I made a terrible parenting mistake the other day. It was the kind of thing that other parents would shake their heads at and quietly mutter “rookie mistake.”
A couple of weeks ago, Wildling came running out of the bathroom post-bath, dripping wet and carrying her towel. Miraculously, she did not slip on the tile floor and bash her skull open. She had decided she wanted me to dry her off, not Will, who had been the one who actually gave her the bath. So I dried her with the bath towel and then wrapped her hair up in it like a turban. She’s quite small, and the towel was large and heavy, so she had to steady the turban with her hand, but she just loved it, it was the greatest, funniest thing ever. Of course that meant that every night after that, a dripping wet child, followed by her dripping wet toddler sister came running out of the bathroom looking for me so I could give her pretend hair again (because, obviously, a large bath towel is like a wig of fake hair, in Wildlingland).
So I thought I’d be a good parent and also make things easier on myself by purchasing towels that are intended to be used as hair-drying turbans. I went to the store and found the Turbie Twist Towel. Perfect. They were small, lightweight, intended for hair purposes, and they came two in a box (plus I had a 20% off coupon).
I bought a package with one blue and one pink.
Parents, have you discovered my mistake yet? If you noticed there were two different colored towels in the box then yes, you noticed the mistake. But it gets worse.
I washed the towels before use, because I always do that. Then I had a great big pile of laundry on the couch and it was almost bath time, and I was somewhat proud of myself for making the purchase, so I said “Hey Wildling, come here. Check out what I got you.” [mistake #2]. I grabbed the first Turbie Twist that I could find in the pile [mistake #3] and showed it to Wildling and put it in her hair as a demonstration. It was the blue one [mistake #4]. Mellow, of course, came running up saying “Me too! Me too!” so I dug out the pink one [mistake #5] and gave it to her (she wouldn’t try it on).
Wildling immediately wanted the pink one. I explained that both Turbie Twists belonged to both girls, and they could wear whichever ones they wanted and take turns or whatever. I told her the towels were a shared resource [mistake #6].
To Wildling, this meant that she was in charge of towel distribution. She decided on a pattern, in which she would get the pink one night and the blue the next. Can you guess which one she wanted first? The pink, of course.
Mellow is two. She did not understand Wildling’s planning and patterns and so all she understood was that her sister was taking away her new towel! Mama had just given her a pink towel and now someone was taking it away! The horror! This was a situation that could only be resolved through violence, mostly in the form of biting.
This was not a singular event. The towel battle, inevitably leading to screaming and tears, takes place every other night, when Wildling uses the pink towel.
It is my fault. I overestimated the reasoning skills and under estimated the possessiveness of children. Also, I failed to understand the desirability of pink towels.
I’ll do better next time, I promise.