The Lightness of Being Unbearable
I don't even have any cute little anecdotes about how awful she's been. Mostly her awfulness is an endless reiteration of the following scenario:
1. She asks for something: a later bedtime, an extra dessert, more TV time, a trip to the park before dinner, another game of Crazy 8's, whatever.
2. We say either
a) No, or
b) Some time-buying half-assed stalling thing along the lines of "I don't think that's a good idea right now, but..."
3. Before we can get to the compromise suggestion or enter into any further negotiation or discussion, she falls apart: screaming, crying, pouting, proclaiming that we're MEAN and TERRIBLE and there is NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THIS DAY, THIS IS THE WORST DAY OF HER LIFE. Then more crying. Followed by, if we're at home, stomping into her room and slamming the door. It's like living with the worst kind of teenager. Except we still have to wipe her butt when she poops.
All in all, it's been a crabby and ennervating week for all three of us. RW and I are pretty good at holding the line-- we've had a lot of practice-- but it takes it out of us. It's the shortness of her fuse and the immediate overblown detonation that does it: there's no ramp-up, just a total meltdown seemingly out of nowhere.
Oh, wait, I just remembered a good one:
A couple days ago I picked her up from preschool, as usual. The first thing she said when she saw me was "Can we go somewhere before we go home?" This is a common question, and the common answer is "Not Today." But on Monday I was happy to be able to say, "Sure, we can go to Overpriced Market On the Way Home to pick something up."
Imagine my astonishment when she immediately started howling and berating me to the tune of "NOOOOOO, I DON'T WANT TO GO SOMEWHERE INSIDE! I want to go to a PARK! Inside places are STUPID! They are LITTLE BABY PLACES! You don't CARE about me!"
She followed me out the door and up the street to the car, wailing and keening and insisting that only a park would do and that she hated inside places. I kept miserably, doggedly repeating that I was too cold to go to a park and wasn't going to change my mind, but we certainly didn't have to go to Overpriced Market if she didn't want to, and she calmed down after a few minutes. I'll say this for her: she doesn't hold a grudge, and though she hates it when someone else tries to cheer her up, she can pull herself together if you leave her alone and don't get in her face.
So she was happily chatting away by the time we drove past Overpriced Market. "Hey!" she exclaimed brightly as it flashed by on the left. "I do want to go to Overpriced Market now! I changed my mind!" But by then we'd passed it, and I said we weren't going back, that she'd already said many times she didn't want to go and by now it was too late and we needed to get home.
Whereupon the whole shebang started over again, right where she'd left off: wailing and screaming and gnashing of teeth and oh, did you know that my kid has the meanest, most uncaring mom in the whole world? And that Monday was the worst day ever?
And so it continued until we got home and I stuffed some protein into her.
I'm sure all this awfulness means she's on the brink of some fabulous developmental breakthrough. I just hope it happens before we hit New York and all our friends and relations get the only impression they'll have of her for the next year or two. For their sake and hers. And mine.
Just in case, I'm bringing lots of portable snacks.