I write this off the back of a seven hour bonanza of crying, wailing, screaming, and full on toddler tantrums that unleashed itself on my household yesterday. When people meet my little girl, who can charm the socks off anyone, usually the next thing that follows is “how old is she?”, to which I duly reply 19 months. I am then often baffled by their response…which is usually along the lines of “isn’t it a lovely age?”. To which I really want to reply – urm, no.
Now I know for a fact by all of your responses when I asked on Facebook whether it was too early to have a stiff drink at 12pm to get through it all, that I’m not the only one who has frequent visits from the “devil child”. But am often confused and then rather envious of all these apparent angels who seem to be flitting round their mummies – according to them anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, when our little one is in a good mood, it is absolutely delightful – if usually somewhat short lived. But when she is horrid (much like that girl in the poem there was a little girl, who had a little curl…), I feel everything from amusement at that start (can you seriously be getting so upset over THAT?), followed by pity, then as the hours pass a medley of exasperation, defeat, detachment rounded off with a rather disconcerting dislike and distrust. It feels like living with a volatile partner who can explode at the smallest thing any minute, and it’s hard to let your guard down. I find the following words on loop in my mind: “Oh my God is that really my child?”
If any adult behaved that way to you, you would have walked away a long time ago. But that’s the beauty of children – they really can get away with so much in the name of being just that. I find myself justifying it all mumbling possible reasons “oh it must be developmental” or “perhaps it’s another tooth coming through” or “maybe she’s getting sick”. Whatever it is, it’s pretty vile for everyone concerned.
Rather than contain the demon child in the house, you try to get them out, thereby inflicting their volatile self on all those poor people in Starbucks, who probably tried to escape their own in the first place gleaning hateful glances, much like you probably dished out in your child-free days (a little serving of karma perhaps?).
And then after hours of hate for the world, it disappears just as quickly as it began, totally unexplained and leaving a strange wake of calm behind it. You feel as if you could have imagined the whole thing as you marvel at the now beautifully sunny disposition of your formerly crazed dependent who is currently dishing out cuddles like there’s tomorrow, leaving you to nurture a growing fear of the next episode.
The upshot? Roll with it and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, because you never know when the next storm will hit, or why – that is…until they can master the art of speech. 😉