As is our custom at bedtime, I had the boys bathe, dress in their pajamas, brush their teeth, and listen to a Bible story. After our regular bedtime routine, the boys said their prayers and hopped into bed. Then, I kissed them on their cheeks and crept out of their rooms. From each room, I could hear their sweet little voices call out.
"I love you, Mommy!"
"Goodnight!" I replied with a smile. "I love you, too!"
I tiptoed to my room and turned on the computer. There was a stack of papers that desperately needed organization. As I sat in my chair to peruse the pile, a little boy peeked around the doorway. "You need to go back to sleep." I said as I eyed him from the corner of my eye.
"I need to go potty." Son #2 whispered from around the dark corner.
"O.K." I sighed. "Let's go potty."
Son #2 pranced to the restroom. He pulled down his pants and underwear. Then, he sat on the toilet and proceeded to potty in the toilet. He grinned at me proudly. "I did it! I did potty in the toilet!" He cried.
"Good job!" I cheered. "Now, flush the toilet and I'll help you get dressed."
Son #2 obeyed quickly. With the toilet flushed and my little boy clothed once more, we turned the water on at the sink to wash his hands. Son #2 poured a huge glob of soap onto the palms of his hands. He rubbed the soap across his fingers with delight and then watched the water from the faucet rinse the soap away. When he was finished, my youngest son looked at me thoughtfully and said. "I need to go potty."
"What? You already went potty." I countered.
"I need to go potty." My youngest son insisted.
"Fine." I rolled my eyes. I knelt down to help my son onto the toilet again. Once he was finished sitting on the toilet, we flushed, dressed, and washed his hands for a second time. "Good job going potty again." I said encouragingly. "Now, let's go to bed."
"O.K." Son #2 replied with a laugh. As he crawled into bed, my youngest son whispered. "I need to go potty."
A black cloud of irritation began to form over my head. I wrinkled my nose and squinted my eyes at my little monkey sitting ever so innocently in his bed. "You just went potty. There is no more potty in your rear." I argued.
"I need to go potty." Son #2 responded with determination.
"Fine. Let's go potty." I said as I led Son #2 to the restroom for a third time. This time as he sat on the toilet, my youngest son sang and played with his bath time toys. I leaned against the sink waiting for him to use the restroom. As time passed, I began to wonder if my little guy was constipated. "Baby, is the poo poo stuck in your butt?" I asked.
"No." Son #2 smiled.
"Do you need to go potty?" I asked again.
"No." Son #2 continued to play.
"Then why are you sitting on the potty?" I continued.
"Because I playing." Son #2 said seriously.
"Alright." I said in a no nonsense voice. "Time to get off the potty and go to bed." Son #2 hopped off the toilet. We dressed, washed hands, and jumped back into bed. "Goodnight." I whispered as I kissed my youngest son's forehead.
"Goodnight, Mommy." Son #2 said as he fidgeted with his stuffed animals.
I returned to my computer and began to sort through the unopened envelopes. Soon, I was completely absorbed by the work laying on my desk. Ten minutes passed uneventfully. Then, I heard a pattering of little feet running across the house. "Go back to bed!" I called out from my room.
There was no answer. The only noise I heard was a persistent scampering across the living room and kitchen floor. I called out once more. "Go back to bed!"
From around the corner of the door frame, Son #2 peeked into my room. "I need to go potty."
"Again?" I asked. "Are you sure?"
"I need to go potty." Son #2 insisted.
"O.K. Let's go potty." I said as I got up to accompany Son #2 to the restroom.
For the fourth time, Son #2 sat on the toilet. He asked to hold two of his duckies. I complied as I wondered about my youngest son. Was he getting sick? Was he constipated? Did he have some sort of infection? I decided to let my little one sit for a while on the toilet just to see if that might help his situation. While I waited for my youngest son to use the restroom, I washed a few dishes and put away a bit of clutter. Then, I returned to the restroom to check on my youngest child.
There sat my child on the bathroom floor playing with his bath time toys. Son #2 was making quacking noises for the ducks as they splashed about his imaginary pond. I bit my lip before I asked. "Do you need to go potty?"
"No." Son #2 responded.
"Are you sure?" I asked again.
"Yes." Son #2 said politely.
"What are you doing?" I asked a third time.
"I playing!" Son #2 yelled cheerfully.
"It's not time to play." I said firmly. "It's time for bed."
"I not tired." Son #2 replied. "I playing."
"Get to bed!" I commanded as I helped him dress and run to his room.
"I not tired!" Son #2 yelled from under his comforter.
"Go to sleep!" I responded with irritation.
"Fine!" Son #2 muttered into his pillow.
I returned to my room to contemplate whether or not Son #2 was trying to manipulate me. It seemed as though his master plan that night was to stay up as late as possible. Hopefully, I had foiled his plans. After a few minutes, I returned to my work. Once again, I was completely engrossed in the task at hand when I heard little feet skittering across the kitchen floor. This time, I did not stay in my room. I immediately got out of the chair to investigate the kitchen.
When I turned the kitchen light on, a naked child streaked by my legs. "Why are you naked?!" I yelled. "Get your clothes on and get back to bed!"
"No!" Son #2 chugged. "I racing!"
"You're naked!" I called after him.
Son #2 giggled. "I playing! I racing!"
"Where are your clothes?" I huffed as I chased my naked child across the house. "You need to get your pajamas on again."
"No no no no no." Son #2 chortled. "No clothes. I naked!"
Eventually, I found the missing pajamas and redressed my child. As we walked hand in hand to bed, Son #2 tugged at my pant leg and whispered. "I need to go potty."