The Diminishing Power of NO

10 Mar

We have been busy. Stupid busy… Doing nothing, it seems, but going to parks, eating, changing diapers, and saying NO. NO – get off the table. NO – don’t stand on the back of the couch. NO hitting. NO pushing. NO – don’t whack your sister with that toy. NO – screaming in the restaurant. NO – licking the bottom of your shoe (this occurs horrifyingly often). NO – grabbing the butt of the lady standing next to us on the subway (luckily not as often). NO – playing with the cell phone/house phone/remote control. You get the idea.

I remember a time in the not so distant past when a firm NO would stop my children in their tracks. Not so anymore. TwinXY’s face takes on a blank, yet inquisitive expression that says, “What is this word NO? Whatever could it mean??? I am sure it is not that important, so I will continue doing (whatever it is) I am doing.” TwinXX’s look says, “Is that a dare?”

I have had three remarkably ineffective NO’s this week:
NO – do not get on the elevator without Mommy. Me, TwinXX, TwinXY, the stroller, the diaper bag, and a large bag of clothing on its way to the laundry get off the elevator at the second floor lobby, from which we have to take a staircase to get to the first floor lobby. I have the kids next to me, but my hands are full with bags and stroller. As I am putting everything down so I can get the kids safely down the staircase, TwinXY takes off – through the closing doors of the elevator – and is whisked away to the 13th floor. I can hear him screaming in terror through the elevator shaft. (Which, knowing now that everything turned out fine, is actually pretty funny. Snicker.) The elevator tops out at 13, stops again at 7, but I can still hear his wailing so I am confident he is still on the lift. I decide to run up the fire stairs so I can meet him on 3, because the management office is on that floor, and it always stops there… I dump everything in the lobby, scoop up TwinXX, and run up the stairs, praying he makes no more stops between 7 and 3. I arrive on 3, the doors open, and I am greeted by 7 adult passengers completely bewildered by the hysterical child who is hiding at the back of the lift. I get every look you would expect in such a situation. Lovely.
NO – do not go near the stairs without Mommy. It is the very next day. We need to go pick up the laundry and grab a bite to eat. After the elevator incident from the day before, I make the grand decision to take only the diaper bag so I don’t have to mess with the stroller and I can keep a closer eye on my precious punkins. After all, we are only going around the block, right? (mildly relevant background: Dare-devil TwinXX had a recent-ish appointment with a coffee table that required 17 stitches in her forehead; a short month previous, she had an encounter with a window sill that earned her 7 stitches in the eyebrow. So we stop as we usually do, to apply SPF 50 to her scars before we go out because sun exposure could cause them to turn permanently dark.) I make sure TwinXY is SITTING next to me. I am in the midst of squirting the sunscreen when TwinXX bolts. No warning, and she is fast. Off to the stairs! Stair 1, clear, stair 2, clear, I am running after her… Stair 3 must have a hidden launch pad in it because she flys – forehead straight to stair 4 and rolls down the next 3 steps to the landing below. It was like a terrible slow motion clip in a movie and all I could do was watch in horror and disbelief. Thankfully she stood up with a bloody nose and a goose-egg, and started climbing the steps to get back up to me. She is battered and bruised, but alright. I, on the other hand, am a wreck. The entire property management team is freaking out and they spend the next hour in our flat taking care of her with an old Chinese egg remedy (which worked like a charm). Do I need to mention that we never made it to the laundry? I need wine.
NO – do not play with/get in/dismantle the diaper bag. I know this mysterious bag is full of wonderful things like snacks and cups and things that look like they are for baby – and they are – but that doesn’t mean that everything in there is safe (or wise) to play with.You know that moment when things are just too quiet? It was far too quiet for 8:30 am – in fact I couldn’t believe I was still asleep! Ahhhh – so peaceful, so quie… wait, something must be wrong. I jump up from the bed (in a slight panic) to the site of two seemingly happy and occupied toddlers. Everything looks cool until I realize that the contents of the diaper bag are all over the floor. I run a quick safety check, scooping up the “danger” items as I see them – Purell, check. Nail clippers, check. Neosporin, check. Tylenol, check. Tweezers, check. Sunscreen, diaper cream, hand lotion, all here. Whew, close call! Twin XY is busy playing with the velcro tab on a diaper – no biggie – and TwinXX is busy with… my hot pink lipgloss. She was adept enough to get it on both her face and her doll’s face before painting the beige microfiber couch in our furnished rental apartment. I unwittingly utter the day’s first sigh of defeat at 8:33 am, turn to my trusty friend Google for a magic cleaner solution, and opt for the Breakfast of Champions -Mommy Division – coffee with a Tylenol chaser and a handful of animal crackers.

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One Response to “The Diminishing Power of NO”

  1. Jan March 11, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    OMG! This is so funny but then again NOT. Can you say HARNESS – – -order them and quick!! Jeep Baby 3-in-1 Backpack Safety HARNESS buy TWO (2)!!

    Please stay safe! Two year old syndrome has begun!

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