Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beware of Sudden Shifts

I have stood on top of a Wyoming mountain, marveled at the crisp blue sky and noted not a cloud in sight, ducked into a chalet for a 10-minute pit stop and gone back outside to find the sky dark gray, wind howling and snow blowing sideways.

I have stood in a Georgia hayfield in a gentle rain, only to find myself cowering in a church basement, 20-minutes later, as a tornado rumbled overhead.

So yes, I know how quickly things can change. But nothing can compare to the quick change of a toddler's temperment.

One minute, you can be watching your rosy-cheeked, sparkle-eyed love bug giggling her head off on the playground. Seconds later, you're getting a good look at her tonsils as she screams at the top of her lungs, "NO. BOY. ON. SLIDE! NOOOOOOO! OFF! OFF! OFF!"

To say these mood swings happen in the blink of an eye doesn't capture exactly how quickly they happen. Trust me: I'm pregnant. I know mood swings.

One minute everything is funny. In a heartbeat, no, less than a heartbeat, nothing is funny. Nothing is worth leaving the park, or returning a toy to the shelf, or putting on pajamas. Not even ice cream.

I used to see these parent/child standoffs in stores and think, "That's horrible. What a brat/terrible parent." Now, I'm on the receiving end and fully aware of what childless people must think when they see me: lips pursed, brow furrowed, carting a screaming toddler to the car. I know people with children see me too and I pray they understand. I pray they are sympathetic. I pray that the non-pregnant, non-nursing mothers go home and raise a cocktail and toast my patience. 'Cause that's what I want to do when I get home: have a stiff drink and congratulate myself for not dropping the kid at her grandparent's house and hopping a one-way flight to Maui.

The screaming in the backseat has subsided to an occasional snuffle. Seconds later, a perky voice comes from the car seat, "Oh! Look! A doggie! Hi, doggie! Doggie has loooooong ears. Hahahaha!"

The weather shifts again.


Laura said...

hahahaha....I understand it quite well. Maybe we should put our two together and we can go have that 'stiff drink'!

Heather said...

You're on! I'm buying the first round.