Kiddos. Love them. Greatest thing I'll ever do with my life.
End of story.
But in order to survive this wonderful gift that we give to ourselves... this gift of no longer putting ourselves first and the gift of celebrating major victories like showering at least every other day... we must acknowledge the complete ridiculousness that is raising kiddos.
This is one of those acknowledgements. Or as Law and Order would say: THESE ARE THEIR STORIES.
Kids are funny. They will make you laugh harder than you ever thought possible when you see your reflection in their actions. For instance, when The Bird immediately removes her shoes and socks in the car after school and starts cleaning out the lint between her toes ("that's because they're dirty"). Which I realize I have inadvertently taught her because:
#1 - I hate socks. And shoes.
#2 - I hate lint between my toes
#3 - I LURVE playing with my toes absently... usually while watching TV. Which grosses Benny out. Benny... the man who plays with fish each and every day is grossed out by me touching my toes.
Think about that for a minute.
But, I digress. While kiddos will delight you in unexpected ways, like when The Bean will repeat over and over "Wuv. Eye. U!" to my "Eye. Wuv. U!" as I'm putting her to bed. But, they're also prone to completely irrational meltdowns because - as they so eloquently put it between the sobs of despair - "I ONNA DO IT!".
'IT' being the first step of a process - ANY PROCESS - that I've perfected over the last two years of raising two strong-willed children. Like almost all Mommy's I know, I have instituted policies and processes to help ensure survival of the Nadolski Clan. There are processes for most everything... with the notable exception of laundry. And then it's every man, woman and child for themselves.
For example, herding both kiddos out the door and into the car to go to school each day. The Bird walks out to the car on her own. She is now able to do so without falling on her face when she misses the first step off the porch... so yay for time healing all wounds and learning from past mistakes!! She can now also open the car door on her own (and very rarely falls out of the car as she's attempting to close the door) and then waits for me to come buckle her into the car seat. It is now rare that I have to hold her down to buckle her in while she goes into convulsions because I put her ponytail two centimeters too far left on her head and WHAT AM I TRYING TO DO? KILL HER? She can now sit in the seat and "help" me buckle her in. Which I let her do because... hey, we're on the verge of a morning without tears and if it takes me cutting off my left hand to meet that standard of parenting excellence, so help me God, I'm going to do it.
Now The Bean... her usual routine has been me carrying her out to the car and putting her next to her car seat so that she can climb in, stand up and then on my count of 1-2-FREEEEEEE! jump up, hit her head on the ceiling of the car and land on her bummy in the car seat amidst giggles of delight before letting me me buckle her in. This is, of course, after she has turned on the light above the door... which I will not realize until after I make the day care drop off, head to the airport to catch a flight to whocareswhere and return two days later to a dead battery in 8 inches of snow... BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT BEING A MOMMY IS THESE DAYS.
Yea... those were the days. Those days ended about two weeks ago. Almost exactly on her 2nd birthday when suddenly she began to repeat her mantra of "I DO IT!" Usually followed by her second favorite phrase: "I FAW DOWN!" Followed by: "HEP ME!"
But, back to the original point. What I've learned in the last few days is that it's not just the end goal of doing something by herself that The Bean is after. If reaching the goal is a five-step process and you try to help her reach that goal by helping her get past step one... say, opening the front door and helping her on to the porch to begin the now TIME KILLING process of climbing into the car so that she can turn on the light, jump up, hit the ceiling with her head and then land on her bummy? Well, there are things that are unacceptable: North Korea with a nuke... unacceptable. Snow in July... unacceptable. Pre-mixed mojito served in Miami... UNACCEPTABLE.
Then there are things that will cause a 2-year-olds brain to melt right out of her ears and open the flood gates to the point where you start looking for the animals to show up in twos. Skipping the first step because Mommy did it for you? That's one of them. And it will cause a scene that makes me wonder why I ever thought that I could schedule that conference call for 9 a.m. because yea... we're not getting out of here any time soon. And there will be tears, snot and probably a little of my blood at the end of it. And so much for that new blouse I was going debut at the office today to prove to everyone that it's a choice to continue to wear my maternity clothes because they're so damn comfy but yes, I can dress up when and if I feel like it.
So, The Bean cries up a storm while I'm buckling The Bird in and then proceeds to backtrack the progress I made for her... insisting on going back into the house so that she can walk out of the house on her own because... say it with me now: "I ONNA DO IT!" The roadblock in this little plan being that she is unable to open up the door... like physically unable to open the door to get back into to the house so that she can open the door to go outside. You see my problem here? I open the door for her to get into the house so that she can perform step one and then she gets upset that I opened the door for her to help her to get to step one, but let's not forget that she's not physically capable yet of performing step one because she can't open up the door, which is where we are right now and OMG I'M IN A WORMHOLE.
Which is right about the time that Mommy's Patience Clock - which was reset at approximately 8 p.m. the night before when both kids were finally, blessedly, in bed - runs out. The Bean may be the strongest little rugrat (seriously... her quad muscles make me green with envy) you've ever met, but for now I still hold the upper hand... what with my ability to open and shut doors... and pick her up kicking and screaming, carry her to the car and hold her down in the seat while I buckle her in.
All while The Bird looks on in bewilderment as if to say: What's her problem?
As if she didn't JUST age out of this behavior.