"Now that you're done going potty we're going to wash our hands and then brush our teeth."
Lily had just finished a marathon session of sitting on the potty, asking me to read to her, to pour water on her to help her go, wiping, pouring small amounts of pee into the toilet, washing hands, and then starting all over again. Last night we did the same thing, only perhaps one time around the circuit too few, and she peed in her diaper immediately after finishing the last bedtime story.
We finish our ritual of Lily sort of making an attempt at passing the toothbrush over her teeth but mostly sucking off the training toothpaste, then Lily gets to brush Mama's teeth while Mama brushes Lily's teeth. I cringe inwardly at the naked toothbrush rummaging around my mouth but I have to do what is necessary to ensure that my child has properly brushed teeth.
"Time for a diaper and some books."
"Yes!" She scrambles first into her bed, then the rocking chair. After the requisite three books (Peanut Butter and Jelly, Clifford Takes A Trip, Clifford's Christmas) I pick her up to put her into her bed and endure a barrage of whining for one more book. "Read! Read!"
"We only have time for one more short book. I will read Counting Kisses and that's it."
She picks up Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, a much longer book. "Read! Read! Reeeeeead!"
"No, Lily, this is the only book I will read right now. You have to go nigh-night." She pouts, whines some more, and runs squealing to her bedroom door with her choice of reading material. I calmly pick her up, put her on my lap, and put Octavius Bloom on the floor. She continues to whine and squirm. "Now. Do you want me to read Counting Kisses?" She nods, defeated.
She starts off by protesting each page as I gently tickle her squirming body (Ten little kisses on teeny, tiny toes.... Nine laughing kisses on busy, wriggly feet....") but by the time we reach five kisses on a pretty belly button she's giggling with delight. Finally I lay her down and give her tons of kisses that she playfully tries to dodge by putting her hands in front of her face in mock protest. I finish by telling her the same thing I tell her every night and saying nigh-night as I leave.
The whining begins anew. She opens her door, stands at the gate, and whines. I pick her up, wordlessly deposit her in her bed, and close the door again. These theatrics are repeated twice. My mind is on the homework I have to read, the final paper I need to finish by Saturday, the dinner leftovers that need to go into the fridge.
"Poop!" she shouts from the gate. She calls anything in her diaper "poop". I'm sure it's a ruse, another one of her stalling tactics, but potty training has been difficult and I know I have to take her to the bathroom when she asks. She sits on the potty and pees one more time. I tell her I'm proud of her for telling me that she needed to go potty. Back to her bed she goes.
Not thirty seconds later she's back at the gate. "Food!"
It's 8:00 now. A full hour past bedtime. She didn't eat much of her dinner because she was busy whining. I wonder where my cheerful, agreeable daughter from this morning has gone. I put her back in bed. "Stay there," I order. After a quick reheat of the remains of her dinner plate I return, plop the food down in front of her, and sit in the rocking chair to stew. Soon it's clear that she's not willing to eat at a reasonable pace so I go back to the bed to feed it to her. I resent having to occasionally hand feed my 2-year-old but I'm desperate for her to go to bed.
"Yummy. Meat?" she asks as I pile a cube of tofu into her bird-like mouth.
"Yes," I say. Sure, whatever, kid.
There's still about a quarter left of her dinner of mashed sweet and white potatoes, tomato gravy, and baked tofu with leftover Famous Dave's Georgia Mustard sauce. "I'm glad you like it. Thank you." Another spoonful.
She finishes the last two bites on her own, takes a long drink of water, and immediately lays down. Now thoroughly irritated on the inside, I bend down to kiss her head one more time.
She always knows just what to say to diffuse me.
"Nigh-night, Lily. You drive me crazy, but I love you."