Well, Monkey, you’ve hit the period of your life that Mommy and I kind of hoped you’d side-step. Until recently, you showed every sign of being a Perfect Angel and not following lock-step with most other children. But perhaps we were being too naïve, too optimisitic. After all, despite my initial (self-mocking) perspective on your conception, you’ve pretty much blown through every expectation.
In fact, up until a couple of weeks ago, you seemed pretty much hell-bent on being the perfect child. I had visions of you always coming to us for permission to watch TV or use the computer, letting us know the moment you found something on the internet that you shouldn’t be seeing, letting us know before you go outside to play with your friends, looking for approval before even thinking about dating, letting us help decide where you go for university…
Well, kiddo, based on your behaviour the last weekend, I’ll be lucky if you let me watch *Backyardigans *with you. Yeesh.
Okay, I exaggerate (a little). I know Mommy has a better grasp of all this, but I’m struggling with your ability shift from angel to demon in a mere breath. For example, the mere suggestion that we need to change your diaper (when you don’t want it changed) elicits screaming, struggling, and a couple of minutes’ worth of “mommy!” crying.
Which, of course, isn’t really crying, you’re just being overly dramatic. You’ve done the Drama Queen thing for … well, probably over a year now. I can’t remember when you started exactly, but it’s pretty obvious: crying, but without tears. It’s just a desire for intervention. I only ever hear the “mommy” version of it, of course. I wonder if Mommy ever hears a “daddy” version?
Then there’s dinner time. While you eat breakfast with the zeal of a vaccum cleaner (most days), and you tend to eat lunch quite well, lately dinner seems to be a battle of wills. We make dinner, and then the screaming starts. It could be because we’re taking you away from something you’re playing with, or particularly badly, if you’re watching TV (which you normally don’t do before dinner). If you’re screaming before we put you in your high chair … well, it’s a good 10 minutes of you struggling, and crying, and carrying on until you finally calm down and pick at your food. Which, at least in my experience, is the best that we’ll get.
I should also mention that you’ll flip back to being an angel the moment you get something you want. (It’s kind of eerie, actually.)
The funny thing is, I remember being like you. In particular, I remember one July when Nana took me with her to the grocery store at Trafalgar Village. My birthday was coming up (I’m not sure what year, but I couldn’t have been older than 5), and I latched onto some tiny, 3cm squareplastic waffles on strings that had to be in the gift bags for the kids coming to my party. I think Nana nearly lost it, shortly after I threw my tantrum.
So no, I’m not going to say that you’re acting “badly”. That’s just not fair. You’re being human. You’re starting to define the things you want, in the way you want them. I’m having trouble with that, because there are things that I want you to do (or eat) that you don’t want. It’s the classic battle of the wills. And short of a blender, a feeding tube, and enough rope to keep you tied down, there’s not a lot I can do about it.
(It’s a joke. Of course I would never tie my poor darling daughter down for anything. Yeesh. Sickos.)
I hope that, one day, you can forgive your father for his lack of patience. I know this is a learning time for you, and having your parents interrupt your happiness just doesn’t sit with you. (Like, at all.) But we’re still going to do things that you hate (even if you don’t know what “hate” is), and we’re still going to have our little tête-à-têtes.
Just know that there will always be the unconditional love, the endless hugs, the kisses, and the tickling (I’ll never give up the tickling, just so you know — I’ll be 95 years old and still trying to get you to laugh).