Georgia, age 4 (as of August 5), pretty much sees me in two ways:
- I need to be so close to you I’m literally sitting on your face; and
- I’m trying to figure out what exactly your purpose is here.
We all know “terrible twos” was an invention by some prick who never had a 3-year-old, and found it amusing to make new parents think 2 is bad when actually, Dante’s 10th circle of hell is right around the corner.
Age 2 is sipping hot apple cider during a crisp fall evening with big orange leaves crackling at your feet. Age 3 (and 4, evidently) is like getting a bucket of ice water dumped on your head (only not benefiting a nonprofit) and the leaves shoved in your ears by a tiny insane human squealing “I don’t like the orange leaves. I ONLY LIKE THE RED LEAVES!”
And you’re like “but I didn’t make the leaves, sweet angel from heaven.”
And she’s like “I. DON’T. LIKE. THATTTTTTTTT!!”
And screaming and crying and growling and fists and shit and you’re like “This is why nobody likes you.”
But you keep it inside, because you can’t actually say that to a toddler. I mean, out loud. Plus, it’s not true. Everybody in fact likes her a lot since she saves this behavior for you and you alone. And maybe daddy. But mostly you.
And sometimes, when you’re in public.
Like the other day when we went to get Arlo’s birth certificate from the court records place and it had already been decided that Rocket gets to push the button on the elevator (because these are the issues that now concern me, people. This is important stuff here. WE MUST MAKE SURE IT’S FAIR AND EVEN AND RIGHT AND TRUE when it comes to elevator-button-pushing. Fuck my life.) But somehow, even though it was clearly Rocket’s turn (Georgia pushed them on the way up), and sharing and turn-taking have been working parts of our psyches for at least 2 years, suddenly, right now, this shit is INTOLERABLE and the thing to do when Rocket pushes that elusive, gorgeous light-up button is stand in the corner and let out some wails that might shatter the elevator glass, were it not bulletproof.
I ask her “Why are you such a dick?”
No, I don’t. But I really, really want to.
Instead, even though it’s never worked once in the history of motherhood, I attempt reasoning with her (also because this makes me look like a good, conscientiousness mother in front of strangers) “Georgia, you pushed the buttons on the way up. It’s Rocket’s turn now,” but we’ve entered full-toddler-psychosis. It’s no use.
Only thing to do is ignore it. Only way through it is through it. Going on a fucking bear hunt, folks. Somebody save me from these horrid jokes.
I am, after all, in an elevator with a toddler, newborn and 8-year-old. Can’t really sit there and “talk it through” lovingly in a supportive mom voice, exploring complex feelings of displacement (new baby came, very hard on toddlers) and existential toddler angst.
She probably just has to poop.
Or needs a nap (which she abandoned 6 months ago, because clearly if it’s helping her mood we should get rid of it immediately).
Besides, I have no capacity for supportive mom voice at that moment.
So the husband picks her up and puts her over his shoulder and she loses it all the way home.
People look at you wondering why your kid is so terrible, all tantruming-the-fuck-out and you just ignoring her. I feel like that’s excessively unfair because in my experience the only way to get them to stop being assholes is to ignore their asshole tantrums.
Yes, that’s my profound parenting insight.
If you have a better plan, please shove it up your ass.
Sorry. I didn’t mean that. I’m just bitter.
Well maybe I meant it a little.
But seriously, right? I can’t give in to my daughter’s irrationality and so, a tantrum ensues. The only thing that will stop the tantrum is letting her push the button. But if I do that, she’s earning what she wants from the tantrum, and will thereby do it again. And again. And again.
And the next thing you know, she’ll be the woman at the Target checkout line screaming at the pimply faced teenager for not giving the appropriate discount on her Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner. You know, the one we all look at and think “Why didn’t your mom teach you any damn manners?”
So in the interest of the greater good, sometimes you just gotta let them wail and wish you didn’t have kids, and endure the looks of strangers who have either never raised offspring or are better parents than you. Or think they’re better parents than you. There is no doubt that there are many, many better parents than me.
Except at the county fair. I am better than those parents. Just saying.
Anyway, the other day, Mac was changing the screen on one of the windows in the back of the house, nowhere near Georgia’s room, FYI, and she starts screaming and crying that Mac had “ruined the magic secret door to her bedroom.”
Look, kid, you can’t hold us accountable to your paranoid delusions of weird toddler shit. Err, I mean “imagination.”
A few hours later, we were driving along in our vehicle and Georgia asks “What’s that?”
I answer: “A restaurant.”
She asks “Why? Why mama why? Whywhywhy?”
I roll down my window and scream into the night “I can’t live in these conditions!”
But nobody hears my cries.
Leaving the house the other day, she says “I want to bring that stroller!”
But we don’t need that stroller, so I tell her.
So she furrows her brow and wails and screams, because that makes sense.
I tell her “I’ll give you $100 if you stop making that noise,” but she has no appreciation for money.
God help you if you don’t give her the red cup.
Or ask her to leave, anywhere, ever, in a hurry.
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, change your plans in the middle of the day if those plans involved parks, friends or grandmothers.
Right, because plans never change in families of 4 kids and a mother who puts things in her calendar then forgets to look at the calendar.
And if she squeezes the newborn’s face and makes him cry, don’t say anything, because SHE WASN’T HURTING HIM.
And I’m not jumping on the couch, she says, in an up-and-down motion.
“I DO WHAT I WANT!!!!”
Oh, George. You’re driving me fucking batshit.
Next week you start preschool.
I’ll miss you terribly.
Yep, this is it. Motherhood. Age 4.
She founded and runs “Up on the Hill,” a seriously awesome store that carries all the things I want to buy my annoying toddlers and babies. No, I mean it. That’s true and real.
Read her words and figure out why I fucking love her and what she’s done: “My husband used to work in the beer and wine industry, and was actually quite well know for his palate when it comes to beer, but was laid off 3 weeks before my due date with baby #2. Despite the stress we had a successful HBAC, and a little bit of savings. After 2 months of unsuccessfully trying to find a new job, we decided to open a business ourselves.
We opened Up On the Hill in October of 2012 and never really looked back. Having a passion for cloth diapers and baby-wearing I jumped into this with no real business background, just 15 years in food service. It’s been quite the learning experience.
We are located in Historic Shepherdstown, WV and also carry children’s clothing and natural toys. We strive to carry items you won’t find in big box stores, and are huge supporters of local and small businesses. I have a 4 year old son, River, and 1 year old daughter, Luna.”
So click this link and buy some shit. We have an “affiliate” arrangement going, so I actually get a little something too when you buy. So help two mamas out. Fuck Walmart. Thank you.