Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Ups and the Downs and the Screams in Between

Part of my slacking off with regular posting is because we've settled into a rather nice routine, a comfortable, regular routine, and there hasn't been much to report, really. My days off with Penny are sublime, and I look forward to spending time with her. We get up, eat breakfast, go to dance or to story time, we eat lunch and watch Sesame Street, we take a nap (and sometimes I actually exercise instead), we get up again, we make dinner. Nice, right? On the days I go to work, Penny gets to play with her Grandma and they pretty much do whatever they feel like, and then I pick Penny up and she tells me about her day. The good days are very, very good. I can't believe my good fortune.

But there are bad days too. I'm amazed at how quickly my mood changes, depending on Penny's mood. If she's cranky, I am instantly cranky. I have to consciously remind myself that I'm the adult. She angrily SHOUTS demands like a tiny dictator. Where does she get it? Not from me, I swear! I'm polite! I tell her a million times a day to say "please" after each command she issues. Surely there will be a point where she will remember to include it on her own. She does often say, "Thank you, Mama." And that makes me so happy, I can't even tell you.

Meanwhile, she's rude to other people! Especially to her Grandpas. I don't know what that's about. Random people in the store compliment her, and she recoils, shouting, "Nooo!" I'm glad she has stranger danger because that's a good survival skill, but at some point this behavior won't be acceptable. So I'm trying to combat it by modeling polite responses to people, by asking her to say hello, by encouraging her to at least give her Grandpa a high-five if she doesn't feel like hugging him or saying goodbye. Please tell me other children are this stubborn and dramatic.

The drama doesn't end when Penny goes to sleep. Most nights she sleeps fine, but there are some nights were she wakes up screaming. It makes me bolt upright in bed from a dead sleep. So I rush to her bed, to see what's wrong. And she'll ask for water in a perfectly normal voice. What? I thought you were dying! I don't know if she has nightmares, and jolts awake, and if that's so unsettling she screams? She has a little night light, so it's not completely dark in her room. Maybe I should finally convert her crib into a bed so she won't feel trapped? Maybe the crib helps her feel contained and safe? I don't know!

It's plain to me that with each new phase of development, I feel like a brand new parent. I've never had a two (almost three) year old. Just when I think I've got this parenting thing down, my toddler throws me a curve ball and I feel totally incompetent. But tomorrow is always another day, a fresh start. A chance to be the rational, even-tempered mother (and adult) I know I am.

Remind me to rant about the potty next time (another source of frustration and the ultimate power struggle). I've complained enough about my sweet babe for one evening.

Also: Penny announced the other night that Miss Piggy is her favorite Muppet, so that might explain a few things.


Sheree said...

Ms Piggy is my favorite Muppet too.
And just so you're forewarned, 3 is a rough year, I wonder if I have a toddler or a teenager sometimes.

jen said...

Sounds like Penny knows EXACTLY who's in charge in your house...

Amber/Dia said...

I've been amazed at how much my mood is affected by Archie's as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I love reading your blog, because while every child is different, it gives me a little heads up of developmental milestones coming up. They throw me curve balls too. :)