Sometimes, it’s hard. Really hard.
And maybe sometimes I make it look easy – my mellow demeanor, Scarlet’s mellow demeanor, the fact that she’s freakin’ adorable and colorful and my pictures of her are freakin’ adorable and colorful. And she’s witty and funny and I wanted so badly to be a mother and I’ve never for one second wanted my life to be any other way. Not for a split second. I mean that.
But yesterday was a hard, hard day. It was a sometimes day, full of sometimes scenarios that happen on sometimes days.
Sometimes we have earth-shatteringly loud fights over shoes. Mainly, she doesn’t think she should wear shoes in public. I think she should wear shoes in public. I gave up the other day and let her walk barefoot on Northampton’s sidewalks. Not cool. And if she does agree to shoes, she agrees to one shoe. One pink shoe on her right foot. A size 7 shoe. She’s size 5.
Sometimes Scarlet screams in Trader Joe’s. She wants to push the cart the way she pushes the little cart at the co-op. There are no little carts at Trader Joe’s. She wants to sit IN the cart. There are rules against sitting in the carts at Trader Joe’s and I’m way too goody-goody to break them, though I imagine most employees don’t care. She won’t be buckled into the toddler seat and screams loudly and locks her legs when I try to put her in there. She wants to be carried but I can’t carry her and push the cart. She wants to open and eat everything I put in the cart. I tell her we have to pay for it first. She screams. An employee overhears, thinks it sounds like her own son, realizes it’s not her son but very familiar and looks over and shouts, “Hi, Scarlet!” I’m not embarrassed that my friend saw Scarlet’s tantrum. Instead, I feel relieved. She gets it.
Sometimes Scarlet screams really loudly in Target and young people look over in alarm, while other parents don’t even seem to hear it, they’re so used to it in their own lives. And sometimes they do hear it and look over at me in sympathy. And I think, “It’s not me. My parenting is fine. It’s not Scarlet. She’s a normal two-year-old.” Did I think she’d never want to exercise control and then yell loudly about it when she has to relinquish it? Did I think if she did, in fact, yell loudly, she’d only do it at home? No! Well..umm, yes. I did think that at one time. I know better now. It’s not me. Or her. It’s just toddlers.
Sometimes I threaten to leave the cart and take her home, right this instant, young lady! But she’s two – those are empty threats. I actually can’t leave a cart full of paper towels or diapers or food, because probably, we’re overdue for those things and I have to take them home. So sometimes I load her squirming, screaming body into the car seat, throw in the shopping bags, and sit down in a huff. Sometimes I’m so mad in the privacy of the car that I have to tell her exactly what she did.
Yesterday, we had words in the car.
I told her that her yelling and screaming made me sad.
“I’m sad too, Mama.”
I told her that her yelling and screaming made me mad.
“I’m mad too, Mama.”
At home, I put her down for her nap without even reading her favorite book, “Should I Share My Ice Cream.”
“Read me ice cream, Mama?”
I didn’t. She fell asleep without complaint, just the same. Tantrums make us both tired, I suppose. However soon after, the house was quiet. Too quiet. I got a lot of work done but after two hours of her nap, and my crazy kid will sleep 3-4 hours if left to her own devices, I decided to wake her up and end our day on a better note. I had to remedy the situation.
So I woke her up with the click of a camera. Look at this photo. Is there anything more adorable on earth? And we don’t put her to bed half naked. One of her fun, new “All by myself” tricks is to take her clothes off.
I asked her, “Do you want to go to the park and ride the train?” She perked up instantly.
And so we left. And then we arrived at the park and bought our train ticket.
This smile says, “I’m tolerating you taking my photo but if that train doesn’t come here within two minutes, I will scream my head off!
There’s a tunnel on this train ride. When we started going through the trees and near it, she got a little nervous and put her hand on my leg.
The tunnel always gives the toddlers a bit of a scare/thrill. And it almost always makes the adults reference “Willy Wonka.”
After the ride, we went to the zoo. This looks like me, or the old two-year-old me.
It wasn’t perfect. There was a lot of negotiation. “Wear your shoes or you can’t ride the train.” “No, both shoes.” “Keep your shoes on if you want to ride the train!” “For the love of god, don’t take off your shoes and throw them at the driver’s head!!”
I made my (blurry) kid happy.