing they wanted didn’t happen.

Consider this exchange from ten minutes ago:

[The Hen, post-breakfast] ‘Can I have some more juice?’
[Percy, not even in the same room, but running towards the conversation at the mention of the word ‘juice’] ‘I want juice!’
[Moi] ‘We don’t have any more juice.’
[Percy, jumping up and down for the better part of a minute] ‘I WANT JUICE!’
[Moi, staring at the child in disbelief. Seriously?! A tantrum, for this?]
[The Hen, considering his options, and trying again] ‘Can I have some milk?’
[Moi, rinsing the juice cups from breakfast before filling them with milk]
[Percy, upon seeing me rinse the cups] ‘No! No water! No water!’

The absence of logic and the presence of words: an explosive combination.

3 thoughts on “Rumpelstiltskin

  1. “The absence of logic and the presence of words: an explosive combination.” Best words to describe that phase. Ever. Our 3rd is a stomper whenever he doesn’t get his way – he just stomps around madly. I’m like ‘what the heck are you doing dude’?

  2. Roberta, I got kicked in the back last night – not worth it. Though it turns out he has an ear infection, so operation ‘eject him from our bed’ is currently on hold. Rachel, maybe it is the third boy’s lot in life to be a stomper? It really is baffling. Jason liked that phrase too, he asked if I was talking about Rick Perry 🙂


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