The other day we had just finished setting everything up for that evening's end-of-year Cubbie celebration when Hannah, the two year old little sister of one of our Clubbers, decided she needed to grab several of the treat packets off the table and start ripping into them, like a wild hyena.
Her mom Patti intervened and removed the multiple half-eaten Tootsie Rolls and Sweet Tarts from Hannah's mouth and told her that she would have to wait until the party to have some candy, like everyone else.
Distraught at the injustices of the world, Hannah proceeded to throw herself face-down onto the floor - kicking, screaming, rolling around, foaming at the mouth, and trying to hit, bite, or kick anyone who came within a foot of her. Patti kept doing what she was doing - calmly gathering her supplies, her purse, rounding up her other kids, seemingly oblivious to the fact that her child was in need of an exorcism.
I, childless and full of theories, stood there watching the display in open-mouthed horror. I'd gotten to know Patti pretty well over the course of the year. She seemed like such a good mother. ...But clearly, she wasn't, as evidenced by the uncontrolled display of misbehavior by her undisciplined, little freakazoid of a child.
The Know-It-All in me went home later that afternoon and relayed every little shocking detail to Russ, in the end summarizing the event by uttering these (now famous) words: "...Man, I thought Patti was a good mother."
Fast forward five years and what does God do?
He gives me Sophie: My own little freakazoid child. To teach me a lesson about Know-It-Alls. And pre-conceived notions. And good mothers.
It's just a fact.
Sophie has never been an easy child. Cute and hysterical, yes. Easy, not so much. She was the baby who did nothing "baby-like" at all. She didn't sleep. She didn't eat. She didn't poop. Then, between the non-stop barfing, the feeding aversions, the high-energy, into-everything, stubborn-as-a-mule nature, the Dennis the Menace mischief and mess-making, and, of course, the pod-like behavior, well, suffice to say, she's just never been an easy kid.
But aren't The Terrific Threes (or whatever they're called) supposed to be exponentially better than The Terrible Twos? I mean, isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Isn't that what mothers across the globe hold out for? The child magically goes from being a demanding, fit-throwing, whiny, needy, emotionally wonked out wreck of a beast to something much better? Something obedient, and mannerly, and pleasant. Something fit for society. I mean, that's what I've been clinging to. You make it through The Terrible Twos and terrific times are juuuuust around the corner. Right?
If anything, our journey thus far through three-hood has been even more challenging. It's like everything, every. little. thing lately with Sophie is a battle.
For example, this morning, after the smiles and happy greetings and good morning kisses...
Me: "Hey, Sophs, let's go take your Prevacid."
Me: "Young lady, do not tell me "no". That is disrespectful. Please, come take your Prevacid."
Sophie: "I'm not a lady, I'm a girl. I need a tic-tac!"
Me: "You need your Prevacid so your stomach doesn't eat itself. Please come over here and sit still."
Sophie: (Squirm. Thrash. Roll around on the floor.) "I want to eat my stomach!" (Giggle.)
Me: "Sophie Kristin!"
Sophie: "I don't. WANT TO. Eat Prevacid!"
After several choke-holds and gnashing of teeth, the Prevacid is successfully administered. Onto our next task...
Me: "Sophie, let's go to the bathroom before we get dressed."
Sophie: "NO, I don't need to tee-tee! I don't like clothes!"
Me: "Awesome. When you're an adult, you can join a nudist colony. Do not tell me no. Sit down and use the bathroom."
Sophie: (Standing in the far corner of the bathroom, twirling her panties on her arm), "I need to go clean my room first."
Me: "While I appreciate your newfound interest in the cleanliness of your room, Sophie, you need to OBEY. Sit DOWN. And USE THE BATHROOM. PLEASE."
So, she sits and pees. With the sullen expression of a teenager who has had their iPad taken away.
And then there's the back-talking...
Me: "Hey, Sophie, can you please hand me that brush over there?"
Sophie: "That's not a brush, Mama."
Me: (Are you KIDDING me?!?!) "Stop back-talking, Sophie, and hand me that brush."
Sophie: "I'm not back-talking."
Aaaaaaand, that's the Dragging-By-The-Arm/Talking-Through-Clenched-Teeth/Tanned Fanny/Isolation-In-The-Crib part of the morning begins.
Lately, I feel like I spend the entire day dabbling in the ridiculous and in the exhausting. Saying things like, "Humans wear clothes." And "Take the toothpick out of your nose and throw it away."
The response to which is equally ridiculous. "I need to be naked!" And "I want toothpicks up my nose!"
Where is the "Yes, m'am!" and the salute?
Oh, and then there was the trip to Target the other day...
Me: (Putting Sophie into the shopping cart.)
Sophie: "Mama, I can do it!"
Me: "Sophs, the cart is too high. You're not allowed to climb on it. You need my help, so you don't get hurt."
Sophie: "STOP IT! I. CAN. DO IT!!"
Me: (Pinching her chin and leaning down to whisper-scream in her ear.) "Sophie, don't make me kill you in public."
Sophie: "Like dead? Like, I WOULD BE TOTALLY DEAD, MAMA?? DEAD LIKE THAT BEETLE IN THE KITCHEN?!?!"
Me: "Shh! Yes. Dead like that."
And I thought Kristy was a good mother.