I remember being in labor and having my first really big contractions. After about the third one I started crying. The nurse asked how bad they were so she could decide if it was epidural time. I looked at her and in between sobs said, "I am not sure, how much worse are they going to get? Is this as bad as they are going to be? I really don't want to be a baby, but this really hurts." All I knew was that three contractions were three too many. If it was going to be worse, I didn't think I would be able to handle it. In went the epidural, back came my sanity. Today I sit perched on the edge of having a child in the terrible twos and I realize the feeling is exactly the same. I knew back then that more than likely those contractions were going to get worse, I just wanted to believe they weren't. I know that the tantrums Her Majesty has had are nothing compared to the storm of personality that is coming my way. Doc, I would like my terrible two's epidural now, thanks.
Yesterday I had the unfortunate task of going to the vet to pick up my injured dog with my child in tow. The first few minutes were fine. Frankenbaby lumbered around the waiting room clutching a little book she found with dog pictures in it, the word "doggie" on loud repeat. Once we were ushered back to the exam room to wait for the doctor, she was delighted to have an exam table to walk back and forth under and a little bench to get on and off. Then the vet came in and started discussing my poor dog's torn ACL. Miss Priss realized very quickly that there were two adults in a small room with her and for some strange reason she was not the center of attention. The more we ignored, the louder she got, giving the vet the eye the entire time. You see, my child thinks all adults are here to enjoy her entertainment. Finally, when she reached a decibel level that had to be causing every canine in the building to howl, I apologized and scooped her up. Apparently this was unacceptable and quickly led to flailing and screeching. The vet just laughed saying she understood, she had three kids herself. That helped to alleviate my embarrassment a little. When we were done receiving the costly bad news, back out we went to the waiting room to pay and wait for Ripley to hobble out. The child resumed the lumbering and loud squawking and decided to ratchet it up a notch for the benefit of the poor woman waiting for her dog Tootsie to be groomed. If her ability to completely ignore my child had not been the real tip off that she didn't have kids, her incredibly toned body would have answered that question. Much to her dismay, Alice was unable to lure Tootsie's owner into a chat, so instead she decided to take a lap behind the checkout desk. I grabbed her and dragged her out screaming and she threw herself down licked the floor. Yes, that is correct, she licked the floor. This is not the first time it has happened. During one of her first displays of personality, she realized banging your head on the floor hurts. Also, she knows when she licks things (which she does more often than I am comfortable with) it enrages me. The evil genius combined the two to create the ultimate insult to me, the one who gave her life. So there I stood, watching my precious flower licking the floor that I have seen numerous dogs whiz on. The young girl working behind the counter tried to make me feel better by telling me they mop twice a day. However, this means their floor is approximately 1000 times cleaner than mine. So now, not only am I horrified that my child is licking the floors in public places, but my house is not even as clean as a vet's office. Double fail. Finally, we were able to leave after two more public displays of personality involving floor licking and screaming and general ridiculous behavior. Even poor Ripley looked embarrassed when we left. I can only imagine that Tootise's mom was elated to have made the wise decision to have a yorkie instead of a baby.
If I look at the tantrums objectively, they are pretty impressive. Her highness is able to choose the physical feat that will prove the most frustrating to me at that moment, along with the perfect guttural scream to convey her utter distaste of me and my ridiculous rules. Sometimes she convulses her entire body, especially now that she wants to be down exploring. Her other method of release is to straighten both her arms and legs against whoever is imprisoning her, so holding her is next to impossible. Other times it is the plank position, or dead weight, especially if she doesn't want to be moved from whatever dangerous thing she is messing with. The floor slap usually happens if I am ignoring her and she wants attention. If she is mad but not enraged enough for a floor lick, she will lean over and gently press her forehead on the floor while screaming. The floor lick is the ultimate weapon in her arsenal, because she knows it drives me crazy. That is the one I am really hoping she grows out of quickly. I won't hold my breath.
I have heard from lots of moms that the terrible twos start at 18 months. I can only guess that in an effort to be ahead of the curve, Alice wants to beat the clock and go ahead and jump in. Such the overachiever. If this is as bad as it is going to get, I can handle it. If it is going to get worse, which I fear is highly likely, I may lose my mind in the next several months. If my blog entries become mindless words strung together and you hear through the grapevine that I can be seen wandering the neighborhood in a bathing suit and rain boots, you will know why. It is because Alice has taken her shenanigans to the next level (though I can't imagine how she can top licking the floor of a vet's office). Wish me luck and stay tuned.
The upside to having a child who has this much passion is that she loves as hard as she fights. Many times a day she wraps those little arms around my neck and squeezes as hard as she can. She pets the cat with such vigor that its a wonder she isn't bald. A's excitement for life is hard to match and she is a happy, happy girl. Until she is mad, and then she is very, very mad. Fortunatley at this point it is a 90/10 split. I just have to remember how sweet she is and how hard she loves when I am experiencing that 10%. I can't have one with out the other, so I will grin and bear my child's tantrums and just remind myself that her great passion will serve her well in the years to come. And if anyone hears of a brain epidural that can get you through the terrible twos feeling comfortably numb, please email me straight away.