"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When Animals Eat Their Young

Six months ago I would have pegged Princess's emotional age at 3-4. Now it is decidedly a very young three. Oddly, I think it's a good thing, because this time around I can tell exactly what age she is, instead of guessing at this muddled 4/7 mix and trying to figure out which one to parent. While the new medication she's on hasn't magically eliminated all that is frustrating (my preference), it has made whatever's going on clearer. Or at least less blurry.

Her behavior of choice this past week has been to screw up her face and shout "NO!" or, "I DON'T WANT TO!" and stand and stare at me with her hands on her hips.

The problem is: toddlers are cute. They are cute for one very, very important reason:

so their mothers don't eat them.

When Buddy was seven, I enjoyed his emerging humor, his creative ideas, and his new ability to have a fairly mature conversation. But he was not cute. Cuteness is not necessary to engage parents at age seven.

And so.

Buddy was the easiest toddler and preschooler in existence (he was a horrible baby, but that's another story). If we had stopped with him, I would have thought I was the best parent in the universe, and would have enjoyed many years of mentally criticizing other people's parenting. I will always mourn that loss. I would turn a corner and find him in his time-out spot and have to ask him what he did. He has always been intrinsically motivated and self-disciplined. If he was acting out, all we would have to do was hold up our pointer finger (like, "hey. Wait a minute), and he would stop. We have a movie from our South Dakota trip when he was three. He was having a major car melt-down because we wouldn't give him something he wanted. He was red-faced, crying, and screaming, "MY! FINGER! IS! UUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!!!" With his finger up. In the background you can hear Josh and I rolling and choking with laughter in the front seat. The camera is shaking because I was laughing so hard.

Why? Because he was so! CUTE!!!

Princess is not seven. She is beautiful, but she is not cute. Because at age seven, she shouldn't need to be. But she's not really seven. So finding ways to remain un-annoyed by her behavior, take her into my lap, and rub her back and coo until she gets melty- well, let's just say it's a challenge.

Peanut helped me out yesterday, though. Peanut was looking at a book about dance around the world while Princess was in her tap class. We were discussing where the people in the pictures were from and their skin color. Peanut was comparing skin colors to her own and I was half-listening when she pointed to one and said, "he looks just like Princess."

I looked, and my first thought was, why did she say that- it's the face of a man with darker skin than Princess's? I looked again. It was a page about how to express emotions with your face. The one Peanut pointed to? Disgust.

And it looked exactly like Princess.
Hey. If you can't laugh....

1 comment:

  1. I know you haven't been blogging these days, but every so often when my sanity is dangling of the ledge of a very tall building, I comb through these archives again. I laugh. Nod my head a bit (a lot). Gather my courage and wits and (dark, strange) humor about me and find the will to go on. Your kiddo and mine have very different motivating roots but very similar behaviors, and it's just a relief to spend some time in your beautifully honest blog, y'know? So thanks. And carry on, good soldiering friend.