Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Day Like This Calls for an Extra Glass of Wine



Charlotte is driving me ca-razy! The last two days have been like non-stop battles in a war I am becoming more and more convinced I can't win.

Okay, lest I be accused of being dramatic, I will say this: "Yes, I know she is a toddler. I know she is testing her limits. I need to be patient and consistent, and this too shall pass."

Just last week, I was going on and on about how delightful she has been, and how I am having SO much fun with her. Which, is still true. The problem is that (like most kids, I imagine) she goes from being THE BEST EVER! A MARVEL OF TODDLING WONDERMENT! to PLEASE KILL ME NOW! NO, REALLY. NOW.

Okay, no more caps this entire post. Probably.

Today, for example: we went from her stacking and stacking, block after block, as I looked on in pride and admiration, both of us giggling when the blocks would tumble, using imagination, and having a great time...to a two-hour standoff about putting those damn blocks away. I am not exaggerating. Two hours.

I tried to remain calm. I patiently asked her to help me pick up. I tried to make it fun: "We'll sing songs while we clean!" I walked away and read a cookbook, after telling her that we would paint as soon she was ready to start picking up. I pretended to be aloof and uninterested in whether the blocks made it into the bag or not. Like, "Whatev. You do it when you do it, and when you do, we can discuss our next activity." When really inside I was pondering how much Chris would really mind being a single dad. I mean, he's a catch! The chicks would be all over that!

The whole thing ended in a paroxysm of tears and dramatic wailing, (hers, not mine, mercifully) which woke Chris up after he banked about three hours of sleep. He was able to get her to clean them up (See? They don't need me at all. Barbados, here I come!)And, in the end we were able to finger paint and go to the library as I had planned. Though, the library was sort of a disappointment, after all. That trip also ended in tears and the throwing of one's self onto the pavement in a not-so-dignified way. Again, not me. I'm all kinds of dignified when I tantrum myself onto the sidewalk.

I don't know. I hope I'm not screwing her up by not handling this properly. She is such a sweet kid, and I know she isn't a bad seed. I know this is normal. But, holy hell, I am having a hard time.

I'm pretty much used to taking the good with the bad. Like, it is freaking amazing how much she is talking now. I get such a thrill out of hearing her put together three, sometimes four-word sentences. And, I love her little Charlotte-isms and her bizarre syntax. I love how when she wants something she says "Hab it! Hab it pen. Hab it binkies." I find it adorable when she wants out of her stroller or high chair at a restaurant, and knowing she'll need to hold our hands, she asks "Walk hands?"

But, now that she can use her words to assert herself and get her needs met, we need to work on her manners. Like when I reached for the little box of Horizon milk at the cafe, and she looked me in the eye and said, "I want chocolate." I'm sure you do, bossy pants. *I* want you to not squeeze the box and get milk all over your clothes, but I bet that isn't going to happen, is it?

I guess it's okay when I prepare her a meal, and she says, "I don't like it." It's when she plays it fast and loose with the "yucky" adjective that I get a little offended.

To end this on a positive note, I will say that one of my favorite things about my daughter is hearing her sing. Her little made-up songs are just...so goddamn cool. And it's pretty incredible that she is learning to copy bits and pieces of the songs I sing to her. Tonight it was "Eight Days a Week." I sang "Hold me, love me," and she echoed with "Hold me, Mo-mmy."

And that right there, is why I had a kid.


  1. I totally get the back and forth I LOVE THIS AGE... OH MY GOD YOU ARE THE DEVIL.

    Do you do time out? If Kellen doesn't comply within a reasonable time, he goes to time out. If he's not ready after that, he goes back. And if he screams and is inconsolable, he goes to his room until he can calm down. I still get very frustrated, but it seems to minimize power struggles.

  2. I haven't really tried it, but today, I did get really frustrated with her, and I told her she needed to sit on the couch for a minute. She actually didn't get up, but I think it's because she was crying too hard.

    I don't know. I might give it a try and be more prepared for it. I need to do something. Today was just awful.

  3. I have to admit that I am pretty dignified in my tantrums also and that I did not spit my water out as I read that . . . ok, so I DID spit it out a little. ;)

  4. Oh man, those of you a few months ahead of me give me so much to look forward to--and to dread.

    I'm pretty sure you're not screwing her up--it sounds like she's acting pretty normal, and you're handling it as best you can. You'll both get through this phase!

  5. No way, definitely not screwing her up. We do the same thing with E, and I only relent if it's clear he doesn't know what the heck I'm asking him to do. I figure, a year of tantrums now is bad (BAD! CRAZY-MAKING!), but it possibly saves us from a lifetime of having "that kid," the one who doesn't understand the meaning of no and throws tantrums at age 12.

  6. Oh man, Toddlers are bi polar little creatures. I'm with you, lets go to Barbados!

  7. Okay, guys. Let's do it. Barbados, 2010, baby!

  8. *this too shall pass*
    *you are not messing her up*
    *I can't afford to go to Barbados* snif.

    I have never hit on a consistent disciplining strategy. Except for taking things away that they like. "If you don't help me put away toys by the time I count to five, no stories before bed." This is xtreme punishment for my children. They have amazing memories for that sort of thing.

    There is a book called 123 Magic that I read and liked and use the techniques from but it's more for getting the kid to stop doing the thing you don't want them to do, not making them do the thing you want them to do.

    But anyway. That's just rational, when you're not losing your mind, stuff. Sometimes, they are just batshit. And you have to have some wine and go to bed.