My big five year old has a Cleveland Browns pillow pet named Scruffy that goes absolutely everywhere with us. This stuffed animal sees the speech therapist every week. It rides in the car with us every day to school and has eaten out with us at restaurants all over town. (And by "eaten" I mean "eaten"- the dog usually gets his own plate and silverware.) We tear the house apart at bedtime looking for the last place Scruffy was left. Because Scruffy travels everywhere with us I am constantly reminding my big five year old, "Don't forget your dog!"
I am used to this, because when he was a toddler this same boy attached himself to his sleep sheep, brilliantly named "Sheepy". This sheep had Velcro tabs to attach to the crib and a hard plastic insert where the "brains" played soothing sounds. Shortly after the sheep started traveling with us the "brains" were removed in an unfortunate middle of the night hotel room bed sharing incident. Sheepy quickly became much more comfortable to roll over onto...
After Sheepy we had "Froggy" join us for a while. The day we left Froggy in the library and didn't realize it until after we had walked 3 blocks back to the car, buckled in the tiny toddler, and stashed the stroller in the trunk was a sad day...
So now we have Scruffy. He is much larger than the other animals who have joined our family over the years. He knocks over drinks and takes up valuable real estate in the grocery cart. But he goes everywhere with us.
Which is how I wound up in a Walmart bathroom yesterday with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a large purse, and Scruffy. I don't like Walmart and I try to never go there, but one of our banks is located inside this store so occasionally I find myself there. My boys, on the other hand, LOVE this store. They beg to visit the toy section. Yesterday my tiny toddler added the holiday section to his list of favorite places insides Walmart. He has a thing for "Ho Ho". If it were up to him our front yard would look like an elf threw up.
My entire entourage shuffled into the large handicap stall and my big five year old immediately threw Scruffy on the floor and then sat down next to him.
"Get off the floor!" "Why?" "It's dirty! And pick up Scruffy!" "His name is Huntley!" "What?" "His name is Huntley, Mommy!" (Obviously his little brother's new addiction to Curious George has rubbed off on him a little. If you don't know who Huntley is then you do not have small children addicted to curious monkeys.)
"OK, you and Huntley need to get off the floor, now!"
"Alex, don't flush the potty. No, Alex, hands down." Alex, NO!"
"Mommy, if I have to turn around anyways and not watch you pee then why can't I just wait outside?" "Because this is a big store and you might not be safe outside the bathroom. You have to stay with me." "I'd be safe, Mommy. I would just chop anyone who tried to talk to me!" He karate chops the air, showing me the moves he is learning in his martial arts class at China school. "OK honey, I am glad you can karate chop your way out of stranger danger but you are staying here with us!"
"Pee? Me pee! Me pee!" "OK honey, you can pee in a minute." "Me pee NOW!" I know better than to get in the way of a 3 year old in the throes of potty training, so I abdicated the throne, so to speak.
"He doesn't really have to pee, Mommy. He just wants to do it because you are doing it." "Well we're not taking that chance!" "Mommy, Huntley has to pee too!" OK, now I have to draw the line there. I really had to pee, and letting the tiny toddler jump ahead of me in line was one thing, but a stuffed dog? No way!
"Mommy! He really has to pee! Uh oh, Huntley just peed all over the floor."
After helping the tiny toddler off the very high potty and sending him to the other side of the large stall to work on zipping up his pants I started the process all over again. "Turn around, honey and get off the floor! Pick up that dog!" "I have to go potty now Mommy!" oh. my. goodness.
Five long minutes later I have finished helping the tiny toddler zip up his pants. I have stood with my face in the corner in order to give the big five year old "privacy". "Mommy! I need PRIVACY!" I have picked up Huntley off the floor countless times. I have taken my wallet out of the tiny toddler's hands no less than 6 times and figured out why the toilet paper wouldn't unroll. By the time it is finally my turn to go my boys have worked together to strap the tiny toddler into the child seat hanging off the wall. Which was no easy feat seeing as he was holding Huntley, so technically both of them were strapped in. Feet swinging, no need to pee, he was obviously one happy little guy, and what do happy little guys do? That's right. "Jesus lubs me, tis me know. Fo the bible tell me so..."
"Mommy? Does Jesus like Huntley too?" "Jesus loves everyone." "Not bad guys who steal and hurt people." "Yes, honey, everyone." "Well, he likes Huntley more." "Yes, sweetie, I am sure Jesus has a special place in his heart for Huntley."
"Mommy, if I threw Huntley into those bushes in front of speech therapy do you think the bees would come out and sting me or sting Huntley? Because it was Huntley who flew into their bush, not me. So I don't think they would sting me. Do you think they would sting me? Mommy? MOMMY?" (Mind you, we haven't been to speech therapy in over a week. We haven't been anywhere near the building, and no one was talking about speech therapy, Bridget the therapist, or bees.)
"Well, I think if Huntley flew into the bushes the bees might fly out and sting you, so let's not do that, OK?" My happy tiny toddler stopped singing Jesus Loves Me and starting buzzing like a bee. Like a loud bee. A loud, angry bee.
Suddenly, in a very Incredible Hulk kind of move, the tiny toddler broke free from the straps holding him into the baby seat and leapt out of the seat, landing on one knee on the floor, like a tiny little buzzing rock star. The stuffed dog, which had been strapped in the seat with him, goes flying up in the air, towards me. I catch it, prompting my big five year old to loudly shout, "Wow Mommy! I have never seen you do that before on the potty!" The tiny toddler clapped and cheered.
And then I heard it. Laughter. From another stall.
The next time I am out alone with both my boys, and Huntley, I think I'll just hold it until we get home....