Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Many Faces of Lady Baby

She's laughing and making a funny face. She's crying and stomping her feet. She's laughing and screeching. She's crying and head butting me. That all took place in approximately 2 minutes this afternoon. The winds of change blow through our house quite quickly these days, and if you blink you may get caught up in a storm you didn't see coming. I love my child, but damn. It is exhausting trying to keep up with a person who can't decide if they want to hug you or hit you, and sometimes they do both at the same time.

I think part of the problem is her highness cannot express herself very well yet. Therefore, she is often misunderstood. This leads to frustration, which 99% of the time leads to tears and/or tantrums. I try hard to understand, but when she says please and points in the general vicinity of the dining room, it is hard to pin down exactly what she wants. I can often be found dancing around like one of Bob Barker's beauties on speed, holding up different objects and trying to make them appealing to the contestant. All the while she is shaking her head and alternating between "no" and "meath" (the latter is her lispy version of please.) The whole scene would be funny, if I were not trying to head off the 337th storm of the day. (Or if it was some one else's kid.) Once I finally land upon the current object of her affection, she gives me a big smile and reaches her hands out and says "thine choo" (thank you). The real problems come when she is asking for something that she isn't going to get. Like the phone, or the keys ("keyth"), or a sharpie. I try the "distraction" method I keep hearing about, but that never seems to work. When I try to give her something else, it only further enrages her. So she cries and licks the floor, or throws herself down and lays there wailing, all because her mom is so hateful and never lets her have any fun. Oh little girl, if you only knew how many more times I will ruin your life in the next 18 years. The good news is that after she releases her anger into the world, it seems to dissipate and she becomes all happiness and light. Then we repeat the whole thing 3 minutes later over something else. I can only compare it to one of those crazy thunderstorms at the beach that blow up out of nowhere, last an hour, and then goes away just as quickly. However, it would be more accurate if said thunderstorm blew up 7 times in one day, demanding your full attention and jerking on your pants leg while screaming. My child is a tempest, a hurricane, a cyclone of emotion. Dear lord, help me now.

I find myself bribing her with things when we are in public to keep her happy and to keep the baby rage at bay. When she thrashes and refuses to bend her legs to sit in the cart at the Teeter, I use the free cookie to persuade her. When she goes into plank position and fights me when she doesn't want to get buckled in her car seat in a parking lot, I use the promise of paci to make her compliant. Am I proud that I have to resort to bribes? No. Do I care enough to stop and let her lose her @^#% everywhere we go? No. So I will provide her with incentives until she can comprehend verbal threats of punishment and fear me as the chief enforcer. Until then, its all about greasing the baby palm in an effort to keep things under control. Judge away supermoms, I am doing the best I can. I find that people don't like to hear screaming kids, especially when they are trying to peruse the produce in peace.

Fortunately, the passion swings both ways and when she is happy, she can light up a room with her smile. Much like a tiny Mary Tyler Moore. When she is grinning and happy it is hard to believe she can be so ornery. I love her throaty baby belly laugh that I am starting to hear more and more often. She finds lots about life hilarious, and when she laughs it makes me laugh. Nothing is more uplifting than hearing your child laugh. Many an afternoon when she is eating her snack, I can hear her and Ripley playing cat and mouse over a mum-mum. A teases the dog with her tasteless yet tantalizing cracker and the dog jumps for it and the child jerks her hand away and screams with laughter at her trickiness. The more worked up she gets laughing, the more worked up the dog gets. This goes on and on until either the dog snatches it or Priss finally hands it over willingly. Either way it keeps her entertained and happy long enough for me to empty the dishwasher or check my email.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get a onesie that was like a mood ring? With a mere glance at your toddler, you know what you are getting. If the onesie

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