Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Yesterday, as we were driving to Grandma Debbie's, Norah found a hair--her hair--on her pant leg. We've had similar upsetting incidents in the past. Most involved a stray dog hair or a rogue string hanging from her pink moon boots that MUST BE CUT OFF WITH SCISSORS NOW. Not wanting to be yelled at by a three-foot tyrant wearing Minnie Mouse underwear, I located the hair and removed it from her pants.
And that is the precise moment when our perfectly good Monday went straight down the shitter.
"Find the hair! I need the hair! Give me the hair!!! YOU TOOK THE HAIR!!!"
By the time we got to Grandma Debbie's, I for reals got out of the car, located another stupid strand of white-blond hair, and frenziedly tried to get it to stick to her pants. But it was too late--the toddler tantrum hate spiral had begun.
And this is happening more and more often. If I knew anything about math I could draw some sort of fancy graph with the frequency of tantrums rising in direct correlation with how many days until Norah turns 3. Mostly, it's just astonishing--and kind of entertaining. Like the time Alexi said the prayer over Sunday dinner too quietly and Norah didn't hear the "In the Name of Jesus Christ" part, which happens to be her favorite. As we all said amen, Norah looked up and yelled, "Jesus Christ!?!"
Other examples include the bow on her Minnie Mouse ears facing the wrong way; jeans that are "too hard," and, consequently, unwearable; plates that are "backwards"; ham slices that are not rolled into a cylinder; yogurt that is not white; noodles that are not macaroni; and anything that she got six months ago and has since been thrown away, you know, like a balloon.
Usually, it doesn't get to me. Usually. Until the Hair Incident (as it will forever be known). You guys, the Hair Incident ruined my day. Parenting a baby was more just physically exhausting than it was difficult. But I left my mother-in-law's house yesterday feeling completely and utterly ill equipped to deal with this kind of crazy. I'm sorry, but if taking a piece of hair off of your pants is going to send you kicking, screaming, and throwing your sippy cup, I don't know if we can be friends.
So, it's not like I can give her back. And as I brooded at work I also Googled "toddler tantrums" in hopes of finding some insight, which I did, thanks to the power of the Internets. Why Does My Kid Freak Out? on Slate.com led me to some discussions that led me to Amazon, where I ordered Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. The gist of what I read assured me that Norah's irrational behavior is completely normal. Basically, she doesn't have the skills yet to handle her frustrations. She just wants to have some control in a world where everything is out of her control.
Fine. I get it. Being a kid really is hard. I didn't just take the hair off of your pants. I took the thing that you wanted. I took it and threw it away without asking and you NEEDED IT. It sucks to have no control over your life. But being a parent is hard, too, and you know what really made me feel better? Other people's misery. I'd read 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out a week or so ago and got a good chuckle. But when I read it again yesterday, I was in hysterics (the good kind).
You guys, toddlers are all the same, and they are all small, ridiculous, crazy people. This is not earth-shattering news, but knowing that my kid is not the only one who refuses to eat a broken chip made my little world make sense again. Of course, I'm still totally screwed, but at least I'm not alone.