Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Oy Of Parenting

Now that Elsa has turned two and Rollie is almost four, I've noticed a profound difference between them:

Rollie is an angel, and Elsa is...well...two.

All I can say is, I'm so glad I've been documenting Rollie's life in this blog since he was two. So now I can look back and think, Oh yeah, so Rollie used to (insert horrific, deliberately insolent behavior here) all the time. So it's not that Elsa is Rosemary's Two-Year-Old*. She's just doing what parenting magazines everywhere like to gently label Testing Her Boundaries. Which is the progressive, 2011 term for being a total shithead.

I don't think she means to be a total shithead. And I'm not being fair when I say total shithead. It's not all the time. Sometimes, she's actually the better behaved of the two. Like, when she's sleeping. Or when I'm sleeping, and I am visited in the middle of the night not by a two-year-old demanding a cup of milk and that I turn on every blessed light in the house because she's scared of some nameless, nebulous and indescribable monster that may or may not look like a lion, but by an almost-four-year-old who has been told over and over that he'd better stop waking mommy up in the middle of her Matt Damon fantasy dream or so help her she will snatch every Cars-related item from his room, put them in a garbage bag and smash them to bits with a baseball bat.

It's the other 14 or so hours of the day when pretty everything turns into a battle. Even the most mundane requests I have of her: Elsa, please come here so I can put on your socks. Elsa, let's go pick up Rollie from school. Elsa, let me wipe of your hands before you pet the dog and end up with long, furry mittens, turns into a mind game more complicated than the ones Hannibal Lecter must play on a first date. I have to plan out how I'm going to present the next task/chore/outing/command to her so that it will be met with the least resistance. And by resistance I mean Elsa giving me a shit-eating grin and running in the opposite direction (usually her closet, where she slides the door shut and waits for me to start threatening her to come out...she knows darn well I'm not going to slide the door open because I did this once and ended up catching her hand in the crack where the doors overlap. I felt terrible, and she got away with whatever it was I was about to punish her for. Smart little bugger.).

It's exhausting. All the chasing around and barking commands and manhandling and cleaning bodily fluids from the floor. I feel like Charlie Sheen's personal assistant (Hey-Yo!). But I guess that's how it's supposed to be, right? We mothers wouldn't get half the respect we do if every time we asked our children to do something, they actually, you know...did it. Like the first time (or I'd take the second of third time and still be impressed). That's all part of the Joy of Parenting. And lately, Elsa is heaping on and extra dose of Joy.

And what's up with Rollie suddenly being a total angel lately? I ask him to do something, and I'm stunned when his response is: "Okay, Momma."  I'm like....Wait, what? You mean I don't have to come back with my arsenal of reasons why I want you to wash your hands the instant you get home from school? You mean I don't have to plead with you to get into the car, or pick up your toys, or eat your broccoli? But I've gotten so good at rationalizing with a 3-year-old. I've gotten my rebuttals and counter-rebuttals down pat. I don't even have to resort to Because I Said So anymore with him. It's so easy it's almost no fun.

Then I think back to all the stunts Rollie used to pull when he was two, and I realize that this is just beginning with Elsa. Soon I'll be celebrating opposite days and yell-fests in her honor instead of Rollie's. And we've still got another one coming. You'd think I would have it all figured out by the time kid number 3 rolls around. But you know better.

Plus, she's so darn cute. Sometimes looking at her goofy face is all I need to get over myself and all the little daily irritants and laugh at my daughter and give her a big bear hug. If I can catch her.
Especially when she tries to bag her own feet as evidence. I've yet to find the crime scene.

*Wouldn't Rosemary's Two-Year-Old be a great sequel to Rosemary's Baby? "What happens when Satan's Spawn starts throwing tantrums in the middle of a crowded Disney Store? Find out in Rosemary's Two-Year-Old. Starring Charlie Sheen."

1 comment:

  1. She's probably standing in the center of it. Remember SOME mothers have gone through SIX two year olds.