I remember when I was a young woman, babysitting other people's children, I remember when the parent would come pick up the charming and wonderful child who I had been charming watching for a WHOLE HOUR AND A HALF would melt and throw a temper tantrum the second the parent would tell the child to put away toys and leave. I remember thinking smugly that I had taken better care of the child than they parent had.
What a smug a**hole I was.
My sweet precious daughter has begun displaying some classic toddler behavior. About every other request or direction is met with some dramatic display of protest. These are some of my favorites:
1. The Flop: When she is being held she throws the top half of her body backwards in attempt to throw herself out of my grip. Luckily I am still stronger than her. For now.
2. The Jello Shoulder: Where when she is being lifted off the floor either by her arms or torso she throws both arms up in the air and when you grab those arms she somehow dislocates her shoulders and oozes out of your grasp.
3. The Boneless: Most parent are familiar with this one it's a bit what I imagine trying to pick up a gigantic sea cucumber is like.
4. The Wilt: Her best imitation of a wilting flower in time lapse photography, usually done after some directive like, 'It's nap time, go walk to your crib.' The Wilt starts with a drop to the knees and follows up the rest of her body, ending with her lying prone on the ground. This is usually followed by The Boneless.
I also remember when I was that young babysitter complimenting a parent on the exceptional behavior of their child, and the parent making some dismissive comment like,
"She's not like that all the time," I remember being so incensed at those kinds of comments. How could the parents be so negative? If you predict negative behvior out of your child you will get it, why would do that?
What a sumg a**hole I was.
I just read an article in Parent's Magazine about how children save their worst behavior for their primary care giver, which right now would be me. This morning Emma threw a fit when Scott put her jacket on her, ending with her actually trying to rip the jacket off her body. I felt vindication, starting at the tips of my toes and reverberating out to the ends of each hair on my head,
"IT'S NOT JUST ME!!!"
The other morning Emma started to wander into that dark and dirty corner in every bathroom where the plunger and toilet brush lives, while brandishing her toothbrush. She got ahold of the sponge that lives among that mess and began to wipe her toothbrush across it. As you can imagine I picked her up and whipped eveything out of her hands in lightening fast mom speed, you know what I am talking about, it's on par with crazy mom strength, where we left semi trucks off of our children. This was followed by a four alarm temper tantrum. Of course in her mind all she knows is that, 'Mom just picked me up and took all my toys away.' Sorry kid, when it gets that frighteningly gross all those nice warnings go away. While she proceeded to throw herself on the ground and weep at the injustice I went into our bedroom and leaned against the bed, rubbed my forehead and said,
"This is just a phase right?"
"Yes, when she's twenty she won't be doing this," Scott assured me. A slow shuddering lightbulb lit itself above my head,
"Of course, when she is twenty she won't be rubbing her toothbrush on a plunger."
Now when people tell me how wonderfully she behaved she is in the nursery I just smile and nod.