You ever wonder how Batman felt week after week capturing the Joker or Two Face and putting them in Gotham’s insane asylum known as Arkham only to see them break out in a week or two to plot some other nefarious deeds?
I know how he feels. And it’s not good.
I’d been telling my wife for a few weeks that I was going to dismantle the crib and start the two year old sleeping in the bed. She asked me every day if I’d done it yet but I just kept telling her I didn’t have the time. Well, on Saturday while I was mowing the lawn my wife actually thought she’d surprise me by actually taking down the crib. For me.
It’s not that I had no intention of ever taking it down but I really had no intention of taking it down anytime in the near future. When the baby went off to college I’d take her out of the crib.
You see, we were in the midst of potty training and I didn’t want to take on too many things at once. To be honest, potty training hasn’t been going all that well. The two year old and I, we sit in the bathroom a lot and chat. She quotes Justice League or Super Friends lines from her sisters’ DVD to me and I’m supposed to respond. Her favorite is she says, “Excuse me, Green Lantern?”
And I say: “For the last time, I am not Green Lantern! My name is…!
She pretends to laugh and says: “Just kidding. I know who Booster Gold is. So now that I’m not in distress, I was wondering if maybe I was still your kind of damsel.”
I don’t know why those particular lines stuck in my child’s head but boy did they. We do those lines or we talk about Spider Man and then we leave the bathroom so she can go in her diaper and come tell me “I stink” a few minutes later. I can usually tell within four or five paces.
I was starting to think she just didn’t understand what she was supposed to be doing on the potty. But I’ve done this four other times before with my other kids and I know it eventually works out. Sometime before college would be great.
So as you can imagine dismantling the crib has made the last few days (and nights) fun. For the two year old.
Nap time has been especially eventful. I knew I was in trouble when she seemed excited to go take her nap Monday afternoon. “You stay here Dad,” she told me. “I go.”
OK. Heck, maybe taking down this crib wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I didn’t even have to take her upstairs anymore. Woo-hoo. Things were looking up.
Well it took about five minutes before I heard the first boom. So I’m running up the stairs. And there she is on the top bunk tossing her older sister’s belongings off. I raced in and gave her what for. She did her part and cried and got into her own bed with a promise never ever never to go up the ladder into the top bunk.
The five year old and I played cards at the dining room table for a while until we had to go pick up the girls from school. When I went upstairs at 2 p.m. I expected to wake her. I even brought a sticker with me to congratulate her for sleeping in her bed like a big girl. So I opened the door and there she was completely naked with socks on her hands. From her pose I’m thinking she was pretending she was spiderman. But that’s just guesswork.
“Where’s you diaper?” I asked her.
She shrugged her little shoulders and looked up at the ceiling. So there I am looking on her bed, lifting up blankets and I’ll admit I even glanced up at the ceiling. Hey, you never know.
I asked the five year old who’d followed me up if he saw the diaper anywhere and he glanced around confirming that it wasn’t floating in the middle of the room.
I hadn’t found the diaper but I had to go pick up the girls. So I threw a new diaper on her and some clothes. I left the socks on her hand. Why not? She seemed happy with them. It’s funny. The girls all got in the van and not one of them mentioned the fact that the two year old had socks on her hands. Big families learn to take things in stride, I guess.
The two year old talked a mile a minute and laughed until her belly hurt at everything her sisters did. Now while I’ll tell you that there is no sound in this world that is more refreshing to the human soul than a child’s belly laugh it also usually means that you have a very tired child on your hands.
So I let her play for a few minutes while the girls got their homework ready on the dining room table. When they settled I brought the baby back upstairs. And then the tears. “No Dad…I dowanna…Noooooo…” She’s crying and wiping her eyes with her socks. But when I laid her down she immediately rolled over and closed her eyes.
OK. I stood there and listened to the baby’s breaths evened out. I watched her relax and she was almost asleep when….
Someone downstairs screamed. I bound down the stairs and ran into the big room to check the door. That’s what I always do. If I think something’s wrong I check the doors first and work my way inwards. OK. The door’s locked so nobody’s come in or escaped. I count heads at the table. The ten year old, the seven year old and the five year old are all there. The eight year old is gone.
“Where is she?” I asked them.
“Bathroom,” they told me.
I go into the bathroom and my goodness. The eight year old is standing in horror looking down at the toilet bowl where a dirty diaper is floating in the bowl.
The eight year old saw me and immediately said “I’m sorry I screamed. I thought it was….I don’t know what I thought it was. But it surprised me.”
And you want to know what my thought was? Hey, the two year old understands what the potty’s for. Good news. Yup. I was happy, even when I was the one who had to reach in and get it out.
Now, of course, when I opened the bathroom door who was standing right outside but the two year old. She followed me to the garbage and when the eight year old came out we went back in because she said she had to go potty. We talked about Spiderman and Superman for a while until we left. She still didn’t do anything but I know she at least understands.
The rest of the day she didn’t get a nap. So when we went upstairs at night we prayed and she laid down and went right to sleep. Sometime during the night last night I was sleeping and for some reason I stirred. I opened my eyes to look at the clock to check the time but something was obstructing my view. My eyes were having trouble focusing so I stared intently. As my eyes adjusted all of a sudden I made out two eyes staring right at me from about four inches from my face. Well as someone who saw Whitley Streiber’s “Communion” on cable you can imagine how that might freak someone out. Well, my eyes must have gotten about as wide as basketballs until I heard a voice say “Excuse me Green Lantern…”
And there she was. My two year old standing inches from my face staring at me. When my heart stopped punching a hole in my chest I got out of bed, picked her up, and carried her out of the room careful to not wake my wife. When we got to the hallway I said, “”For the last time, I am not Green Lantern! My name is…!
She whispered in the stairwell: “Just kidding. I know who Booster Gold is. So now that I’m not in distress, I was wondering if maybe I was still your kind of damsel.”
And then she said she had to go potty. So I turned around on the stairs and we sat and I talked for a few minutes about Batman and Arkham. And that I’d found a new sympathy for Batman. She didn’t do anything on the potty but she did go back to sleep.
When I got back into bed my wife asked me how the two year old was doing with not being in the crib. Instead of saying that the two yeasr old was acting like a freshman at college I just said that it’d been eventful. But she’s doing great. And we had a breakthrough with the potty today.