As per usual, things flew wildly out of proportion very quickly. What began as a simple vacuum job plus laundry veered rapidly into the Land of Unplanned Major Redesigns. The first time Ethan came in to ask me for juice, I was behind his crib collecting $36 in change and some broken crayons from along the floorboard (we didn't do a good job of teaching Ethan that A Savings Account Is Not a Toy, so poor in fact that Piggy now lives in a perpetual state of surrender).
The second time he came in—asking for a refill—I was accessing my core (and I knew exactly where it was, thanks to the Pilates dvd I did yesterday) to push a full, solid-wood dresser across his bedroom with the balls of my feet. "Mommy, you scawe me," he said.
Four furniture arrangements later, I settled on a new layout. Additionally, the pastel Winnie the Pooh quilt came down off the wall and was replaced by a large, framed print of a vintage Chicago Sun Times photo from an early-20th-century White Sox game. The green shag rug went the way of all flesh and in its place I unrolled a more mature, geometric patterned rug from Target.
Now that his room reflects his status as a Big Boy—confirmed by the fact that today he pooped in his potty instead of hiding under the deck where he can crap his diaper in peace—I instituted a new set of rules: He must put toys away before moving on to a new activity.
While Noah made dinner and I
"Ethan. You need to go put your toys away."
"No way; me watch moofie."
"You can watch a movie as soon as you put away your toys."
"No Mommy haftoo tell me hassin aggee MY LIFE!"
This went on for several minutes, me sitting at the table and Ethan stomping naked around the kitchen shouting toddlerish I couldn't understand but injecting "my life" frequently, which gave me the sense that he was rebelling.
In the end, I showed him there's a new sheriff in town by picking everything up and putting it where it belonged, all while making him stand there and watch. So I WIN.