Preface: Before lunch, he was outside. He came in soaked from puddle-stomping, despite rain pants and boots. I took off his soggy socks. He wanted dry socks, but I (somehow) talked him into eating barefoot. I told him we’d put on fresh socks after lunch.
Me: Simon, let’s go take a nap!
Him: NOOOO! Runs over and smacks his sister, who is dilligently coloring a butterfly cutout, on the head. She starts screaming. I try to grab him. He darts away, into the dining room. I corner him there. I try to pick him up, but he’s gone limp in protest, and he’s too damn heavy. I’m going to have to bring out the sweet-talk.
Walking up the stairs, sing-songy: Siimoooon! I’m going up to see the Millennium Falcon! And read Goodnight Moon! I bet you can’t find the red balloon!
He’s intrigued. Walking toward the stairs. He’s there! I show him his bottle. Here’s your bottle! Come on, bud! I’m backing up the stairs, shaking it in front of him. He gets two stairs up before he flips onto his back and starts screaming and banging his head.
Bottle! Millennium Falcon! Come on, tiger. Let’s go! Do you want me to carry you?
Carry me! I start back down the stairs. Nooo! I sit down, defeated, sigh and get up again.
Come on, Simon! Let’s go read books. Please? If I can just get him upstairs … I walk toward his room. He’s following me!
I wait for him in his room, sitting on the rocking chair. He stands outside the door, still silently protesting.
In the great green room, there was a telephone … Do you know where the telephone is? He points. Ha! Got him!
And a red balloon … Where’s the red balloon? Points again. I try to pull him up on my lap. He goes limp, slithering off my legs.
Socks! I want socks!
OK! I reach into the drawer and pull out a pair. I lean over, grab a pudgy foot and try to stuff it into a sock.
No socks? OK. No socks.
I want socks!!!! I bend over again.
Noooo!!! My patience is wearing thin. I wrestle the socks onto his feet. He inspects them for a while; decides the socks are acceptable.
And a picture of … the cow jumping over the moon! He’s still standing a few feet away from me. He starts grunting.
Simon, did you go poop?
Yes, change me.
OK. I lift him to the changing table. He kicks me in the face. I ignore it, take his pants off.
Put my pants on! I want the brown pants!! The brown pants!!
Simon, you were wearing the brown pants, and I’ll put them back on as soon as I change you.
Noooo!!!! The brown pants! He pauses, thinking for a moment. The gray pants! I want the gray pants!
The gray pants are dirty.
The brown pants!
These are brown pants. I wrestle them back on. See? They’re cool brown pants! They even have a little pocket! I rip open the velcro on his cargo pocket and crab a tiny car from the carpet. I try to put it in the pocket. Mistake!
Noooo!!!! I want to put THIS car in the pocket! The truck he’s holding is twice as big as the pocket.
Simon, that one won’t fit. Should we find a different small car?
No!! This one!
It won’t fit, Simon. Let’s finish reading Goodnight Moon. He grabs his blanket and reluctantly climbs onto my lap. We finish the book.
OK, Simon, one song.
I’m a little tiger, and my mommy loves me …
Big blue truck!
I’m a big blue truck and my mommy loves me, I’m a big blue truck and my mommy loves me. When she tucks me in and says goodnight …
Big black truck! This game continues until we’ve exhausted five or six vehicles.
OK, Simon, time for bed! I plop him in his crib.
Superbear! Where’s Superbear’s cape? Where’s the CAPE? Where’s the cape?!?! I pluck the red satin cape from the floor and affix it to Superbear’s skin-tight leotard. Simon smiles. I cover him with the yellow blanket and the green blanket, and leave the white blanket by his head.
Here, I’ll read the trucks book, then it’s time to go to sleep. I flash the pictures in front of his face as he begins to relax. Big rig, dump truck, car transporter … I finish the book and start out the door. See you later alligator! After while, crocodile!
NOTHER BOOK! NOTHER BOOOOOOK!!!!!
I knew this was coming. I grab a few books from the table. OK. One more. Do you want the tow truck or the train book?
I sigh and begin reading. I’m a big tow truck, and I like to help people …
I read the train book, too. I can’t stop thinking of how patient his dad is, how he always gets Simon to go to sleep without tears. Finally, it’s time to cut him off. Good night Simon! See you later Alligator.
NOOO!!! He’s definitely going to cry himself to sleep again. NOTHER BOOK! NOTHER BOOOOOOK!! He’s sobbing as I shut the door.
I go down the stairs and shut the door to the second floor. I stumble to my bed, put my hands over my face and try not to scream. I should probably go see the artwork Clare’s working on, but I really need to be alone right now.