Today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
You know what I'm talking about. Those days. The days when you look at the clock and count down the number of hours to bedtime (at 9:15am). The days when you guesstimate how much your kids would go for on Ebay. The days when you think about revising your resume to go back to work so you don't have to listen to one more tantrum.
After a hellish day of another ear infection for Josie and 10,000 moments of noncooperation from Gabe, we were upstairs playing for a bit when Gabe started screaming hysterically from the side of his bed. I rushed over and the smell of something burning hit me right away, and he wouldn't stop screaming that his fingers had been burnt. I teased the answer out of him, and it turns out he'd pulled out his lamp plug halfway, and then touched the metal prongs with his fingers. HIS FINGERS. That was the burning smell.
I comforted him and then patiently explained why we never ever EVER touch the electrical outlet or the plugs or anything like that because they are so so so dangerous. I thought we were clear on the concept, and I figured the shock he'd received was enough to dissuade him from doing it again. Anyway, I sat back down and kept playing and then turned around to see him PULLING THE PLUG OUT TO DO IT AGAIN.
I. lost. it. Seriously. I screamed so much I think the neighbors must have heard me. I smacked his hands 5 times because the fear that rose up in my throat, that clenched my stomach and made my head swim was too much. I didn't know what to do to make him understand that he could never ever EVER do that again. To make him understand how dangerous the electrical outlets could be.
What can you do, though (besides this)? How can you possibly make a just barely 3 year old comprehend something so scary and dangerous? Still now, hours later, remembering the moment I saw him reaching his little hands out to touch the prongs again, and I can hear the terror pounding in my ears. I need tips, folks. How do you make your kids listen? Especially those kids (and I'm hoping someone besides me has one) that appears to listen, nods along, repeats what you said, looks you in the eye and agrees, and then 2 flipping seconds later is doing it again. And again. And again.
Please let tomorrow be better.