I am exhausted. Tears prick at the back of my eyes and sweat stains my shirt. I just spent 45 minutes battling with a toddler over every. last. thing.
She screamed when I changed her diaper. Fought when I told her she couldn’t leave the house naked. She demanded pancakes, and when I told her she couldn’t have them, fell to the floor in an arm-flailing tantrum.
This was an especially bad morning, but not unusual anymore. That little girl of mine is testing, testing, testing me…and sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m failing.
If only I were home more, I tell myself, I’d have a better handle on this.
If only it weren’t so hard to say no to her, I sigh to myself, this wouldn’t be happening.
If only I weren’t such a wuss, I reprimand myself, I’d be able to cut her tantrums off before they start.
At times like these, I worry I’m raising a monster—and that I have only myself to blame.
But there are other times. Joyous, light-filled days.
Mornings when she reaches up for a hug, and collapsing around me, says, “I love you, mommy.”
Afternoons when we roll around together on the floor, tickling and giggling as we go.
Times when she does something amazing, like count to ten, in Spanish, as she climbs the stairs.
When that happens? I’m sure I’m doing something right.
This parenting thing isn’t so hard, I tell myself. Why did I wait so long to do it?
My daughter’s a genius, I chortle. And it’s all because I took fish oil pills while I was pregnant.
I rock, I think smugly. And that’s all there is to it.
It’s a crazy business, this parenting a two-year-old. One that I can’t quite get a handle on.
But even in my darkest moments, there’s one thing I know: This is nothing compared to what we’re going to have to deal with when she’s sixteen.
Somebody bring me some wine.