Category Archives: toddlers

The Lion

A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man.

This nugget of wisdom is a Turkish Proverb I found on the Internet.  I looked it up because of an incident that took place at Legoland involving Riley and Mean Boy.

Sometimes Riley acts exactly the way a three-year-old should act – stubborn, silly, irrational, and selfish with his emotions.  Like yesterday morning when he absolutely refused to wear a shirt to camp no matter how much I pleaded, and, in the end, went to camp with no shirt on.  (A Smart Mama knows when she’s fighting a losing battle with a toddler.)  Other times, Riley displays emotional maturity and wisdom far beyond his three years.

On our second afternoon at Legoland, we settled into a restaurant for some much needed lunch, water, and air conditioning.  The facility had a huge Lego play zone visible from almost every table so kids could play while parents ate in peace.

This feature is one of the things I liked the best about Legoland.  (That and the nice service and spotless bathrooms.)

So here’s what happened.  A young boy, probably about five or six years old, started pilfering Legos from Riley’s bucket.  Mean Boy alert!  I saw it happen but didn’t intervene right away.  This is partly because I was hot and exhausted, but mostly because I wanted to see how Riley and Dylan, who was playing next to Riley, would handle the situation on their own.  I saw Mean Boy’s mother walk over and yell, “Hey, don’t take Legos away from little kids!”

A few seconds later, Riley came running over to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mommy, that boy called me a liar.  I…I…I didn’t lie.  I…I…I…I…I’m not a liar.”  (Sometimes Riley stutters when he has a lot to say.)

According to Dylan, the conversation went something like this:

Mean Boy’s Mama: “Don’t take Legos away from little kids!”

Mean Boy: “I didn’t!”

Riley: “Yes, you did.”

Mean Boy: “You’re a liar!”

Mean Boy called Riley a liar.

“Of course you’re not a liar,” I told Riley.  Then I got up and went back over to the play zone with both kids.  At that point, Mean Boy’s mother was gone and Mean Boy was quietly building with the Legos he stole from Riley.  “What’s going on here?” I asked.  No answer.  He ignored me.  I wanted to throw a Lego at Mean Boy’s head, but instead I put some distance between him and my kids.  I set the kids up to play at the opposite side of the play zone.

“Just play here,” I told them, but Riley had other righteous plans. He wanted Mean Boy to say he was sorry for calling him a liar.  I followed him.  Riley said, “I’m…I’m…I’m not a liar,” to which Mean Boy responded, “What are you talking about?  I didn’t call you a liar.  I called you a lion.”

Warning: Remainder of Post Contains Explicit Language

Editor’s Note A:  That Little Shit!  How dare he steal, lie, call Riley a liar, and think he could get away with suggesting it was a misunderstanding!  I kept my mouth shut, but I also wished for him to get a nasty case of pinkeye and a painful sunburn before the day was through.

After the lion comment, I took a deep breath and flat out told Dylan and Riley to stay away from Little Shit Mean Boy, but Riley wouldn’t have it.  He wasn’t a liar, Little Shit Mean Boy didn’t call him a lion, and Riley wanted justice.  I told Riley I knew he wasn’t a liar and that he was right and Little Shit Mean Boy was wrong, but as much as he deserved an apology, he wouldn’t get the response he wanted.  I asked him again to stay away from Little Shit Mean Boy.

What a hard lesson to have to teach a three year old child – that no matter how fair, moral, and honest you strive to be, there are people in this world who are not fair, moral, and honest and who will only ever strive to serve themselves.  What happened next made me a Proud Mama.  Riley pointed to our table and said, “Go back over there, Mommy, okay?  Go back to the table.”   He wanted me to leave so I couldn’t stop him from trying again (and again and again) to defend his honor.  By the time I finally gave in (I’m still working on picking my battles), Little Shit Mean Boy was gone.  Good riddance.

Riley is a lion.  A fearless, courageous lion with a big, beautiful, brave lion heart.


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Filed under Legoland, Legos, Proud Mama, Smart Mama, toddlers

Silver Lining

Believe it or not, it is possible to spend too much time with your children.  It was a long weekend filled with mishaps, misfortune, and aggravation, and Riley, in particular, left me with an overwhelming desire to run for the hills and never look back.  Since I’m not one to surrender to cynicism (well, not usually), I searched deep within myself to find a silver lining in each and every unpleasant incident that occurred over the weekend.

Like on Saturday morning when I spent three hours on a hot-as-hell soccer field watching Riley and Dylan not play soccer.  Riley clung to me for dear life the whole time, and Dylan spent the hot morning complaining that he was too tired to play.  At least it didn’t rain!

Like on Saturday afternoon when Grandma Barbara and I took Dylan and Riley to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits and the air conditioner in the theater didn’t work well (and I was still sweating from soccer) and Riley insisted on sitting squirming on my lap through the whole movie.  At least we weren’t at soccer!

Like on Saturday afternoon after the movie when Riley peed all over the bathroom floor (right next to the toilet) and then pooped in his pants an hour later.  At least it happened at home instead of the movie theater!

Like on Sunday morning when Riley woke up soaking wet in his bed and then peed all over the bathroom floor (right next to the toilet…again) an hour later.  At least the washer and dryer worked!

Like on Sunday morning when I had to bribe Riley with mini marshmallows to wear nice shorts to the theater where we were going to see a live performance of Clifford The Big Red Dog with Grandma Barbara.  At least he didn’t pee in the nice shorts once we got them on!

Like later in the morning when Riley sat squirmed in my lap for over an hour during the Clifford show.  At least I took this beautiful picture of the boys with their Grandma Barbara at the theater!

(Actually, it really was a lovely morning.  Thank you, Barbara, for taking us to the show.)

Like on Sunday afternoon when Riley pooped in a wet bathing suit at the pool.  I didn’t know he pooped until I got him to the bathroom and a big, huge, wet poop fell onto the floor when I pull down his shorts.  At least he didn’t poop in the pool!

Like an hour later when, after he was bathed and dressed, Riley pooped in his pants again.  At least he didn’t poop on Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Tom’s leather suede couch!  At least I wasn’t there!  (Thank you, Barbara and Tom, for recognizing the I-need-a-time-out-from-Riley look in my eyes and graciously offering to watch the boys for an hour so I could regain my composure over a glass of wine with my sister-in-law and her friend.)

Like on Sunday evening when the boys and I got a flat tire on our way home from Barbara and Tom’s.  At least we weren’t on the highway!  At least Mike was able to relieve me and wait for AAA while I took the boys home!  At least I remembered to pay our annual AAA membership dues!  (Seriously, AAA rocked…and so did Mike.)

Like today when I took the car to Tire Kingdom to replace the spare and the tire I needed wasn’t in stock and had to be special ordered.  At least I didn’t have to hang out in the sad little Tire Kingdom waiting room for an hour!

More than anything else, Riley’s regressions and “terrible threes” behavior this weekend made Dylan look really, really good.  (Note to self:  Have Dylan say thank you to Riley after school.)

What I want more than anything is to have a break so I can better appreciate the time I spend with my children.  Reuniting with them – seeing their beautiful smiles, feeling their warm hugs, and absorbing their unconditional love – after having some distance is a gift and something I’d like to experience a little bit more often.  Unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.  At least it’s Monday!

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Filed under motherhood, regression, toddlers, Uncategorized