I know. You thought you were safe. You were at home, in bed, in the country you usually fall asleep in, and you hadn’t heard from this blog in months. It seemed the happiness might not ever end.
Then the heart is ripped out of your Monday morning as it becomes clear I pulled the Full MacArthur and have, despite no indication of invitation whatsoever, indeed returned…and you’re the Filipinos, dear readers.
The nicest thing to be said about The Full MacArthur is that military uniforms look dashing. It’s been a loooong six months, readers. I don’t do much dashing these days. I sort of waddle after my son, half-halfheartedly saying, “no, wait, stop, whatever,” while he breaks the land speed record in his age group in Running Towards People We’ve Not Met and Asking Them for Cheerios. Despite my lack of military training and acumen, (not to mention I have inner thighs melded together like two warm loaves in a bread machine), I am Gen. MacArthur. You’ll see.
My two year old son has a lot of incredible skills now. I really, really wish I could understand his brain’s prioritization method. For example, he now picks out his own T-shirt, insists on wearing socks and his favorite tennis shoes, and his major hobbies include scrubbing his baby toothbrush all over his lips and eating non-fluoride toothpaste as he washes his hands with my expensive body lotion. He’s a stylin’ little man with clean teeth and pampered skin. He enjoys doing all of this every day.
Yet he screams the howls of the damned when we insist on changing his diaper after he’s pooped. It’s so strange. He’s not attached to the urine, and he will wear another diaper. It seems to be the turd itself he’s grown fond of. I’m half afraid I could tell him I just want to put the turd in a nicer looking diaper and he’d let me do that. You can see how my skill set has improved; never once, even as a joke, have I offered him a turd-replacement program because, god help me, I am learning.
The thing is, Eduardo treats these like battle maneuvers! He’s willing to lull me into a false complacency because it seems like my tiny baby is now so big. He can do so many things, he’s practically a man. Then he unleashes the dogs of war over his bowel movements and I am so, so lost.
He really can do so many things now! He plays on the deck, he sits in the living room, he runs back to his room, he even sits up at the dinner table when we eat. Sidenote: the table is 75% covered in stuff we’ve brought in but not dealt with yet, so we eat on a corner of it like those sad people you see on Hoarders. Anyway. He goes all of these places now, has toys and activities he associates with each place, always learning new things about what we do in each location. Each location offers fun things: here we watch TV! Here we eat yummy hot dogs! Here we play with Oscar! Here we insist you nap in bed even though we know you lay down in front of the door and sleep there!
Every place has good stuff, is my point. But Eddie doesn’t care about that stuff. TV, cars, kitty cat, that stuff is for one year old babies. He’s two and a half now. All he seems to do is find crazier ways to be defiantly naughty while hurting himself, or, at the very least, hurting someone else. Eddie is the son of General MacArthur, you see? Eddie’s eye-to-brain filter must sound like the inside of a military forward operating base:
Soldier, situation report.
Sir, I have eyes on three possible weak spots. The enemy could climb to the top of the couch and jump off the back. It’s eight unprotected feet onto the wooden landing. He could crawl under this table and foment insurrection by dumping all of the cat’s food into the water. I like our chances of being able to crash the toy bulldozer into the screen of the TV, and I suggest we send a scout to find out if someone could fall and kill themselves trying to climb on the leather ottoman to see out the front window.
Understood, that’s a negative on that ottoman, repeat ottoman is a no-go. Rear unit reporting you can go outside and push the deck chair to the railing so you can fall onto the shed. Join up with them and proceed to the yard to discuss scaling the fence that leads to the busy street.
Sir, I already know I can try to push the deck gate open so tumbling down the wooden stairs onto the concrete would be a piece of cake. SNAFU though–getting to the deck requires the door and I only remember how to use a door knob bout half the time. I want to proceed towards the back hall. Intelligence suggests opening the toilet bowl lid and seeing how much trouble could be stirred up by scooping up toilet water with the bath toys then drinking it while we slide down the stairs on the bathmat.
Roger that, MacArthur. 5:30 is chow in the mess hall, and we do mean mess, soldier. Do your very worst. Over and out.
My final clue that MacArthur and I are sharing brain space is that he knew the power of a good, strategic retreat. Gotta say, that’s been damn useful. We can’t fight every battle every time. Eddie’s very worst offenses (hurting our pet) can’t be treated like the stupid stuff (throwing food at dinner). It’s just the stupid stuff happens soooooooooooooooo maaaaaaaaaany times a day. He knows he’s doing it, too, so then it becomes a question of limit testing. But I gotta say, I’m holding the line on the poop offensive. Because it is. It is rankly offensive, especially in 100 degree heat.
So, as things progress this summer in our battle to reclaim the house, I hope to let you know how much ground my son let’s me pretend I’ve made. Until then, this is Douglas MacArthur, signing off. Good day to you, Filipinos!