Welcome to my life. Here’s how it goes lately: my daughter, who is two years and nine months old is suddenly acting like a thirteen year old. HUH? Dude, do I really have to deal with this already? I love her to pieces, don’t get me wrong, but this is getting old quick (except when it’s sort of funny and I have to twist my face into a grimace to mask my smile so as to not egg her on).
Our old daycare provider and friends with slightly older kids warned me about this: the “terrible twos”? Naw. Try three. Now three is challenging. Luckily, evolution has helped parents by simultaneously making kids scrumptiously adorable at this age so as to not have parents do what rats sometimes do to their kin (it ain’t pretty).
Here’s what it looked like in our house this weekend: sweet evening with my daughter filled with story reading and laughter. I put her in her crib, she looks up at me and randomly says, “Sometimes I like Mama, but I don’t love you.” DAMN. Ouch. ZING! Lest I forget my parenting mantra let me repeat it out loud to myself (and anyone else who is listening): this too shall pass… this too shall pass. Luckily, I have made a little progress in my own development as a parent. I look down at her- GULP- “well, I still love you.” Rolling diaper sound as she writhes in the bed… “Wellllll, I don’t love you!” BLAMO! Me: “Ok, you’re hurting Mummy’s feelings a little bit and I know you don’t mean that.” Her:“I DO!” Blink back tears- offer self empathy- remind self that she’s nearly 3 (right.)… “Ok, whatever, I still love you.” Welcome to my plight as a non-gestational parent; if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know this is nothing new. Now she just has fighting words with her bigger vocabulary. Big mouth strikes again.
Or take tonight: as I have mentioned in the past, it’s deeply important to me to raise our daughter to not be ashamed of her body and to feel comfortable asking any questions about it. I have tried to carry out this mission by being upfront; answering her questions with honest, straight-forward responses; and being casual and transparent about all things bodily so as to cultivate a sense of normalcy and strike down any flicker of shame. Fast forward to the present… my daughter has been curious and asked both my spouse and I about our periods. Tonight, my daughter got it into her head that she wanted a “pantiliner” (for the record, I *hate* that word… for someone who tries to be sex positive, I find that word elicits an internal “ew” for me). I personally can’t understand the draw, but I guess I can imagine that to a two year old they seem pretty cool. They’re like a cotton sticker with wings. So at 7:30 pm, my tired and cranky daughter threw a full-on tantrum on the floor with her pants pulled down screaming with tears running down her face, “I WANT A LITTLE PAD!!!! I DO WANT ONE!!!!!!” I tried not to laugh, but gosh darn it, it was hard.
And me, I just want a steady dose of humor to get me through the next year and three months. “I want a little patience! I DO!”