After a very long day full of annoyances and disappointments, Marcus was rather cranky. He and Becca got into a row over toys, and I sent them both downstairs to undress for their bath–only by then, Marcus was so grumpy that he didn’t want a bath.
“No! I do not want a bath! I want to go to bed dirty,” he screamed as I carried him down the stairs. Not taking a bath was out of the question, as in the course of the afternoon he had played in the muddy backyard until it began raining again.
“No! I hate getting wet! I want my clothes on! You are a bad mother!,” he cried as I undressed him and lifted him (not a mean feat when he’s throwing a tantrum) into the tub where Becca was already arranging shampoo bottles.
“No! No! No! No! _No!_,” he fussed as I turned on the water.
“It is too hot! It is too cold! It is wet! I have soap in my eyes! I want a new mother!,” he complained vociferously as I bathed him. Becca had no complaints.
“I want cavities! I hate clean teeth! Mmph mmmph mmph!,” he screamed, even as he opened his mouth to let me brush his molars.
It was quite a tantrum, and it just kept getting sillier and more ridiculous as he went through his paces.
“I will _not_ get dressed! I will go to sleep naked and be cold!”, he whinged as I tried to dress him in his pyjamas.
By then, everything I did or said to Marcus was the wrong thing. I left him alone for the next five minutes while I fed the fish with Becca and tucked her into bed. When I turned around to see what Marcus had been up to, he was on his bed, dressed in his pyjamas, curled up in an angry ball of frustrated five-year-old.
“Stretch out, Marcus, or you’ll get a cramp in your leg,” I told him as I gave his feet a gentle tug.
One eyebrow raised, I stared at him while he glumly said, “Excuse me when I pass gas.”
I looked at him with a twinkle in my eye and said, “Angry farts, huh?”.
He looked at me for a moment and then began convulsing in his bed, repeating, “Ang-ang-angry fa-fa-fa-farts!”. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing or crying at first, until it became clear that he got the joke. Indeed, he _got_ the joke. By this point, he was laughing, deep belly laughing, eyes tearing up, whooping and screaming with pure, unadulterated joy.
Ah, potty humor to the rescue. Instead of going to bed resentful and angry, well, Marcus went to bed repeating the words, “Angry farts!”, giggling after every repetition.