Night and day.

The love I have for my daughter has changed me in ways I wouldn’t have predicted, helped me love myself, made me a better person, and caused endless turmoil. We tell her we love her, we give her one-on-one attention, we try to stick to routines and we only promise what we can make good on. That’s what makes her behavior all the more unfathomable as of late. It’s as if our sweet, kind, thoughtful daughter momentarily loses the battle against her future angsty prepubescent self who has taken possession of her senses. Linda Blair in a tutu.

“I love your hair, mama (inhaling w her face in my hair) it’s soooo pretty,” as we lay in bed with her brother for their nap. Two hours later, during a lull in noise at her preschool’s graduation picnic when I made the mistake of kissing her cheek, “Get off! No kisses now. No, I can’t. It’s not safe!!” Embarrassing, hurtful, awkward, bewildering. Mothering a 3 year old is like chaperoning a drugged lunatic with more risk of trauma.

As much as certain phrases grate on my nerves (like “get off”) I’ll take it over the screeching and wailing while thrashing around on the floor phase. We couldn’t wait for that phase to end. It was her 3 year old equivalent of colic except this wasn’t as torturous and not due to her infancy this time but that of her brother’s. She loves him so much but hates sharing us with him. So much so she resorts to the most extreme protests her 3 year old brain can come up with: pooping in her pants, pooping on the floor, screaming insults at us (“You’re not safe! Get off! No want! No! I can’t! Not yet! Wait, wait, wait! I’m not ready.), and refusing to change her clothes when she needs to and changing them when we need to be leaving. It’s great.

Peed your pants? I’m sorry, that’s no reason to change them because they are pretty. But if your mood changes and you decide against those flowers then by all means change your dress. Yes, I said dress because the pants no longer matter. Welcome to our world where there is no logic, decorum, or a bodily fluid-free zone. We’re open 24 hours a day and we only accept full submission and embracing of the insanity.

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