The White Diaper Wipe of Surrender

As my wife and I navigate through the turbulent waters of raising a toddler, I’m quaking at the thought of landing on Thomas’s two-year-old shores. TII Day (Terrible Two Day) is T-minus twenty days and counting, and my intel suggests that Thomas is preparing to mount a stout defense against his parents’ future requests. He’s already mastered the word “no” and can fire it off in rapid succession, and currently he is working on arming himself with more stinging phrases like, “Go away, Deddy” and “Go away, Mommy.” I’ll be honest, the first time he said “Go away, Deddy,” felt like a metaphorical gut shot. 

And his tantrums are only growing in size and scope. If you notice a mushroom cloud forming over the horizon, you can take hope in the possibility that it may not be Putin ushering the end of the world, but merely my toddler melting down. Recently, he had a meltdown in one of the few places on earth where being quiet is strictly enforced by penalty of stern looks and shushes, the library.  

On the day of the implosion, I had the bright idea that I would take the day off, and Thomas and I would enjoy a fun-filled trip to the park and library, with the two destinations connected by a slight detour through a McDonald’s drive-thru for a happy meal. In Thomas’s defense, this was probably too demanding an itinerary, given he was on the mend from a stomach bug. In fact, I should have known something was up when Thomas actually grew tired, yes, tired after a mere hour of play on the playground. Still, this doesn’t absolve the library from some guilt–what right-minded public administrator would dare place a train set in the vicinity of toddler books? For one thing, the toddler will automatically be attracted to trains over boring ole books. Furthermore, after being informed the train set is government property and not, in his words, “my train,” the toddler will then proceed to audition for the starring role in a horror movie by screaming loud enough to rattle the innermost pages of the densest and dustiest tomes. 

And sadly, that was not the worst of it. As I extracted Thomas from the otherwise calm and peaceful sanctum of books, with many erudite patrons glaring in my general direction, I no sooner made it out the door before Thomas, as if testing the payload capacity of a toddler’s gastrointestinal system, proceeded to projectile vomit chicken McNuggets all over my personage. The only mercy was we were at least outside the library before Thomas unleashed the contents of his stomach. Still, at that moment, I think I would have gladly waved the white diaper wipe of surrender had I not been too busy wiping my face with it.

Through the Eyes of a Three-Month-Old

Long-hair won’t leave well enough alone–always pestering me with goofy faces. Do I look amused? Then she hands me off to Bristle-face, who, let’s be honest, doesn’t have a clue how to change my loincloth. How do you put my loincloth on inside-out and backwards? Serves Bristle-face right, that Long-Hair got real mad and shook that irritating rattle at him right after that loincloth incident. Speaking of clothes, why do I have to wear these ridiculous onesies. Do they think I’m a professional wrestler? Well, I’ll show them–just wait, I’ll spit up on Long-hair’s shoulder. 

Ugh, Bristle-face is confusing my yawn with a look of surprise again. If Bristle-face covers up my eyes one more time and says “Peek-a-boo,” I’m going to set my internal alarm clock to 3 AM and wake up and say “Peek-a-boo” to him. I always find it kind of funny to hear Bristle-face muttering in the middle of the night, like a lunatic, while waiting for the portable milk dispenser to warm. Sometimes he falls asleep while holding the milk dispenser to my mouth, and I like to give him a little fright by a sudden scream, at which point he jolts a little and tilts the milk dispenser upright again.

Bristle-face, Long-hair, and Thomas

I’m not sure why Long-hair and Bristle-face are always patting me on the back. It’s not like I’ve done anything to deserve that much praise. The only way to get them to stop is to belch, which shows you what kind of crude creatures I’m dealing with. Sometimes Long-hair even gets happy when I pass gas. I mean, I hate to clear the room, but if that’s the only way to get them to quit beating my back, then so be it. Check that, sometimes leaving a surprise in my loincloth is also effective. 

But enough bathroom talk. Sometimes I wonder if Bristle-face and Long-hair are capable of any sophisticated thoughts. They are so focused on my gastrointestinal functions that they miss the giant bright yellow ball above them. Who put that there? Everybody acts as if it doesn’t exist. They just go right on toting me around, with nary a look upward. Then they’re always shading my eyes from the brightness of the yellow ball, so I can’t get a good look at it. Sometimes they don’t even notice that the bright yellow ball is replaced with lots of bright little dots and another smaller less-bright white ball. Who put those there and why? 

These are the things I think about when drifting off to sleep at night, after Long-hair pours warm water all over me. I’ve tried and tried to voice my displeasure about this–what do I look like, a fish?–but she insists on the warm water and scrubbing routine. Though Long-hair and Bristle-face don’t seem to be the smartest creatures around, I’m starting to grow fond of them. They may not provide much stimulating conversation (usually, they look like they’re in a stupor and need some sleep), but they’re good for holding the milk dispenser and changing my loincloth. That counts for something.