The DragonMonkey broke into my cabinet and stole my face cream.
For, like, the bazillionth time.
His fascination with skin care products is not a new thing. According to the DragonMonkey, his face is perpetually chapped.
“Egoblart? Medjuck barnephew?”he mumbles sadly, pantomiming rubbing lotion onto his cheeks. The DragonMonkey would kick some serious heiny at charades. It’s pretty impressive how deep of a conversation we can have when 90% of his words are still unintelligible mumbling.
“We just put lotion on twenty minutes ago. You’re fine.”
“Mejduth praphino,” he sighs, looking downcast. He pats his cheeks again, forlornly.
“I know what you’re asking, and the answer is no.”
“Futhipar Greeblwok! Futhipar Greeblwok!” He slaps his cheeks harshly, voice shrill with insistence. Apparently, if he doesn’t reapply lotion right now his entire face will suddenly catch on fire.
“No.” What can I say? I’m an evil, lazy mommy and I didn’t feel like dealing with the inevitable mess that always results when we open a bottle of lotion.
The DragonMonkey throws himself down onto the floor, shrieking inconsolably. I would put him in the corner, but it’s still warm from him standing in it two minutes ago. It kind of loses its effect if you do it too often.
Besides, in order to put him in the corner I’d have to get closer to him. I glance down at him as he howls in rage, slapping his palms against the hardwood floor.
He’s noisy, and I have a headache.
So instead of disciplining I step over him, and wander off to go pet the dog.
“You like me, don’t you, Max?” Bad Max wiggles with delight, body trembling with excitement. “Who’s a good boy? You are? Yes, you are! Good boy! Good boy! Yes, you are!”
Max wiggles in place for a few more seconds, then explodes with happiness. He races in a circle around the grey area rug in the living room, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. He’s a good boy! He’s a good boy! Yes, he is!
The DragonMonkey can’t resist.
“Hahahahahahahahaha! Doggie dance! Doggie dance! Methrophe fizzlebot, boom boom! Doggie Dance!” Magically, the crying shuts off and he darts over to chase the dog around the living room, both of them feeding each other’s happiness.
It’s noisier than ever, but at least it’s a happy noisy. I pick up the Squidgelet from his swing and pop him on my lap. He stares quietly at me, smiling peacefully. I smile back at him, drawn into his quietness.
I spend the next few minutes alternating between smiling at him and tickling him, making him laugh. The DragonMonkey didn’t laugh until he was almost five months old. Squidgelet started at 6 weeks and I’m still infatuated by it. It’s such a novelty having a happy, easy-going baby.
With the distraction of the Squidgelet’s deep, infectious belly laugh it takes a few moments before I realize the house has gone suddenly quiet.
Baby tucked under my arm like a football, I start looking around the house, room by room.
Living Room? Hallway? Boys’ bedroom?
Still. Silent. Abandoned.
Glancing over at our bedroom, which we normally keep locked, I notice the door is cracked open.
As I round the corner from our bedroom to the master bath I hear small scufflings and happy noises. Well, at least I know he wasn’t abducted by aliens.
Of course, when I open the door and survey the damage, there’s a moment where I wish he had been.
Apparently, in the brief moments when I was distracted by his younger brother the DragonMonkey managed to break into the cabinet beside our sink. It’s not like I left it open, either. He even went as far as bringing in the step stool from the backyard in order to reach the prize. And what might that prize be?
My extremely expensive face lotion, which is now smeared in thick, goopy peaks all over his face, arms, the bathroom wall, the shower floor, etc, etc, etc.
“DRAGOMONKEY!?!” At the sound of my voice he jumps, then immediately flings the emptied canister behind the toilet. What is Mama so upset about? There’s nothing in his hands… he’s completely innocent!
Never mind the fact that I’m watching hard earned money drip off his face and splat in age-defying, wrinkle-erasing glops on our bathroom floor.
“Did you get into my lotion again?!”
Suddenly, someone is finding it very hard to meet my eyes.
“Did you get into Mama’s lotion for the THIRD time this week?” Seriously, kid, I’m running out of places to hide it. How do you keep finding it?
“Yeah.” He looks downcast for a moment, almost apologetic, until I see his hand sneaking up and slowly reaching in the direction of the canister for more.
I sigh, and lean down closer. “Because you knew better, this time you will get three spanks for disobeying.” I hold up my fingers. “One, Two, THREE spanks. And if you do it again, you will get five spanks. Do you understand?”
The DragonMonkey bursts out into tears.
Feeling like an ogre, I take his hand and bring him over to the bed. I take my time about it, because it’s the anticipation that’s the real punishment. By the time we get there he’s howling. I take my three fingers and give three light smacks to the bottom – I doubt he even feels them through his diaper. Then he gets two minutes on time out. Afterward, I bring him over to the couch.
“DM, why did you get three spanks?” I hold him between my knees, ruffling my fingers through his hair.
“Methorphith, bleeginorp, mmmndah,” he says miserably, pantomiming opening up my face cream and putting it on his face.
“Yes, that’s right. You used Mama’s face cream and you got three spanks because of it. But I forgive you. Kiss?” He gives me an impatient kiss on my cheek, already bored of the conversation. I release him and he disappears into the backyard to harass the dog.
That’s the end of that, right?
Later that day my stepdad was helping me load him into the car. I was tuning out the constant stream of unintelligible conversation pouring out of the DM’s mouth as I loaded the Squid into his car seat. From the other side of the car I could hear excited chattering, occasionally interspersed with my stepdad’s (Toto, according to the DragonMonkey) absentminded “Uh-huh’s“. Suddenly I heard this:
“Nnjawakcka, methrophit, MAMA HIT.”
I glanced up, sharply. “What was that, DragonMonkey?”
The DragonMonkey looked at me accusingly, then deliberately turned his back. “Mehtrophi, fizzleboth,” he said to his Toto, as he pantomimed grabbing a step-stool and reaching into the back of the cupboard.
“Thriphgopht nonpizzle,” he said, opening up the pretend bottle of face cream and fake-rubbing it into his poor little chapped cheeks.
“Thriphgopht nonpizzle,” he reiterated, glancing at me briefly, before returning his attention back to his grandpa and launching into the grand finale, “MAMA HIT!” He swung his arm wide and feigned a blow that would have downed a horse.
“I did NOT!” I sputtered.
“MAMA HIT!” he said again, this time staring at me as he raised his arm above his head and began to dramatically reenact a world-class beating. “HIT, HIT, HIT. MAMA HIT.”
“Toto,” he said sadly, “Thriphgopht nonpizzle (there I was, just innocently rubbing some lotion into my poor, neglected, chapped little cheeks)…….” he gave a theatrical pause, “MAMA HIT (and then my evil, evil, evil mother burst out of nowhere and began pummeling me!)” By this point he was thoroughly into the retelling of the story, and he began using both arms to illustrate the pretend beating.
My stepdad nodded sadly, eyes twinkling at me. “Is that so?”
The DragonMonkey stared at him gravely and nodded. “Mama HIT.” Smack, smack, smack went his arms as he energetically demonstrated the beating a third time. “Hit,” he said sadly, looking at me, obviously disappointed in my behavior.
Crap. Maybe I liked it better when he couldn’t speak at all. At the rate we’re going, I’m going to be lucky if I don’t end up in prison.