Wednesday, January 9, 2008


My two-year old asked for a drink of water.

To those of you who have never had a two-year old, I must say that you can have no idea what this entails. It sounds simple and straightforward, right? Get a cup, fill it with water, give it to the child.
I try that. I get a cup and fill it with water and offer it to the child. My act of kind service is met with fury and tears.
Apparently, the child wants water in the yellow cup.
"Ask mommy politely," I insist.
The toddler pouts and looks at me pleadingly.
"Say, please may I have water in a yellow cup." I prompt.
"Pease (mumble mumble mumble)" he says, very contrite.
So I get a yellow cup from the cupboard and fill it with water.
More fury and tears, "NO!!! ORANGE JUICE! ORANGE JUICE!"
"Ask mommy politely," I insist again. "Say, please may I have some orange juice?"
"Pease may I orange juice?"
Now I open the refrigerator and get out the orange juice. I pour half a cup into the YELLOW cup and hand it to the two-year old. All seems to be well. I pick up my address book and start looking up the phone number of a friend who just had a baby. I want to call and congratulate her.
The two year old is screaming because he dropped his orange juice.
Very calmly and sympathetically, I say, "Too bad. You spilled. That's okay. I'll clean it up." There is a pink hand towel from yesterday's laundry lying on the floor, conveniently near by. I mop up the orange juice and go back to the phone book.
"Stop crying and ask mommy politely."
"Okay," the two-year old sniffles, "Okay."
After a long pause, I prompt, "Say, please may I have some more orange juice?"
"Pease (mumble mumble)"
Once again, I fill the cup. Once again, I look down at my phone book. I'm getting close, I'm on the right page.
This has nothing to do with orange juice. This is some kind of scientific experiment. The child wants to know how many times he can persuade me to give him orange juice when all he wants to do is drop it on the tile.
This time I clean it up in perfect silence. Once again, I make him ask politely. As before, I half fill the yellow cup. This time, however, I watch him like a hawk, daring him to drop the cup on the floor right in front of my eyes.
He drinks the orange juice.
"More juice! More juice!" As soon as it is gone he wants more, of course.
"Ask mommy politely."
Another long pause.
"Say, please may I have more orange juice?"
"Please uh may I juice?"
Good enough. I pour him some more, but this time he just holds the cup and watches me.
"Drink it," I say.
The two-year old turns and starts walking away with his cup.
"Drink your juice or I'll have to put you in your chair until you finish it," I warn.
"Drink it," I start after him.
"NO! NO! NO!" he is hopping up and down, nearly sloshing orange juice out on his shirt. "Wanna sit chair." He starts pulling the step stool across the floor towards the sink, barely balancing the orange juice upright in his other hand.
At this point the phone rings. I go and get it. When I come back, I see that the child has dumped his orange juice in the sink. I take the cup.
"I wa' orange juice!" he demands.
"Forget it." I say. "If you're thirsty, you can have water."
I decide not to call my friend to congratulate her on her new baby until later, so she won't have to listen to my child screaming in the background. It would be just too ironic.


Teric said...

We love them. They are children.
We love them. They are children.

(repeat as necessary as you close your eyes and rub your temples to try and dull the latest headache)

Teric said...

"But no matter how he tried, Master Hawthorne never could turn poor young Kyrick into anything but a potted plant."

Awwwwww he's a potted plant. Such a dreary life... oh wait. I forgot. The potted plant was only supposed to have one thought:

"Not Again."