Day One. I awake to the doorbell. My toddler son has not yet crawled into bed with me to snuggle as he usually does, so I shuffled quietly down the hall to answer the door.
To my great shock, it's my son — in just his boxers and t-shirt — with a big grin on his face. I profusely thank the two women that have brought him home. As soon as I get my son inside, I ask him what he thinks he was doing.
"I ran away!" he informs me jubilantly.
We talk about him leaving the house without an adult and I give him his first lecture on strangers. I'm pretty satisfied that he won't do that again, and why not? It worked with his brother and sisters.
So later, while he is happily snacking at the table and watching his favorite show, I slip off to quickly dress for the day. Less than a minute later, at the exact moment I am down to my birthday suit, the doorbell rings. Fearing that my son will answer it, I rush to make myself decent.
AGAIN I find my child outside in the company of the same women that had helped earlier.
This second episode kicks my mom-guilt into overdrive. How stupid am I? What kind of mother am I? Have I finally won the Darwin award?
I march my son down the hall to my room and make him sit on a time-out while I dress. I now have a reluctant and sullen but permanent shadow.
Day Two. My son uses the potty all by himself. He announces that he has to go, runs down the hall and does his business. USUALLY he skips back to announce his achievement. This does not happen today.
I discover that the bathroom door is closed and locked.
"Open this door RIGHT NOW."
"No!" He's laughing.
I demand. He opens the door. He takes a time-out.
Later, I step out front to let the dog in and my son rushes to close the door behind me. And locks it.
"Open this door right now!"
"No, no, noo-ooo-o!"
This is about the time when a mother realizes her worst fear. The child is in charge…and he knows it. Thank goodness I have my "I mean it" voice down pat. A wary little boy opens the door and thus begins the wailing and gnashing of teeth as he is sent to his room indefinitely.
"But I sorry, Momma!"
"You better believe it."
It might take a few deadbolts and a key on a chain around my neck, but I'm going to survive this twerp and live to see the day he has kids just like him.