Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Heard Elvis Singing

My son is bringing me to my knees…one word: discipline.

T3 is a wonderful little man. I’m quite smitten with him. He’s also a very strong willed little man with no understanding of his own physical limitations and with no regard for safety or moral integrity…and I suppose he’s about where he should be, given he’s a mere 14 months old.

The pool is open for the summer. I’ve been working my plan…taking the little ones in order to wear them out (and, of course, we are having a blast in the process), thus insuring good, sound naps and restful long sleep at night. So…I worked my plan tonight. We ate an early dinner and I took MW and T3 to the pool from about 5:15 until 7. We arrive and I begin the process of undressing T3, in order to put him in his swim diaper and suit. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just do this at home…it’s because swim diapers leak. Been there, done that, got the t shirt. So T3 puts out an awful wail as I struggle to slide him into both trunks. I think it was easier the other day when I did it because he was greased with sunscreen and slid right in…I plop him in the stroller and we head for the pool. Did I mention a friend tried to talk to me while I was dressing him, but due to his screaming, gave up and walked off?

We get in the gates and I head straight for the ice. T3 is still fussing, but I knew the ice would quiet him. Sure enough, I was right. The first twenty minutes at the pool were bliss. T3 sat quietly in his stroller, absolutely content to stuff his face with ice. MW swam in the baby pool and two older girls came over and played with her. They were so gentle and sweet with her. She even dunked one of them…yikes! I reminded her that what goes around comes around…

MW and the big girls moved to the “big” pool. I too moved and of course, brought T3 along in his stroller. All is well. MW is in the three-foot section. She can touch the bottom. She and the other girls are playing mermaid and are doing water ballet, etc. MW is delighted to be included in their games! (I’m thinking peer pressure, if nothing else, just might motivate her to put her face under…)

Swooooosh….plunk….SCREAM!!!! T3 turned his cup of ice up a little too far and the entire thing slid the length of the cup and “plunked” on his face. He immediately pulled the cup away from his mouth, thus dumping ice water and ice all over himself and the stroller. And that was the end of the “relaxing” part of the pool. I got him out. Two younger girls, without my knowledge, came over and emptied the ice from the stroller…literally, I thank God for the little things people do for me!! I’d intended to do that, but as soon as T3’s feet hit the ground he was off.

I spent the next hour and a half bent in half, my arms just at T3’s height, chasing him around the pool. I know, I sound like a paranoid freak! Maybe I am! The thought of him falling in and sinking to the bottom terrifies me! As I’ve said before, he’s not afraid of ANYTHING. Tonight he tried to climb the diving board twice, walk into the deep end uncountable times, and went straight for the steps in the more shallow end of the pool. He thinks he’s much too big for the “baby pool.” Every time I put him in it, he went straight for the edge and tried to climb out.

So…it’s fun. I love watching him toddle. I know he’s a boy. He needs to explore. He needs to fall down and he doesn’t need me picking him up and making a fuss over every tumble. He also needs protection from himself…to give him direction and guidance…so where’s the balance? How do I do this?

We’ve let him stand on the top step of the big pool. He isn’t allowed in because of his swim diaper…so I think we made a mistake. He doesn’t understand he can play on the top step, but not the second step…each time I steered him in another direction (away from the big pool) he melted in a fit of tears and screaming. Consistency…hmm…I think that might help here.

About thirty minutes prior to leaving, MW grabbed a granola bar from our bag. T3 saw it and decided he wanted it. I’ve never heard so much screaming. He threw a temper tantrum for that granola bar. You know what I did? I did the least loving thing of all…I gave him a granola bar. And he quit crying. He quit crying, but I wanted to fall apart crying. Oh the energy required to be consistent. I should have instructed MW to come out of the pool and taken them both to the bathroom where I could’ve appropriately disciplined T3. Instead, I did the “easy” thing – that isn’t going to be easy in the long run – the thing that took all eyes OFF me…All in all, by the time we left I felt like bursting into tears. I was “that” mom. We all know the one…the mom with the out of control child. He was controlling me instead of the other way around.

I did manage to bathe both children in the shower at the pool and dressed them in their pajamas. Not bad!

As we passed the last grouping of chairs a lady stopped me and asked, “Is that that baby with the Elvis hair from last summer?”

“Yes, it is.”

With a smile on her face she said, “Isn’t he cute? Well, we heard him singing.”

I knew what she really meant. What she really meant to say was, “Well, we heard him SCREAMING.”


  1. i can't wait to come to the pool and hang out...screaming or singing, i don't care. i just want to soak up your little ones! :) love you!

  2. I would have felt like crying too.
    I would have loved to have been right there with you helping out. I wanted to be a help on Friday night as well. I love having my sweet girl but missed being able to help with your little ones. It sounds like you have a plan for consistency next time. Give yourself some grace, it was a new circumstance. You can do it. I praise God your children have a mother so concerned with teaching them in the way that they should go!

  3. Robin Williford STevensJune 2, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    I promise it will get better. We've all fallen into the "whatever's easiest right now" trap. You're not a bad mom. You're a great mom. He WILL keep testing and you'll keep teaching and he WILL learn. I promise!! I love you!