Ghosts, Starvation, Sick Knees, and Waffles

four year old boy doing headstand on couch

When my four and a half year old Mikey woke up this morning, he couldn’t walk.

He couldn’t walk because his legs didn’t work.
His legs didn’t work because he was a ghost.
He was a ghost because he was starving all day.
He was starving because his tummy was rumbling.
His tummy was rumbling because he was a ghost.

This is the encounter I listened to, between my husband and Mikey this morning as I was dressing Scarlett in her room across the hall.

Somehow through the whining and flailing due to the lack of the ability to stand, Todd got Mikey dressed in his room. Todd took a break and went to brush his teeth and get dressed hoping Mikey was just a little over tired and would snap out of it a few minutes later.

I put toothpaste on Scarlett’s toothbrush and braced myself for the war that is brushing her hair. She brushed her teeth and stared at herself in the mirror as I brushed her hair in the absolute most gentle way possible. Meanwhile, Mikey army crawled from his room to the kids’ bathroom and I laid eyes on him for the first time today.

Mikey and Scarlett, now referred to as my “middles”, love brushing their teeth and I expected Mikey to forget about his damn legs and climb onto the stool to brush his teeth.

Nope. He stuck with it and dragged himself further into the bathroom on his forearms. His dedication to the cause intrigued me so I lifted him up and sat him on the toilet while I sat on the edge of the bath tub to talk to him at the same eye level. My plan was to chat with him and find out what was going on and maybe give his thighs a little massage and then put a warm washcloth on them. (Hell, that’s my favorite part of the pedicure!)

Mikey proceeded to tell me about his new ghost form and all day starvation. Keep in mind it’s about 6:23 a.m. To add to his list of concerns this morning, he pointed out how his knees were the problem. He stated that he fell on both knees on the rocks at the tball field and his left knee was sick because Daddy only put medicine on the right knee last night.

I stood and told him I’d carry him to the stool so he could brush his teeth and then I’d get the medicine for his sick knee (the thigh massage and wet towel were no longer reasonable options). Still armed with my patience and understanding, I put my hands under his arm pits to lift him, expecting him to wrap his arms and legs around me like he normally does.

Nope. He played dead weight and murdered my already sore lower back. I lowered him gently back to a seated position on the toilet and he responded by sliding off the toilet and semi gracefully, yet dramatically, flopping back down to the bathroom floor.

I told you my legs didn’t work Mommy. He crawled out of the bathroom and to the top of the stairs and scooted down all the steps on his butt. Damn this kid is dedicated.

I gave up on Mikey and laughed to myself as I thought – we need to find a play for this kid. What a drama queen. Scarlett and I headed downstairs to pick out breakfast and get ready to head out the door.

Mikey took too long this morning so breakfast had to be something easy for the truck. Cereal bars or waffles? Scarlett picked a green apple cereal bar. Mikey shifted his focus away from his legs and ghost being (don’t forget he’s a ghost because he’s been starving all day) and would not accept cereal bars (we have 3 flavors to choose from!) or frozen waffles as viable options.

I want my own snack he whined over and over while somehow miraculously standing in front of the pantry. I handed him a strawberry cereal bar (strawberries are his favorite!) and he pouted some more. I feigned excitement and about some cinnamon flavored teddy grahams the kids didn’t know I bought earlier in the week. No!!!!! he cried. Scarlett wanted the teddy grahams so she won favorite child of the morning and Todd and I made our way out of the house with one angelic 2 year old girl and one frustrating 4 year old.

Once outside Mikey changed his whining and crying to “Waffles!” and started jumping up and down. (Apparently he was no longer a ghost because these legs of his worked!)

Todd chauffeured a 20 minute car ride to daycare with Mikey trying to kick Scarlett from his car seat and screaming the entire way about waffles. You’ll never believe it but Mikey walked into daycare but continued his waffle quest until he arrived at his classroom and got distracted by his little friend Aubrey.

Mikey was an absolute wreck this morning and Todd bore the brunt of it. I just kinda stood by and try to outsmart him (didn’t work) and then admired the commitment of my strong-willed child and hoped he has a better day at school. Cross your fingers for me I don’t get a call from the school and that he’s back to his normal self this evening.

Thank you for your brief visit to “Life with a 4 year old”.


Katie Helgesen

Katie Helgesen is the Senior Director of Business Intelligence at Dealer Inspire, a fast-growing and award winning technology company near Chicago. Katie and her husband, Todd, have 4 awesome kids and love living in a small community centered on a lake in northwest Indiana. Baseball, t-ball, and soccer schedules are just a few pieces of Katie’s Mom Hustle. Her daydreams revolve around finding more “me time” and traveling. In real life, Katie keeps herself sane with naps, Netflix and eating out as often as she can.