A question to all you moms out there: What if you found something that entertained your early-waking, extremely active toddler for hours on end? Suddenly, you could shower, eat, talk on the phone, visit with friends, and even get some writing done? Sounds awesome right? But, what if that something consisted of endless Youtube videos of garbage trucks? Orange garbage trucks. Green garbage trucks. Blue garbage trucks. What would you do?
Every morning, at the crack of dawn, I hear: "Mama!" Delighted that my son wants my divine presence immediately, (but not so delighted that it is 4:55am), I head into his room. He says, "Hi!" Oh, the tone of that greeting. I am his whole world! Then, "Mow? Mow Gaga Tuck?"
Oh, right. I'm his whole world all right! I am the person who allows him access to his very favorite thing in the whole world right now, the almighty garbage truck.
After a few weeks of watching garbage trucks on Youtube with my son, I learned that there are many types of garbage trucks. There are Heil Automated Side Loaders (Jax's favorite), and Automated Front Loaders. There are orange garbage trucks, green ones, blue ones, and even pink ones that are painted as such to support breast cancer. Jax clearly had some preferences, and I began to dream of garbage trucks. (Who the hell spends their time creating endless youtube videos of garbage trucks anyway?! Oh yes, these folks are likely other crazed parents desperate for a shower or a warm meal).
Jax's obsession grew, and I started to HATE the garbage truck. Watching endless videos of the elusive "ohwange gaga tuck" and the highly preferred "boo gaga tuck" started to make me insane. So, I did a little research and discovered that Toys R Us makes a fabulous motorized garbage truck that actually dumps trash! This might be the very thing to steer Jax away from videos and towards a more appropriate play activity! Score! We happened to have a gift card to the most stressful place on earth (e.g., Toys R Us), so off we went to secure a garbage truck of our very own. Through this experience, I learned some important lessons:
1. NEVER tell your child you are going to a store to buy a particular item or toy. This will inevitably result in the toy being out of stock. I had repeatedly, and excitedly, discussed that we would be buying a garbage truck. We sang the garbage truck song (that I made up, it sucks, don't ask), the WHOLE way to Toys R Us. When we got there, we did a lap around the store, bypassing a multitude of snotty kids, crying kids, and grim-faced parents. We searched every shelf, and every section. No garbage truck.
By now, Jax was saying "Gaga Tuck?" He said this in a plaintive little voice that made my heart ache, coupled with his adorable sign for the word "where." There is just no way to explain to a toddler that the store didn't have it. I didn't even attempt to go there. We just kept looking, frantically, until I started sweating and praying a gaga tuck would magically appear. We could not leave the store without something that resembled a gaga tuck.
Thankfully, a kind store employee noticed my distress and helpfully informed us that she would order the fabulous motorized gaga tuck. She even waived the shipping charge, perhaps detecting the hint of desperation and panic in my demeanor. Then, we found a a small, dinky garbage truck to hold Jax over until it arrived.
I discovered that if I reacted with a ridiculous level of excitement, Jax would think that this crappy, small, non-motorized garbage truck was just as awesome as the one we were looking for. "THERE IT IS!" I yelled, spying a small gaga tuck that I think is from Toy Story 3. (I now realize I could have introduced the same level of enthusiasm towards a paper bag, and I could have saved myself a lot of trouble here!) Off we went, and Jax seemed somewhat nonplussed. A few days later, the fabulous gaga tuck arrived, and I learned something else:
2. NEVER introduce a new toy just before naptime, bedtime, or any other time that involves your child doing anything that does not involve the new toy! Unfortunately, I was just opening the garbage truck toy when MH brought Jax back from the park. They were late, and MH had failed to feed Jax any lunch (MH is on my sh*tlist for that misstep). Jax ran in, saw the giant motorized gaga tuck, and froze.
Then, his eyes became as big as saucers, and he whispered, "gaga tuck" with the same degree of reverence one would show the Mona Lisa. He raised his little arms, and of course, I handed it to him immediately. He was so excited, but quickly became frustrated with the dumpster, thanks to the lack of food and sleep. But, try as we might, we could not get Jax to let go of the gaga tuck, even to eat. This brings me to my third point.
3. NEVER give your toddler a fabulous, motorized, amazing anything without first inspecting it, and Macgyvering any difficult to attach non-toddler friendly pieces. I am certain the folks who design these toys have never seen a toddler, let alone had a child themselves. The dumpster attachment caused 3 tantrums before I wrestled the damn thing away from Jax and taped it to the gaga tuck with an industrial-sized piece of gorilla tape.
All in all, the gaga tuck caused five meltdowns within the first 24 hours. It ate dinner with us on Jax's high chair tray, because he refused to sit and eat without it. But, by the next day, we had faded it to the dining room table for mealtime. By the second night, Jax blew his gaga tuck a kiss and walked to his room all by himself. He even said, "Nite, gaga tuck!"
The next thing on my list is a set of toy garbage cans....