I was backstabbed by a 3-year-old…and I didn’t even see it coming.
Let me back up to last week, which was pretty rough overall. My toddler was sick, so we were at home a lot more than usual. Playdates, preschool and trips to the park were replaced with coughing, whining/whine and misery. My boy is a stage-5 clinger even when he is not sick, so the attachment totally magnifies when he doesn’t feel well.
Since I am incapable of sitting still, and always have to be doing something–or at least making a list (or two) of the things I’m going to do–I was going crazy. My poor baby was miserable, we were stuck at home, and…I just knew I was probably going to catch his cold (which yep, a couple of days later, I sure did). So, I thought I would cram as many chores possible into one day before the illness turned me into a Mombie.
I was a tenacious animal on a mission. As my angel slept, I swayed across the house with my Lysol wipes and rubbed down countertops, door knobs and every other spot that had dirt, crayon, cheese or sticky little handprints. The toilets didn’t stand a chance against my scrubbing. The floors were clean, trash cans emptied and baseboards free of dust. It was like I was doing a CrossFit workout for time: How much s*!t I could clean before the little one wakes up. When I was done, I admired my work and was smiling like that tubby little lady in Poltergeist who said, “This house is clean!”
But wait a minute, I thought. I still have laundry to do!
Not knowing how long he would be asleep, I scurried to get the clothes sorted and started in the washer. Things were rolling along well as my sick boy slept and snored with his mouth wide open. I was happy he was getting much-needed rest, and that I was tearing things up on the home front.
The neurotic person I am, I don’t always fully dry all of the clothing items for fear of shrinking them. There was a hoodie shrinkage incident about five years ago that my hubby still brings up, so I need to redeem myself. So anyway, I went into the workout room/train room (my toddler is absolutely obsessed with trains, which have pretty much taken over the house) to drape some clothes on the perfect drying spot…our treadmill.
Unfortunately, as I tip toed around my hubby’s Lionel train set to get to the treadmill, I misjudged space and nudged one of the coal cars over. I gasped! All of the little black coal pieces were spilled on the floor, just laughing at me and my clumsiness.
I knew I had to act fast…but it was too late. The door flung open and my son walked in, eyes bugging out at what he discovered. In his cute, yet demanding little toddler voice, he shrieked, “Mommy! You knocked over daddy’s coal car! You need to be more careful!”
Undoubtedly there was fear in my eyes. Panic seized me. I felt kind of queasy. Not only was I scrambling to pick things up and place them back perfectly so my hubby wouldn’t know what I did, but I was being scolded by my three-year-old!
I tried to regain a sense of calm and patience at this chaos and toddler chiding I was currently enduring. I told my son that mommy made a mistake, and that I needed him to stop yelling at me and to please help me pick things up. His face lit up and he said, “I will help you, Mommy!”
Hooray, I thought, feeling enabled and like I was on the road to redemption. We quickly picked up every last bit of the miniature coal pieces, straightened out the coal cars on the track and gave each other a high five. I then did something I have never done before: I asked my three-year-old to keep a secret.
I explained that we should not ever tell daddy about how mommy knocked over the coal car. I told him that everything was ok now, and nothing was broken, so there was no need to tell daddy and upset or worry him. My baby boy said, “Ok, Mommy! It’s our sssssssecret.”
We both put our fingers to our mouths, smiled and said, “Ssssshhhh.” Then it was off to play a little and snuggle. It was like it didn’t even happen, and relief took over.
An hour later, I heard the front door opening, and daddy was home. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The sweet boy who calls me his best friend, who is attached at my hip almost 24/7, who had just put his finger to his mouth and said, “Ssssshhh,” the one I carried for 9 months and was in labor with for nearly 20 hours, the one who had previously thrown up all over me (even got some in my eye), was running to the door. And wouldn’t you know what his words were? Yep.
“DADDY! DADDY! Mommy knocked over your coal car!”
I think I died. I don’t know why I ever convinced myself that my toddler would keep a secret, let alone a secret about trains. My husband turned his head so fast at me with concern in his eyes. Our son was fixated on showing daddy the train room. I felt like I was punched in the stomach. My baby, the one I adore, love to pieces and would do anything for, was…a SNITCH!
After our boy was satisfied with his snitching, and the dust settled, he came over and gave me a kiss on the arm. He was still my sweet boy, but he betrayed me. I was numb. My husband bluntly said, “Andee, he is just three. You can’t seriously expect him to keep a secret.”
Deep down I knew that, but I thought there was a chance! Oh, well.
I guess next time I just need to be more careful around trains…and get my toddler to do a pinky swear.