In which I earn the badge of parenting bravery

Sometimes Ollie is just a 3 year old from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. By which I mean that, for no good reason at all, he can be so ornery and obstinate that he can make a mule look like a helpful angel.

It was just such an occasion. I don’t even remember what set him off; it was probably nothing. One minute we’re fine, the next minute he’s melting down. I was doing some project around the house, crawling around and cleaning. I was covered with dust, but I was the closest to him, so managing him fell to me. We’re talking full out rage. His face was red and he was punching and kicking me. I was trying to talk to him, to calm him down, but he was just screaming at the top of his lungs.

I was sitting on his legs so he couldn’t kick me and holding his hands so he couldn’t hit me, when an enormous piece of dust fell off my shoulder and floated oh-so-gently down at him. Unfortunately, since he was full out, vein-popping, rage shrieking, his mouth was wide open when the dust fluttered straight in.

This thing was big. Like, dime sized. Somehow he didn’t notice it. Ugh, it was gross. It settled onto one of his teeth, darkening with the moisture. I couldn’t take it.

“Ollie buddy, you have something in your mouth. Let me get it out.”

No dice. As soon as I mentioned it, he clamped his mouth shut as tight as he could, locking the dust inside. I tried not to gag.

“Ollie, buddy, please. Open up, you have something yucky in your mouth.”

Defiantly, he shook his head back and forth, with murder in his eyes.

I had to get that dust out. I had to. He was probably swallowing it as I watched, just to spite me. However, he was too mad to keep that mouth shut, and he soon commenced screaming again. The dust was still in there, taunting me. I needed to reach in and get it. If I moved fast it could be over and done with before he even knew what was going on. On the other hand, if I moved slow, I knew he would not hesitate to bite my finger off. I could see it in his eyes. He wanted me to put my fingers in his mouth. He wanted it bad.

There was no reasoning with him. There was no leaving it in there.

One. Two. Three.

I dropped my fingers between his teeth, snatched the dust ball, and pulled back, before he could even react.

That’s parenting in a nutshell: you just can’t let your raging, maniac son swallow the dust bunny, even if it costs you a finger.

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