Kathleen, the daycare provider, has a theory that most toddlers are OK with the arrival of new siblings until the babies hit 3 or 4 months of age, then, in her opinion, the toddlers go bat shit crazy and turn all the moms who claimed that their kid was “adjusting quite well, thank you” into complete and utter liars who now have to eat their words while apologizing profusely for their belligerent little demons. Not that we’re going through that or anything over here. Ahem.
So… C is having a little trouble these days. She’s trying on her teenager attitude on for size again, and she’s, ah, well, trying, to say the least. Her big technique is the blank stare. Let me explain with a little sample dialog:
“C, please pick up your puzzle.”
C: Blank stare.
“I’m serious. We’re not going to the park until you pick up the puzzle.”
C: Blank stare.
And so on and so forth until I put her in time out or force her to do what I want/need her to do.
Yesterday she took it a step further when she decided that the blank stare wasn’t cutting it any more and she had to up the ante by laughing when I started to get annoyed. Sometimes it takes every ounce of self restraint that I have not to lose my own mind.
I know she’s testing limits. I know she’s just looking for attention and reassurance. But, man, it’s hard! I don’t get to spend a ton of time with her and I hate that I’m spending much of that time annoyed or downright angry. I want to spend all that time hugging her and showing her how much I love her and how important she it to me. But it’s impossible when she looks me straight in the eyes and kicks her sister or the cat. When she stares me down as she throws her dinner on the floor. Or when she simply drops to the ground and refuses to move when we are clearly in a hurry.
And then, out of the blue, just as we’re about to tear our hair out, she pulls a complete Jekyll/Hyde transformation and once again we’re smiling at the sweet little girl we know and love. She coos at her sister. She hugs us and bestows kisses with abandon. She snuggles close and asks for book after book. She chatters while she eats dinner, only pausing to ask for more veggies. And she sits and plays quietly with her toys as she waits for the baby to be done eating. Those times she delights us and we decide to keep her around for a little longer.
Yesterday she climbed into the bouncie seat and snapped herself in. When she found herself stuck she struggled and finally called out for help.
“Ayuda me! Ayuda me!” (We’re a multi-lingual home. I speak French, M speaks English… and C? Well apparently C speaks Spanish. Thank you, Diego.)
I reached down to unsnap her and in a blink she was saved.
What I want to know is, if I start to cry “Ayuda me!” is someone going to come to my rescue and help me find the best way to make both of my daughters feel equally loved and appreciated?