No nap yesterday. Today, she is napping. But in between times: dropping her toothbrush down the heat vent, then having a cow about her favorite toothbrush being gone. Throwing sand at the park, then throwing more sand after I said we’d leave if she threw more sand, then throwing tons and tons of sand while I strapped Iris into the baby carrier to leave. Putting rocks in her mouth and refusing to spit them out. Putting xylophone mallets in her mouth and refusing to take them out. Throwing sand in the sandbox at home, then having a fit as I made her leave the sandbox. Dawdling, to the point where I wonder if she can even hear me sometimes. Inventing a reason to have a tantrum every time Iris cries. After I say “I love you,” looking right into my face and saying “NO.”
Yesterday afternoon, with Ingrid upstairs in her crib during the much less charming third round of the no nap fiasco, I called A at work and said, with a level of irrationality I hadn’t mustered since I was 13 and quarrelling with my mom, She is doing these things just to make me mad. She is being a bitch on purpose.
For so much of her life, she has been so … pleasant. I know this list of toddler shenanigans probably looks typical, even funny. I bet it will look hilarious to me eventually—maybe even in a few hours. But when I’m in it I am one humorless bitch. I am so mad and frustrated, and I yell (A insists it doesn’t qualify as yelling, but it is a louder and meaner voice than I’ve ever used with her before, and I hate it) and then I feel terrible for chipping away at her trust at a time when she needs me to be calm and stable, and she seems so far away, I feel like I’ve lost her.
Whenever I sniffle, It will never be the same, A reminds me that there are good moments. There are still times when I connect with her, hours (well, maybe half-hours) when she’s not crying or whining. Sweet times for all four of us. It’s true. But damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. The other times. The damn other times. Are killing me. Killing us.
Have I mentioned there is a baby in the house? Named Iris? She is a redhead, and she pees almost every time I take her diaper off, and last night she had her first ever really fussy evening of wanting to nurse for, like three hours straight, and she is juuuust starting to look a little bit like she knows what’s going on—this morning she gave me what might have been a tiny, tiny smile. (There: Who says the first child gets all the attention?)