Our good friends Vic and Alicia had a wedding to go to in Virginia. So they asked us if we could look after their 3-year-old son Victor (who is also our godson), as well as their dog Muggles. So if you’re counting, that’s me, MJ, two 3-year-olds, two cats and two dogs. All in our 1,100-square-foot condo.
I have to admit, I was frazzled.
Sometimes I have all I can handle just with Will. Now here was Vic, a sweet and gentle giant of a kid (his dad is 6’4″), who is thrust in a strange place without his parents and on Will’s turf. I quickly discovered a few things that promptly drove me to drink:
- You can give toddlers the exact same toys, yet they will STILL find a way to fight
- Whining is contagious. If one starts, the other is sure to follow
- Never—and I mean NEVER—buy/adopt a puggle
Will is an only child and as such we can’t help but lavish attention on him. So when I took some of that attention and paid it towards Vic, Will was not happy. He cried and he whined and he was just acting like an awful spoiled brat. I sent him to his room and put him in timeout more times this weekend than in the previous three months combined. There was hitting, biting, complaining, spilling, refusal to eat meals…all the while punctuated by a miniature hound of Satan who does nothing but bark in a crazed howling manner for prolonged periods of time.
My freak-out moment came when they couldn’t agree on a movie to watch. It was not my finest moment:
ME: “OK. Vic, what do you wanna watch?”
VIC: “How to Train Your Dragon.”
ME: “Will, do you wanna watch that movie?”
WILL (in hysterics): “NOOOO! I WANNA WATCH BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!!”
ME: “Calm down Will. Alright. So Vic, can you watch Beauty and the Beast?”
VIC (also now in hysterics): “I WANNNNNT DRAGGGGOOOOOONNNN!”
ME: “OK, OK…how about we compromise and watch Cars instead?”
VIC & WILL (simultaneously whiny): “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
ME: “That’s it! No more. I’ve had it! You’re watching A Bug’s Life. And the first person who whines or leaves this bed is going to be fed to a dragon!”
I was DONE! But after I turned on the movie and spent a couple of minutes outside the room calming down, I poked my head back in and what I saw melted my heart.
Both kids were laying in our bed watching the movie. Will was trying to get comfortable but when he laid down he couldn’t see the TV. Vic noticed and, without saying a word, took one of his pillows and put it under Will’s head so he could prop himself up and watch the movie. Will responded with a sweet “Thanks Victor” and gave him a quick hug. Then they both went back to silently watching A Bug’s Life.
Having another kid in our house was frustrating, and I truly believe having just one kid is so much easier. All of the whining, fighting and battling really frayed my nerves and at times I felt like I was careening towards a mental breakdown. The whole experience really convinced me of one important thing:
I want another kid. Badly.
If there was any kind of fairness in the universe, Will would already have a brother or sister. Alexandra would be more than four months old today. Will would be used to feeding her bottles and telling her stories.
In a few months she’d get to crawling, then walking and soon we wouldn’t have to worry about Will sharing because she would’ve just started taking shit from him. Like all younger siblings, she would’ve started the fight, tricked him into getting in trouble and gotten off lightly. That’s how it was with my little brother Nate, and it would’ve really been something to watch Will transform from a self-centered toddler into a slightly less self-centered older brother.
So it was a tough weekend. Not only because I learned what life is like with another kid in the house, but also because we were reminded of what life is like without one.