Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yucky naps and dressing up per my kid's request

"This is very, very yucky," the Grape explained to Lila the Dog, as she tried to sneak one of the dog park's well chewed municipal tennis balls into our living room this morning. His little face was a portrait of seriousness.

Lila gamely dropped her disgusting trophy and proceeded to inspect the freshly vacated stroller for stray snack foods. The Grape crouched by the discarded tennis ball, examined it as if it were roadkill, looked up at me triumphantly and repeated, "This is very, very yucky."

The Grape has had lots of opinions since he graduated from the blob stage of infancy and became a more highly interactive being. This is unsurprising. He is, after all, my kid. Lately, though, he's gotten much more adept at articulating those opinions. And at lording it over the dog. One thing the Grape has decided for certain is that he wants to rank as high up in our little family pack as possible. He's not giving that corpulent canine an inch (not that she's asked for anything - she's too laid back to notice their nascent sibling rivalry).

Some of his opinions make me laugh. He feels strongly about wardrobe choices. On more than one occasion, he's told me, "No, no, no shorts, Mamma. Dress! Pretty!" And yes, weenie that I am, I put on a sundress per my son's request.

He likes to draw attention to recent additions to his own sartorial repertoire as well: "New pants!" he will tell every stranger we pass on the sidewalk.

Last weekend, we moved the car seat to R.'s car at the Grape's insistence. The Grape prefers R.'s vehicle to my more staid sedan. Why? Because it's red. (Duh.) If the Grape could roll his eyes at that line of questioning, he would.

And I wrote last week about how we were the very first people on the beach every single day of our long weekend in Bermuda. Honestly, I don't mind these kinds of opinions. I love his childish enthusiasm, and I'm smart enough to know that he'll morph into a jaded teenager before I'm ready.

For now though, the problem arises when he wants to outrank me. The Grape has evidently not received the memo, that as far as he's concerned, Mamma is right up there with God (or whatever higher power you espouse). A minimum of five times a day, we argue over whether he must get in the stroller. Lots of times, I let him self-locomote. I get that he likes to move, and I agree it's good for him. But if we're heading out with the dog, or if we need to be somewhere asap, he needs to get his little butt in the blasted buggy. Why? Because I've learned from experience that I cannot mind an off-leash dog and an off-leash almost-two-year-old, in an unfenced city park with traffic on two sides. At least not without losing my mind.

"WALK! WALK!" he squawks, like some kind of deranged parrot. As I use my significant weight advantage and both knees to wrangle his writhing, shrieking, thrashing little personage into the stroller, I wonder if my neighbors will call social services.

He also would like to have the doors to our patio removed. Which would be fine, if not for the helicopter sized mosquitoes that rush any breach in home security; our escape artist cat Lucy (who possesses an explorer's thirst for the big city but the survival instincts of a toadstool); or the fact that I am not interested in paying to air condition the great outdoors. So we argue about egress every day, several times a day. At least once or twice every afternoon, we endure massive tantrums wherein the Grape yells, "OPEN! OPEN!"over and over again. It matters not which side of the door he's on. It's not that he wants to go indoors or out; he just wants the option available at all times.

A quick glance at the clock tells me it's already three-thirty. Any moment now, he'll roll awake in his crib and pronounce this nap "very, very yucky."

And even though my to-do-while-he-sleeps list remains long, his pronouncement on the palatability of his afternoon snooze will make me smile.

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