The Moral of the Story Is: Don't Whine
I am standing in the bathroom, dabbing Neosporin on the bloody patch where my teeth scraped a layer of skin off my lip. Miraculously, this is the first time Austen's managed to draw blood with one of his heat-butts; surprisingly, this is one of the few times he didn't draw tears. I knew the skin was gone immediately, and it hurt immediately—though the sting is just starting to build up steam now—and yet I calmly said to Al, seconds after it happened, "I'm going downstairs to get some ice."
Austen is running around the bedroom with a piece of apple in his hand, and between Neosporin dabs I say, "Austen! Stop running around with that apple! You're going to choke!"
It's been a trying day. I mentioned a couple months ago that I wasn't sure whether to wish that Austen would hurry up and start talking, or whether I should be grateful that he wasn't driving me nuts with chatter all day. I can now claim to be firmly in the HURRY UP AND START TALKING camp. I am sick to death of the whining and the gesturing and the melting down when I fail to guess what he wants in three tries or fewer. (I can also do without the tantrums when I guess what he wants right away, but there's no way in hell he's getting it, but that's not related to the not talking.) We all know now that when my patience wears thin it's not good for anyone in the household (or anyone within a 30-mile radius, for that matter); how this managed to remain a secret for so long, I'll never understand, but the point is that Al at least is now well aware of the consequences of wearing on my last nerve. Austen should know, too, and yet the whining continues. Yes, I see you signing "please". Please WHAT? WHAT DO YOU WANT???
We were supposed to go see the Red Sox play the Orioles down at Camden Yards, but as it was pouring rain at 2pm (the game was scheduled for 4:35, and Baltimore is 2 hours away), and the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees, we decided to hope that our $120 worth of tickets would be redeemable on another day (although probably not for a Red Sox game). We were at the mall listening to Austen whine and cry and sign "please" and gesture vaguely when we heard that after a 90-minute rain delay, the game had started. The erosion of my patience had left a gaping wound into which this announcement was poured like a ton of salt.
It's 7:30pm now, and I have fed Austen dinner—or rather, he fed himself a container of unsweetened strawberry applesauce, a Cerignola olive, and half of a cannoli. He ignored the two pieces of pineapple he fished out of the container himself because I stuck a fork in one of them for him. He refused milk because I poured it, and avocado because I handed it to him on a toothpick. These days, he wants nothing unless he can get it for himself without interference.
I have also bathed Austen myself tonight because Al is out of commission with either food poisoning or the general malaise (fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, and nausea, on top of a lingering sinus infection) that has been plaguing me for the past week. The pre-bath routine involved more whining, crying, and vague gesturing on Austen's part and outright shouting on mine. I tried to be reasonable, to try to explain that all the whining was getting to me, and that I WANTED to get him what HE wanted, if he would only TELL me what he wanted, but of course it did no good. I finally managed to get him into the tub, calmed down, cleaned up, and out again, and after another short crying jag while I tried to get his pajama bottoms on, we were finally playing happily on the bed. This was when he bashed me in the mouth with that enormous noggin of his.
So anyway, Al is flopped on the bed looking like death warmed over and handing a very hyper Austen pieces of apple. I am inspecting my wound (the physical one, not the psychic one) in the bathroom mirror. Austen is running around the room, shrieking through his mouthful of half-chewed apple, even though I have explicitly shouted STOP RUNNING AROUND WITH THAT APPLE! more than once. Suddenly there is a crash and an apple-choked scream, followed by serious, "I'm injured!" crying. Al crawls out of the bed to pick Austen up off the floor, and I dash over and start fishing pieces of apple out of Austen's mouth so he doesn't inhale one of them. He reaches for me, of course, and I take him. I doubt he understands why I'm unable to comfort him properly, or what I'm talking about when I mention the boy who whined wolf. He does, however, understand that it's time for bed. He kisses Daddy good night and waves goodbye, and we go upstairs to his room. I don't sing because of my raw and stinging lip and my just-under-the-surface irritation, but he falls asleep in my arms within 10 minutes anyway. Hopefully by the time Al brings him to me for his morning cuddle tomorrow, my patience will be full up again.
It'll also help if he's learned a few words.