Thousands of words have been written about the difficulty of raising two-year-olds. Reams of paper spent in explaining the complex emotions a toddler is wrestling with that can turn them into a raging, ranting, crazy person. But you know what’s missing? The plight of the mother of a two year old. Because, SERIOUSLY.
Yesterday was a day full of straight crazy with Penny. There was more than the usual amount of screaming and nonsense. And when I say nonsense, I mean NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Yes, she had choices, she was well fed and even napped. Nothing seemed to be causing it and nothing we tried helped. We all felt harried. Supper was filled with wailing, removal from the table, more wailing, returning with maniacal laughter, rage yelling over wanting chicken on her rice and then, when chicken was placed upon her rice, a full-blown tantrum because she didn’t want it like THIS!!!!
The capstone was a prolonged 30 minutes of screaming at 10:30 over the injustice of Jac quelling a girl rebellion followed by screaming for “Dad! I want my daddy!” Then it was needing to go potty, needing a drink, pounding on the locked door and insisting that she needed ALL the things and a tissue. When I entered the fray, calm and collected, it was not what she wanted. But she consented to have her nose wiped though it was the wrong kind of tissue. I pulled her blanket up over her.
“NO! I don’t like a blanket!!” Her eyes were closed, delirious from her spent energy. “BUT I LIKE A BLANKET!!!”
Friends, what to say here? I nearly threw myself down on the floor to kick and scream because the crazy of the moment was just too much for me. Too much after a day of despising who I have become. Each scream and fit and irrational outburst resulted in my reaction to be swifter. “Give it to her!” I’d instruct the nearest sibling with a wave of my hand. Each time felt like the hardest defeat. “This is me. This is how I parent now.” Oh, the heights from which I have fallen!
It wasn’t that I was unaware that it wasn’t helping. No, that was evident. It was just that it was the easiest route in the moment and when each moment had at least a handful of kids of varying ages bickering/whining/complaining, it was survival. I wondered if this is the life of the addict: the self-loathing as they go back for another hit, knowing that it’s only going to make things worse but it’s also the only thing that will take away the problem immediately.
Deep stuff for a Thursday afternoon but I’m telling you, the screams of a two-year-old drive one to their knees. Well, they should anyway. And perhaps that is the real missing piece. Too much, “So help me God!” and not enough, “Help, God!” No confusion there, I most definitely NEED his grace and patience to get through this season. That and booze.