Pieces of Childhood

Rain, rain, go away

Come again sometime in May

Or this flood won’t go away.


The water in my backyard had been receding. Then, it rained buckets again last night. I think the flooding is now worse than it was initially. Add to that the fact that it is scheduled to rain almost every day this coming week, and I fear I am screwed. A reasonable person might point out the fact that I have almost an acre and a half of yard, while only about an eighth of an acre is flooded. That leaves a lot of yard that the kids could still play in.

But we’re talking about an almost-five-year-old and a three-year-old. Boys. What are the chances that they would actually stay out of the flooded gunk if I sent them out to play on their own? Honestly, N~ would probably be fine–he doesn’t like being dirty. But W? Yeah, there’s a reason that we frequently call him “Pig Pen.” The kid attracts dirt. There will be no keeping him out of the flooded muck.


I have some parenting questions that I would love to know how to deal with. First, how do you break a kid of wearing pull-ups at night? We were out of them last night, so I told the two older boys to just go to bed in their underwear. They almost never have accidents. W~ was fine with the idea, but N~ had had a rare accident the night before and he didn’t want to risk it. Sean and I both reassured him and even came up with a plan in case he were to have an accident. He still wasn’t interested. I actually had an argument with him over the fact that he wanted us to let him wear one of C’s diapers to bed. An argument that I thought I had won.

When N~ got up this morning, I caught him taking one of the diapers off. Somehow, he had managed to put one on himself before going to sleep. I’ll give him credit for determination, but I’d prefer that he applied it to the idea of sleeping in his underwear.

My next question: What do you do when a stranger’s kid (in a public place) is goading your kids into bad behavior? I have started taking my kids to play at our YMCA again lately (my sanity does better when they’ve had a chance to burn off some energy). There are almost always other kids playing at the same time. Now, I don’t claim that my kids are perfect, or that they are always well behaved. They certainly do their share of acting up. And I make them stop playing for awhile when they don’t play nicely with the other kids. But, sometimes, it just really isn’t their fault. Today was one of those days.

Shortly after we arrived, another mother came in with two boys close in age to N~ and W~. They all started playing tag (and I’m thrilled because, hey, we’re running them down). The older boy decided that W~ was “tagging” too hard. Honestly, he wasn’t tagging any harder than this kid was, but I still kept telling him to try and be more gentle. Well, this boy started hitting. At one point, he even managed to kick W~ in the face and make him cry (and W~ is a tough kid). This kid’s mom never made him stop playing, and would precede talking to him about his behavior by saying “You’re not in trouble…” W~ got sick of being hit/kicked/knocked to the floor and started fighting back. OK, I’m not alright with that. So my kid is getting in trouble for reacting to how this kid was acting.

I thought a lot about this on the way home. What is the right way to handle that kind of situation? I don’t want my kids to think it is ok to fight and be a bully. But, honestly, I don’t want to teach my boys to be wimps. I want them to know that it is not ok for other people to pick on them. I want them to stand up for themselves. And I want them to know that I don’t expect them to let other kids bully them. But I don’t want them to hit (and, when you’re three, that is the logical reaction). So, when the other kid’s parents aren’t doing anything about it, how do you fix the problem?


It is 10:30 pm and we are in party-prep mode. Tomorrow is C’s second birthday. We are having a party tomorrow for him and his cousin, Midge, who also had a birthday this week. I’ve got the cake in the oven. Sean is working on assembling the toddler bed we are giving him for his birthday (with any luck, it will excite him enough to make him want to move into his brothers’ bedroom instead of ours). The bed is definitely going to be cool–a cherry-finished wooden sleigh bed. Quite sophisticated looking. Of course, the effect will be lost with the new Elmo bedding he is also getting.

The birthday present that really has me excited, though, is the toy I picked up for N~ and W~ to give to him. I don’t even know how to describe it, really. It is a kind of puzzle–balls inside of a clear plastic box that you have to manipulate through several levels. I will post a picture of it tomorrow.

So, why does this toy excite me so much? Well, from the time I was a very small child, my dentist has had the same basic toy in his waiting room. It was in the house that he turned into his first office when he bought it. Even then, when he first found it, it was old. I used to love playing with that toy while I waited to have my teeth cleaned. Thirty years later, the toy is still there, although the plastic is so scratched that you can barely see the balls inside and one section of the toy is now jammed. My dentist told me once that he had tried to find something similar to replace it, but has never been able to. For ten dollars, I think I may just go buy another one and give it to him when I get my teeth cleaned in a couple of weeks.



Filed under Daily Life, Kids

2 responses to “Pieces of Childhood

  1. Nancy

    A little advice on two fronts here. First, calmly tell both the boys they are too old to be wearing pull ups and don’t buy them anymore. Buy good quality mattress pads with waterproof backing and be prepared to wash them every now and then. If you wait until they never have accidents to make this move they could be ten or twelve years old (yes, some boys take that long). It is important that they get past this step long before school age.

    As far as bullying in public places, if you don’t want your boys to be wimps you can’t be one yourself. If a few “looks” toward the other mother don’t help, TELL her you don’t appreciate her boys hurting yours and that she needs to get them to stop. If that doesn’t work, go to management. They don’t want the liability of a child being injured on their property and will take care of it. Other than the “looks” it should all be done nicely.

  2. Pingback: Mission: Birthday Party (Accomplished!) « Mixed Nuts

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