Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grant Me the Serenity

I steel myself and open her door. In the half-light, she's lying in bed awake, waiting for me. "Good morning," I chirp, full of resolve to start the day on a good note. She smiles and talks about going swimming with her bathing suit and floats...she must have been dreaming about swimming. The tension in my shoulders eases a little until I start getting out her clothes for the day.

"More bed!" she says. I tell myself to just go with it, and announce that sure, we can get dressed in bed today. And then it starts. "NOT THAT SHIRT. CROWN!!!" Ok, so I pull her crown shirt out of the drawer. Rinse, repeat until I find the acceptable pair of pants. And then the storm hits. I pull the available choices of socks out of the dresser and she howls. "Cake ones!!" I let her know the cake ones aren't clean but that she can choose which clean pair she wants.

And thus a hill is created. A hill that I have to decide whether I want to die trying to summit. At this point it's not about the socks anymore (is it about the socks?!?) and I leave her to sulk. She eventually makes her way downstairs and becomes absorbed in Curious George. I try to capitalize on the distraction and slip her butterfly socks on her feet. "NOOOOOOOOOO," she howls, "STRIIIIIIIIIPES." You know, the stripes I offered her 15 minutes before.

On and on it goes. Shamefully, I lose my temper and yell at her: "You are really making me mad!" At that point I leave her to it again, and suddenly it's over. She walks into the kitchen and sweetly requests a waffle. She smiles up at me and hugs my legs. Is this an apology? Is she just congratulating herself on having successfully driven me batshit insane before 8 am?

I feel so ill-equipped for this child. I am struggling to find a balance between picking my battles, but also drawing a consistent line. I feel like we're really at a crossroads here, where she is testing to find out whether Mama Means Business. I am giving her every opportunity to make good choices and be in control where appropriate but she just pushes, pushes, PUSHES.

I hear her right now, in her room, where she's supposed to be napping. The door opens and closes every few minutes...I guess she's trying to see if I'm going to come up and scold her. The real pisser of it is that she'll probably give in and go to sleep about 20 minutes before we have to leave to pick up her brother. Which is totally awesome because you know what? An under-napped toddler is an absolute joy to be around.

I feel compelled to acknowledge that as hard as she can be right now, we also have moments of complete happiness and fun together. I guess I have to just make sure we have adequate re-fueling stops to make it through to...?


Muttering Mama said...

You could have written this piece about my 2 year old son if you knew him...but based on the accuracy of your portrayal, I suspect you sorta do. Keep calm and carry on, for sure.

Tami Leitz said...

I feel ya! Makenna will fight me on everything and the kicker is, if I give her what she asks for then she wants something else, ahhh! My husband and I joke that God made her so cute and funny to make up for the crazy. I think it's true. I'm constantly reminding myself in the hard moments what the good ones are like.

Heather said...

Amen. See my post from last night- the Bean just pushes every. single. button. I. have. Over and over and over.

After we finally fight the bedtime war and the Bean goes to sleep I'm left here feeling guilty as hell for losing my temper. For being short with her. For not being able to have things be smooth and easy all the time.

I worry she's going to read my blog when she's older and think I don't love her with every fiber of my being- which I obviously do otherwise I would have given her to the circus already.

Lisa said...

Oh, Jaida, how I can relate. This parenthood thing - it's hard sometimes, isn't it? And sometimes it hurts your heart.