Before this crazy-dark gloomy thunder-storm, rainy week, back when it was sunny and beautiful (early last week), Zachary and I went on a preschool field trip to the farm. It was a delightful morning – warm and sunny and full of ridiculously cute animals. The kids had free reign of the place. We could go in any barn stall to pet the animals – horses, donkey (singular), bunnies, miniature pot belly pig (singular), chicks, ducks, cats, baby lambs and peacock (good luck petting that one). In the barn loft there were several huge stacks of hay and a couple of big rope swings. Zach had SO much fun. And I always enjoy a trip to the farm where my city girl mind can run wild, and I try to imagine a different childhood – one where I call Dad, “Pa,” and I walk to school carrying my lunch in a silver pail. I spend long afternoons playing down by the creek but pronounce it “crick.” I wear two long braids and an apron over my plaid-gingham dress. Yes, I do understand that just because one lives on a farm it does not immediately mean they exist in the late 19th century and “Little House on the Prairie” times, but in my head – that’s what happens. Crazy things happen in there. Like spontaneous musical sequences. Anyway, I digress.
Despite it being a beautiful day, I did have the forethought to have Zach wear his rain boots – OK, let’s face it, the kid wears them almost every day rain or shine, so that wasn’t really my doing at all. But it was a good thing as they got fairly well caked in animal poo – primarily of the horse persuasion. I hadn’t had the forethought – unfortunately – to bring a change of shoes for us, and there was no way I was going to allow animal manure shoes in our new minivan. I wrapped his boots and my old shoes in a plastic bag and drove home in just my socked feet. Later in the afternoon, I hosed clean the bottom of our shoes as best I could (over the garden where one spot will now be nicely manure-fertilized). I told Zach that despite my hosing his boots, he couldn’t wear them until it ACTUALLY rained and he could stomp in the puddles just to make sure that all remaining animal poo got washed away.
I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised when Zach threw a major fit the next morning because he wanted to wear his rain boots. Of course, this fit happens when we’re already late walking out the door for preschool. And of course, the irony is that it’s not at all a rainy day nor does it look like it will become one. It’s a perfectly GOOD day for NOT wearing rain boots. Zach proceeds to throw his I’m-almost-four-and-I-will-attempt-to-exert-what-little-independence-I-have-in-this-case-clearly-establishing-that-I-should-get-to-choose-my-desired-foot-covering fit. It was a doozy. I tried rationalizing with him (why bother?), explaining that it’s a sunny day and therefore rain boots aren’t essential (why bother?), and that we really didn’t have time for this (why bother?), and he should listen to me (why bother?). Finally, I took a different course.
“We talked about this Zach,” I said, “I rinsed your boots off but they’re probably still a little stinky. They smell like horse poo. You don’t really want to be THAT kid – the kid known as Horse Poo Boy, do you? Do you? Horse Poo Boy?” This tactic of humiliation-foreshadowing worked beautifully. Zach wiped his fit-tear-streaked face and said, “FINE.”
Mom: 1. Kid: 0.
Two days later, it WAS actually a rainy morning. As promised, Zach got to wear his boots which he happily jumped into and ran out into the driveway to stomp a bit. We got buckled and drove all the way down the street before I slammed on the brakes.
“It smells like horse poo,” I grumbled. I turned Kia Sassy Wagon around and we came home to change shoes. Sorry, dude, but that horse poo stench lingers and I just don’t want to be known as “The Mom of Horse Poo Boy.” Sorry Laura Ingalls Wilder, I just don’t have what it takes.