My sanity, that is.
You often hear descriptions that toddlers are like Neanderthals. Mine, Sarah especially, are more like mental patients. To be more specific, girlfriend is batshit crazy. Sad thing is, I’m no different.
Take this recent, and quite typical, episode stemming from her pre-nap diaper change:
I’ll preface by saying that lately she’s been eschewing pants by screeching, “No knees! No knees!” Yeah, there’s the beginning of the crazytalk. So as long as it’s warm enough I just go with it and make sure she’s got at least a onesie on so the dipe stays intact. Today I had no onesies readily available and couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen, so I thought I could give her a choice of pants to wear. She was excited by the prospect.
Me: Flirty pink skort or pink poodle pj pants?
Sarah: Yes, Mommy!
Me: Oh, ah, you have to choose. Puppy pants or skort?
Sarah: (In a desperately hysterical screech that came out of nowhere.) PUPPY PANTS!! PUPPY PANTS!!!!!! PUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYY PAAAAAANNNNTS!!!!!!
So, silly me, I go to put the puppy pants on.
Sarah: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! (Much crying, wailing, flailing, etc.)
Me: (Trying to keep the tone light.) Oh, you want the skort? (And I remove the pants and attempt to put on the skort.
Sarah: WAHHHHHHHH! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! HORRIBLE SHRIEKS OF HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m really starting to lose it now – I’m hungry, tired, and so fucking ready for naptime. So, teeth clenched I suggest that maybe she wants both on? And I try to make that happen.
Here’s where I should type what she said, but I don’t know how to recreate it. Loud hysteria with wild flailing. Manic thrashing. So fun.
I have no clue how to remain calm during shitstorms like this. I get so mad. It’s not logical to get mad at a crazy not-quite 2-yr old. Her brain is not fully developed and it’s going haywire. But it doesn’t change how I feel in the moment. I yelled, possibly even shrieked a bit myself, hucked the skort into the closet and told her it was poodle pants or the highway. She was devastated. Shocker. Then it somehow occurred to me to offer her the skort to cuddle with for her nap and it fucking worked. HUH? A random skort from a drawer we haven’t opened since summer. Who’d a thunk it?
She seems to be fine now, knock wood, but I’m still reeling.
I think it’s important to point out that I don’t think Sarah is much crazier than any other toddler – this is more about how I respond to it than her behavior. Why do I get so nutty? What do I care what pants she wears or how long it takes to figure it out? Why does her shrieking = me yelling? Why don’t I realize that this is really not helping to show her how to react calmly to adversity? Why don’t I just wake up and realize I’m a victim of my very own genetics? Why don’t I have more booze in the house?
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