Our Friday evenings are filled with tiny tutus and the tiny ballerinas wearing them. Every Friday we send Sophia into a dance studio with the five other little girls and we stand outside the studio peering through the two way mirror with the other parents observing the cuteness and chaos. This past Friday was no different. I made small talk with the other moms when all of the sudden a tiny little person opened the door and declared she had to go potty. Her mom shooed her back into the dance room and shut the door. She began over-explaining, as we tend to do as parents, that potty training hadn’t begun in earnest yet but her twin girls have felt the need to explore every public bathroom in the tri-state area but not actually put them to use.
It was this denial that spawned the epic meltdown (times two) that ensued for fifteen minutes. It was in that epic meltdown that I found some relief for myself…that it’s not just me.
Ever the overachiever, Sophia is reaching into the age of three a few months early. It feels like the attitude, the foot stomping, the hysterical tears over the smallest of imperfections began simply overnight. I feel like everyday I’m walking over a field littered with land mines never knowing what step may set one off. Many days I have woken up to the sound of a tiny voice saying “Good morning, Mommy! Look at the beautiful sun!” only an hour later to be dealing with a heap of child convulsing on the floor because I asked her to pull her underwear up past her ankles. I may as well cut off her limbs if I even think of assisting her with buttons, zippers, or the twist cap to her toothpaste because she wants to do it “allbymyself”. Public meltdowns are more prevalent and obnoxious than ever before and I have left more than one store with a small child slung over my shoulder and an infant looking around desperately from his seat in the cart for someone to save him from this circus unfolding in front of everyone.
Most nights I greet Tim with a look of complete exasperation. Parenthood may not be all that physically demanding at the moment but I’m not sure I have the mental fortitude to make it through this phase. I often wonder what I am doing so wrong that is causing my child to completely lose her slight grip on rational thought on such a frequent basis. I do take it more personally than I ought to but spending the majority of your day with this brand of insanity makes you start to doubt yourself.
While I wasn’t relishing in this other mom’s headache on Friday, I was relieved to see it’s not just me who has a child that can go from angel to angel of darkness in point six seconds. It’s reassuring to know that other parents are taking the same approaches to calm and diffuse meltdowns and they’re having zero success as well. It’s reassuring to see that when all else fails other parents are slinging their kids over their shoulders and leaving.
So the next time I’m subjected to wailing and screaming from the two year old because she wants to eat the carrot in the garbage and not the fresh one she’s been offered, I can assuage my anxiety and guilt with the knowledge that I am not alone that somewhere out there is another parent having the same battle.
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