Being the parent of the Man Child is an exercise in patience.
Almost every day a situation arises with him where I have to ask myself, "do I freak out, or do I laugh instead of cry?".
Today, after 3 days in single parenting h&**, I just threw up the white flag and surrendered to him.
The Man Child has figured out how to open doors. He's even outsmarted the child-proof handle blocker thingies that I installed months ago (sorry, not my most intelligent moment with vocabulary, but stick with me). I should have known when he figured out a way out of Gitmo#1 (his cage/bed- if you have no clue what I'm referring to go back to Jan, Feb & maybe even March posts..It was EPIC) that this kid could not be contained and is probably an evil mastermind like the baby on Family Guy (oh, I can only hope the voice in my child's brain in British. Please, please, please let him sound like Chris Martin or at least Jeremy Northam).
His favorite door to open is the upstairs bathroom that TQ and Fox use. In true MC form, he picked the one door out of the entire house that I would like to bolt shut. Why?? Well, in my attempt to give the older children responsibilities and regular chores, I have told them that the maintenance of their bathroom is entirely on their shoulders. AND, it has to be kept cleaned to my standards, which means no visible dirt, smudges, finger marks, etc.....(OCD much?)
In true adolescent fashion, TQ and Fox have found a way to circumvent the rigors of the daily cleaning and pickup routine. They just stash everything in the vanity so that from the doorway the bathroom looks pristine. But open the vanity drawers and it's a whole other story. TQ has amassed a menagerie of hair products, tools, pony tail holders, bobby pins, makeup, lotions, body spray, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, empty contact lens solution. Fox, interestingly enough, while having his drawers just as full does not have a single bathroom item in them. He does, however, have batman and power ranger action figures, cars, rocks, dirty clothes (apparently it's just way too much effort to take them down to the laundry room), and other items that we'll just place in the "mystery garbage" category.
It's basically my worst nightmare- and Man Child's dream come true. To him, the bathroom vanity probably looks like a treasure chest of wonders. No wonder he moves so stealthily up the stairs when I'm not looking and as quietly as possible shuts the forbidden door- I usually don't even hear it click into place. I will acknowledge that for all the inertia at work moving his 40 pound, 2 year old body, he moves with surprising grace and subtlety. He's not quite up to James Bond standards though, as he always gives himself away by giggling loudly and triumphantly once he's inside and has opened the top vanity drawer so that I can't open the door more than an inch (so he's probably a little more Austin Powers than Bond....).
Tonight he must have been off his game because he didn't even try to be sneaky- once he got upstairs he slammed the bathroom door shut. Not 5 seconds later I was at the door trying to open it but knowing that he'd already pulled the drawer open and was in full treasure hunting mode. Through the slit in the door I could see him in the mirror, and I'm convinced he could see me as I asked over and over and over for him to shut the drawer. He just gave me a classic maniacal grin and pull open a full tube of tooth paste.
For a good five minutes I begged, bartered and bribed to try to get him out (because reasoning with 2 year old always works out). Knowing his that his drug of choice is gum, TQ advised me to use his addiction and lure him out with a promise of a hit. He wasn't cracking. Finally, I just gave up and started laughing. I'm pretty sure that TQ and Fox thought their mom had finally cracked (and were subsequently wondering if they got to go live with grandma and grandpa Gerona if I had to be admitted to the "special hospital" for crazies). But really, all it took was seeing that familiar glimmer in MC's eyes- the one my parents said I always had right before I dumped an entire bottle of shampoo on the floor or plotted to get my sister to do something completely crazy- and I knew I was having one of those "Ta Da" moments of parenting where you see your own reflection in your child.
So I decided to cut him some slack. If my parents could put up with me and all my antics, then I definitely owe the Man Child all the patience and understanding I can possibly muster. I gave up trying to force him out and instead wondered, "what would have made me lose interest?". The answer was pretty simple: ignore him. Sure enough, without having an audience to perform to, he got bored quickly and came out.
I realized a long time ago that you have to parent each child according to their personality. What works for one won't necessarily work for the others. I've understood TQ and Fox for a while, but today I think I finally figured out how to see what's really going on in the Man Child's head. I just have to hold up a mirror.
But at least I know that there's hope for him, right? I'm pretty sure I turned out at least 70% normal....