Seconds later, I was running from a sea of red, and my favorite pajamas — white ones with dancing penguins — were covered in pink spots.
The little man who had caused the big mess was frozen in place, avoiding eye contact with me and his father.
Wyatt knew what he did; we knew what he did. The only question was how much trouble he was in.
Part of me wanted to spank Wyatt’s bottom until it was as red as his head and the Kool-Aid soaking into our socks.
It was way too early on a Saturday morning. I was half-awake, and my stomach was rumbling.
Mopping was the last thing that I wanted to be doing.
Wyatt’s punishment was standing on the other side of the baby gate while Zac and I put the kitchen back in order.
Most kids probably would have thought they were getting off easy, but Wyatt acted like separating him from the action was bordering on neglect.
Taking out my frustration on the mop helped me switch into Mommy mode when the clean-up was over.
I held Wyatt tight and stroked his hair as he cried into my shoulder.
I apologized for raising my voice earlier and reminded him why Zac and I are always telling him not to reach for things on counters and other high places.
If the pitcher had been glass instead of plastic, there would have been more red sticky stuff in our floor than Kool-Aid.
Wyatt accepted my gentle scolding better than should be expected of a 22-month-old. As soon as his tears dried, he gave me a grin and a kiss and went bouncing through the house.
I thought about the incident throughout the day and hoped I had handled it correctly.
Now that Wyatt is approaching the terrible 2’s, discipline has become a big discussion around our house.
Wyatt is normally well-behaved, but there are times when he does things he knows he shouldn’t or refuses to do something he is being told to by one or both of us.
In those moments, Wyatt’s baby blue eyes either stare straight back at us without blinking or off into space as he pretends not to hear us.
Such defiance irritates Zac to no end.
He adopts a more authoritative tone so Wyatt will know he means business. If that doesn’t work, Zac gives him a firm pop on the back of the diaper.
Zac has mentioned introducing Wyatt to the concept of timeout, but I think he is still too young to grasp it.
Of course, I will always have a hard time seeing him as anything but a baby.
I agree with Zac that Wyatt is old enough to be taught the difference between right and wrong.
I also understand that we can’t play good cop/bad cop for long. Our son is much too smart and will use that to his advantage at every opportunity.
I’m just have a problem getting comfortable with tough love. I could come down hard on anybody else except my chunky monkey.
I wish Wyatt could stay a perfect little angel forever.
Unfortunately, I know there will come a day when he starts making messes of grown-up proportions, and it will take much more than a mop to fix them.
It has been my experience that no matter how many people try to keep us out of the pigpen, we all end up eating slop like the prodigal son at some point in our life.
But if Zac and I do our job right, Wyatt will find the road that leads home.
I can assure him that a lot of unconditional love — and a big glass of Kool-Aid — will be waiting for him at the end of it.