Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The day to day business of parenting is pretty easy. Diaper changing, book reading, cup filling, baby totin', etc? Easy peasy. It's when you throw in an actual child that things get complicated.

You have to contend with squirming, crying, fussing and cussing. And you think pregnant women are moody? Honey, baby and toddler moods switch so quickly you could get whiplash. Grinch and I often remark to one another, over the angry wails of a certain tot, "Five minutes ago, everything was funny. Suddenly, NOTHING is funny."

And here's a surprise: 3-and-a-half year olds have very strong feelings about things. Very strong feelings that they don't tell you about until it's too late. "nononoNOOOOO! I wanted to peel the clementine! Aaaaaagh!" "Where are my pink monkey pajamas?" In the wash. "WHAT?! I wanted to wear those tonight. Aaaaaagh!" "I can buckle my own belt! Aaaaaagh!" You get the idea.

My best response to these outbursts is to say, "I didn't know that, darlin'. Next time you can (fill in the blank). Next time. Hey! Look! Charlie is chewing on your sister's sock! heehee!" and I go on about my business.

That works pretty well with the bug, but Dos doesn't know anything about "next time." All she knows is that you made her mad! right! NOW! Diaper change: Waaaaaaaaah! Car seat buckling: Waaaaaaaaah! Removal of small objects from her mouth: Waaaaaaaaah! And she, unlike her sister, is a fighter.

My 20-something brothers used to wrestle me to the ground when I was just a pre-teen. I was regularly knocked around by my childhood "playmate". But the pain of being bitten on the shoulder by pointy baby teeth is like no other. And who taught this little angel to slap? Seriously. She has never been hit, never seen anyone get hit, but she can land a slap better than Joan Collins.

I don't know if baby-on-mama violence really hurts, or it's just the indignity getting whalloped by an infant that riles me up so much. Plus, you can't hit back. I go hit the washer/dryer and scream into a pile of laundry instead. If our laundry pile could talk, it would probably repeat some very bad words.

The furniture and the laundry bear the physical manifestations of my frustration and anger. I get it out of my system and go back to the baby or the toddler, hold them close, kiss them, whisper loving words into their ears, sometimes all while they're still wailing about whatever injustice has befallen them. I throw myself back into the fray because parenting is hard, but loving them is easy.


Illegal Tree said...

Clean Laundry right?

Heather said...

Clean. Dirty laundry would send me over the edge, I think.